Blue, pale blue and dark blue
Printing Method: Die-to-relief-to-plate transfer process
Plate: Plate 1 late
Printer: Toppan, Carpenter & Co.
Subject: Benjamin Franklin
Number issued: unknown
Perforations: 15 to 15½
Scott #: 23
Issued: July 25th, 1857
$120 - $175
No postmark with gum (MH)
$750 - $850
Full perfect gum, no postmark
no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH)
No sales recorded
The vignette was based on Giuseppe Ceracchi's 1791 bust of Benjamin Franklin
A contemporary banknote printed by Toppan, Carpenter with the same vignette as #23
Plate 2 imprint (1 late imprint is similar)
First day cover of #23, July 25th, 1857
A full pane of 100 of the perforated 1857 1¢ Franklin, there are two panes to a sheet of 200
#23 is a type IV design. The design on the bottom and top are incomplete in that the very tips of the balls and plumes have been burnished off. The outer frame line at the top and bottom are always complete, BUT has been recut at the top and/or the bottom to make them complete. The inner frame line at the top and/or bottom has sometimes been recut as well.
NOTE: The Type IV is one of the few One Cent blue types for which perforated stamps carry higher catalogue values than their imperforate counterparts. No doubt this is why a significant number of counterfeit perforations are noted. Of the 21 fake #23’s submitted to the PSE for certification, 15 were found to be reperforated #9’s.
The perforating machine used on the 1857 issue
The idea behind perforating the stamps was to make the stamps easier to separate and apparently to make the stamps adhere better, although I am not sure about the thinking behind that one.
A rouletting machine was purchased from the UK. The only perforating machines were made in the UK and the British Printers, Perkins Bacon, did not want to let one go abroad. A typical British attitude at the time. So the Bureau purchased the rouletting machine. They tried it out and the result was not what they were looking for. To convert the rouletting machine to a perforating machine was as simple as swapping out the rouletting roller with a perforating roller (which had to be designed and produced). Takes less than a minute.
There was one slight problem space allowance to feed the sheets of stamps was kind of narrow. This was solved by squeezing the row of stamps into the narrower space. Something that philatelists who prize four margin stamps will forever regret.
The sheet of stamps was fed in one way to get the vertical perforations, the spacing on the perforator roll was changed and then the sheet was fed through horizontally.
A contemporary forgery of the 1¢ Franklin
Positions 12-13/21-23L1L, block of five, four stamps recut at top and bottom, 21L recut once at top and twice at bottom, double transfers on Positions 12L, 13L and 21L
THE LARGEST RECORDED BLOCK OF THE ONE-CENT TYPE IV PERFORATED STAMP.
Sold March 2011 for $20,060
Explore Robert Siegel's Auction Galleries