5¢ - Blue, deep blue, dark blue
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Subject: Theodore Roosevelt
Number issued: Not known
Perforations: 11 x 10 ½
Scott #: 637
Issued: March 24th, 1927
5¢ - 10¢
No postmark with gum (MH)
20¢ - 40¢
Full perfect gum, no postmark
no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH)
75¢ - $2
#637 was issued with the following plate #'s
16330-33, 63-66, 91-94
Incorrect printings and errors were disposed of. The discarded printings are called printers waste. These were almost always destroyed to prevent them from getting into the hands of collectors. However some did leak out of the bureau. Whilst not particularly valuable (approximately $10 per stamp) they are interesting.
In 1915 the complaint that the "perforated ten" stamps were difficult to separate caused an experimental issue of two cents stamps with a new type 11 gauge perforation. This having proven satisfactory was soon thereafter used for all flat plate stamps. The use of ten gauge perforation on the rotary press printing, however, was necessary because the method used needed sufficient uncut space to prevent the sheets from tearing apart in the perforating process.
The introduction of rotary press sheet stamps for general use again caused this complaint and it necessitated the development of the bar and wheel type of perforator which made it possible to decrease the amount of uncut space between the stamps and increase the ease with which they could be separated.
In December 1926 the two cent stamps were issued with this new form of perforation as an experiment. Having proved successful other values were issued from the new perforators as soon as the supply at the Bureau became exhausted This value was not in great demand at this time and not issued in the new type of perforation until June 10, 1927.
A first day cover of #637, dated March 24th 1927
A sheet of 100 of #637
The source photograph
Specimen with original photograph
The engravers of the Bureau had considerable trouble over the portrait of the former President which is after a 1912 photograph by George Prince. It was considered by them to be the most difficult portrait they had engraved.
The engravers placed the chord for his spectacles on the right side of his face. Roosevelt wore the chord on his left side, shown in the original photo, as he was left handed. The engravers found that by faithfully copying the photograph with the dark background in the photo Teddy looked decidedly one dimensional. This meant shading the right side of his face which then dissolved into the dark background. In the end giving Roosevelts head a light background ended their dilemma.
Roosevelt was chosen by the Bureau as the 5¢ stamp was the most frequently seen worldwide as 5¢ was the standard rate for foreign mail.