1847 issues

1851 US Postage Stamps 7 1847 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 8 1847 Scotts - US Postage Stamps

George Washington (biography)
10¢ - Black or gray black
Imperf - Thin bluish Paper - Scott #2 - 1847
Scott #3 can be found further down the page

Deduct 40% for pen cancels for three margins, deduct 40% of three margins,
60% for two margins and for no margins deduct 80%

Value (with 4 margins around the design)
Used: $450-$850
No postmark with gum (MH): $9,000-$10,000
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): Donald Trump territory

Statistics and Facts

Issued on July 1st, 1847. The earliest recorded copy is July 7th, 1847.
Below is one of the twenty recorded examples bearing a July 1847 date stamp.

Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100),
Stanley Ashbrook was convinced there was only one plate used.

Printer: Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson Bank Note Co. NYC. (later to become part of the American Bank Note Company)

Watermark: None

Quantity Issued: 864,000

What you should look for


The value of this stamp is greatly effected by the number of margins it has. Ideally it should
have four wide margins. These stamps were scissor cut by the postmaster, hence purchasing a four
margin stamp with wide margins (as shown at the top of this page) can be expensive. The value goes
down depending on the width of the margins and the number of the margins. Three margin copies will
always be of less value than a four margin copy. Two margin copies are considered undesirable.

Because these stamps were scissor cut the design is often cut into, if this is the case it will
significantly take away from the value of the stamp, the more the stamp design has been cut into
the greater the deduction.


The 10¢ was reprinted in 1875. The differences are subtle. If the stamp has a cancel or pen mark
on it then it is an original 1847, numbers 1 or 2. If the stamps are clear and free of cancels or pen
marks then they could be the reprints. This is especially true of the 10¢.

To discern the difference look at the cravat, or shirt frill. On the original, on the right, the
right edge of the cravat pretty much lands opposite the middle of the letter T in the word CENTS.
Now look at the reprint on the left. The right edge of the cravat slopes towards the left branch
of the letter T in CENTS. There are other cues but this is usually the easiest.



The majority of cancels are obliterated with the grid cancel, usually in black or red. Town cancels are less
common and carry a small premium. Cancels with the word 'Steamboat' or 'Railroad' often demand a 25-50% premium.
Other, but less common cancels is the word 'PAID' or the number '10'. Pen cancels are fairly common and a tad
less desirable, so where possible avoid the pen cancels. This rule can be applied to almost all the US stamps.

Example of a pen cancel

Removed pen cancel examples (see note below)

Above are illustrations of how dangerous removed pen cancels can be. The images on the left ishow how the stamp was
sold on ebay. After putting these stamps under a microscope the buyer could see traces of the ink that had been
removed. The images on the right depict the stamps before the pen cancel was removed.

Example of a number '10' and a 'PAID' cancel
(many post offices used a different representation of 10 or PAID)

An example of a railroad cancel
Nearly all railroad cancels are straight line
A better example can be seen on the Rush cover below

One thing to be careful of is cancels that obliterate the face, such as the
example below, which sold for only one third of the average price for this stamp

Heavy cancels that hide the face detract
from the desirability of the stamp.


Sperati Forgery

Sperati was an artist, far better than Fournier and the quality of his work shows
in the two images above. You will find almost all the cancels on his fakes to be red
barred cancels. The cancel will cover up the printers initials at the bottom of the
frame as this is the bit he screwed up. Another obvious difference is the paper, being
noticeably softer and courser than the original. Lastly the design is no where near as
defined or clear as the original

A fake #2 and #1, with faked cancel on fake piece.

The Inspiration for the Design

The engraved vignette designs for both the 1847 stamps had been crafted years earlier by Asher Brown Durand,
originally for use on Bank of Ypsilanti bank notes of 1836

Gilbert Stuarts 1796 unfinished portrait of George Washington
(also known as The Athenaeum) was Durand's source of inspiration

The Albert G Durand Engraving
(the same as used in the $1 bill)

The stamp vignette is on the left, Durand's engraving is on the right.
I have flipped Gilberts portrait for the purpose of comparison. The
original had Washington facing left.

The vignette of George Washington was sourced from the vignette
used on the above 1836 Bank of Ypsilanti, Michigan, banknote, also printed by Rawdon, Wright and Hatch

Asher Brown Durand, the vignette's engraver

Hudson River Looking Toward the Catskills Painting by Asher B Durand

Scene from "Thanatopsis" by Asher B Durand

Asher Brown Durand was more well known in his time as a painter of romantic landscapes
two of which are shown above. So right from their inception there was a connection between art and stamps

Varieties to look for


Type B double transfer

Type D double transfer


10¢ Fractional Usage
Diagonal Bisect
Scott #2a - 1847
10¢ Fractional Usage
Horizontal Bisect
Scott #2¢ - 1847


'Stick Pin' variety

The stick pin variety (top image)
(note the dot in the middle of the cravat)

'Hair Lip' variety

The hair lip variety, notice the line across the mouth.

The Essay's and Proofs

The original frames of the 1847 design mockups in black. The frames are on
thin card, hand-drawn in pencil and black ink with a light black India wash.
The frames were drawn by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson

Large die proof on bond laid paper (2P1a)
The cross hatched lines were there to prevent the
transfer roll from slipping

Large die proof on white laid paper (2P1c)

Large die proof on white Glazed paper (2P1li)

Light brown trial color proof on india (TC1)

Blue trial color proof on india (TC1)

Violet trial color proof on india (TC1)

Large Die Proof on India, die sunk on card (2P1)

2 proof

Reprint Roosevelt Album proof
as usual, mounted on gray card

Specimen - Scotts #2ps

The 1875 Reprint

10¢ - Black or gray black
Imperf - Thin bluish Paper - Scott #3 - 1875
3,883 issued

US stamps

The envelope that the 1875 reproductions came in

The 1947 Reprint

The stamp was again reprinted in 1947 (Scott #948), easily identifiable by
the different colors, not to be confused with the trial colors. Trial
colors have grid lines.

Large Multiples

1847 Issue cover with retaliatory-rate charge.
Largest multiple on cover. Known as the 'Rush cover'
Spring 2006 auction $1,200,000

40¢ transcontinental rate to California example, on and off cover.

The Bible block of 6, the largest known unused block (value $500,000)
Found in a bible in 1909


1851 US Postage Stamps 7 1847 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 8 1847 Scotts - US Postage Stamps