2¢ - Carmine, bright carmine
Printing Method: FLAT PLATE
Subject: Abraham Lincoln
Number issued: 637,000
Watermark: Double line USPS
Issued: February 12th, 1909
$30 - $50
No postmark with gum (MH)
$45 - $160
Full perfect gum, no postmark
no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH)
$70 - $150
A pane of 100 of #369, there are four panes to a sheet of 400
#369 was issued with the following plate #'s
The earliest known use of #369, February 27th, 1909
Every US philatelist will be aware of the Washington-Franklin series of stamps. But did you know that the Bureau of engraving originally proposed the series to be the Washington-Franklin-Lincoln issue? After all, since 1866, Lincoln's portrait had continually graced the face of US stamps. However, when the issue was unveiled in 1908, there was, as we know now, no denomination with Lincoln's portrait on it. The absence of Lincoln caused an uproar in the House of Representatives, Senate, and with the wider general public. The Postmaster General was deluged with protests. Why not now?
The absence of Lincoln had to be corrected. The Bureau had completed the Washington-Franklins. Thus a Lincoln stamp would be a duplicate. As the 1oz letter rate at the time was 2¢, it was selected as the most widely visible use of his portrait. As it happens, the centenary of Lincoln's birth was to fall in the next year, 1909, so the commemorative issue was scheduled to be issued on his birthday, the 12th February 1909.
This was a printing on special paper containing about one third rag stock. It was hoped that this grade would materially reduce the great waste due to irregular or "off center" perforating, caused by the unequal shrinkage of the ordinary paper used. This "rag" paper did not help the question of shrinkage to any extent and was soon abandoned.
Only 4,000 copies of this stamp were printed. on this experimental paper. By mistake these sheets were packed up with the ordinary stamps and delivered to various Post offices. Copies were found at the Post office in Rockford, Illinois, but being printed in blue they were not as easily identified as the other denominations and most of them were used for postage. This, next to the four and eight cent varieties, is the rarest of the "bluish paper" varieties.
Although this group of stamps have always been noted as having been printed on bluish paper, the safest check as to their proper identification is by noting the greyish, color of the paper through the gum on the back, when compared to the ordinary stamps.
SEE BELOW ON HOW TO IDENTIFY BLUISH PAPER STAMPS
The design vignette is an engraving of Saint Gauden's bust of Abraham Lincoln
The stamps being described as having bluish paper is unfortunate. It has led to generations of stamp collectors looking for stamps with blue paper. The color is, in fact, more of a dull slate grey. That is not quite gray, there is just a tiny hint of blue in there.These are difficult to identify as many Washington-Franklin stamps when turned over look grey, as can be seen in the stamp shown above on the right. In my opinion once you have seen a true (that is certificated) bluish stamp you will always recognise the bluish shade. I have illustrated above left the bluish shade, however different monitors will show different shades, on my wife's iPhone the stamp on the left is a kind of yellowish grey. Really the only accurate method is to purchase a certificated #358 and use it as a reference. It will cost you about $80. to purchase it.
Large die essay on India die sunk on card
A large die proof on India
Small die proof on India
Plate proof on India
Retouched artist's model reduced to stamp size with dates added