5¢ - Dark Dull Blue
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Subject: Theodore Roosevelt
Number issued: 2,700,000
Perforations: 11 x 10½
Scott #: 663
Issued: April 16th, 1929
$1 - $3
No postmark with gum (MH)
$4 - $6
Full perfect gum, no postmark
no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH)
$7 - $12.50
#663 was issued with the following plate #'s
A first day cover of #663, dated May 1st, 1929. This was the first date it was issued at the Philatelic Bureau in Washington DC. The true first date of issue was April 16th, 1929, the day it was issued in Kansas.
To prevent the thieves from transporting stamps out of Kansas and Nebraska and selling them elsewhere, the Post Office tried overprinting the letters Kans. on stamps slated for sale in Kansas and Nebr. on stamps that were to be sold in Nebraska. All post offices in Kansas and Nebraska received overprinted stamps except for Kansas City, Topeka, and Wichita, Omaha, and Lincoln There larger post offices were not included as security at those post offices was considered sufficient. Higher values were not included as the overprints could only be performed by rotary press.
This was an experiment, which if successful would be extended to all states. These overprints would be valid throughout the United States. However it did not prove a success as many postal workers in the USA were not aware of these overprints and would not accept them as valid postage.
The overprints were commonly faked. The amateur simply used a typewriter. The professional fake was a bit more advanced. Here are some clues to a stamp having a fake overprint.
The faint ridges seen horizontally across the gum are called gum breakers. They were applied by the Bureau in order to prevent the stamps curling. Sometimes they are so faint they can only be detected by running your finger over the gum. The gum breakers on the Kansas and Nebraska overprinted stamps are 22mm apart. Which means only one gum breaker, or two if the breakers are at the very top and bottom of the gum, should be present. The example above is NOT an overprint as the gum breakers because the gum breakers should be further apart.
One of the most easily faked stamps, all one needed was a typewriter. Fortunately the period on most typewriters, at the time, was improperly aligned with the characters. The stamp above has a raised period, thereby it cannot be a genuine overprint.
An obvious forgery, the overprint is slanted, the plate number is wrong, the period is too far from the characters and the overprints are not horizontally aligned.
The source photograph by photographers Harris & Ewing
Specimen with original photograph
The engravers of the Bureau had considerable trouble over the portrait of the former President which is after a photograph by Harris and Ewing. 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.