Blue, dark blue
Printing Method: Die-to-relief-to-plate transfer process
Printer: Toppan, Carpenter, Casilier & Co.
Subject: Benjamin Franklin
Number issued: 150,000
Scott #: 6b
Issued: April 19th, 1857
Only 1 in 120 imperforate 1¢ Franklins are #6b
$4,000 - $4,500
No postmark with gum (MH)
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
Along the side margin of the sheet can be found the Printers imprint along with the plate number
There are three positions where the distinguishing characteristics of type 1b are strongly pronounced, these are positions 91L IV, 91R IV and 96R IV. This are called "F" relief positions and command a price premium.
The remaining positions where the distinguishing characteristics of type 1b are less pronounced, these are positions 41R IV (early impressions only), 47L IV, 49L IV, 49R IV, 81R IV, 82R IV, 83L IV and 89R IV are "E" relief positions
#6b is a Type Ic design. The design on the bottom is incomplete in that the right full plume and ball are only half complete. The sides of Type Ic are complete. The design at the top is not complete, some of the top ornaments have been burnished off, see the illustration above.
Type 1c can be found on eight plate positions, all from plate IV.
Notes on #6b
1) Type Ic can be found on the perforated stamp as well (Scott #19b)
2) Type Ic were only printed in the months of April, May and June 1857, a late period in the printing of the imperforate.
3) The imperforate stamps were replaced with the perforated stamps on August 1st 1857.
4) A certificate is a must, never buy without one.
Why are there only eight positions?
The design of this early issue was too large to allow for the accommodation of the 200 subjects onto one plate. Therefore, each position had to have some amount of the design erased to allow enough room. These erasures accounted for the majority of the types.
How to read plate positions?
The first indicator is a number indicates its position on the plate, so 3RIE would have come from the third stamp on the plate. The number can range from 1 to 100, there being 100 stamps on each plate.
The second indicator is either the letter R or L, R indicates the stamp came from the right pane, L for the left pane. The stamp was printed in sheets of 200, each sheet was further divided into two panes of 100. Hence 3RIE would have come from the right pane as the second indicator in 3R1E is the letter R.
The third indicator can be from numbers I (1) to XII (12). This indicator is always shown in roman numerals. There were twelve plates, there are no stamps from plate VI (6) as it was destroyed before printing began (no doubt it was flawed). For example stamp 4RIL would have come from plate one (1).
The last or fourth indicator is either the letter E or L. The letter 'E' indicate an early state of the plate, the letter 'L' indicates the late state of the plate. This indicator only applies to PLATE I, as it is the only one that has an early and late plate. The early plate is the original plate. After 11 months the plate became worn and 199 of the 200 positions were recut. 113 positions on the plate had both top and bottom lines recut, 40 positions had only the top line recut, 8 positions had only the bottom line recut, 11 positions had a double recut at the bottom and 4 positions had a double recut at the to
How many plates were there?
There were twelve plates of the 1¢ Franklin made, plate six was never used, probably due to it being damaged in it's creation. Most of the plates were used for both the imperforate and perforated design. Some only produced one type or the other. For instance, plate 12 produced only perforated stamps and the early state of Plate 1 produced only imperforate stamps whilst plate I late (reconstruction) produced both imperforate and perforated stamps. Plate 4 was the last of the imperforate plates to be used.
Chart supplied by courtesy of Chris Biason