20¢ Pale ultramarine, bright ultramarine
Printing Method: Flat Plate
Subject: Benjamin Franklin
Number issued: 8,282,000
Scott #: 476
Issued: December 5th, 1916
30¢ - 50¢
No postmark with gum (MH)
$25 - $50
Full perfect gum, no postmark
no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH)
$50 - $135
This denomination was issued primarily for use on parcel post packages.
When the 1902 series was first issued requests were received from business men for some values between the 15 and 50 cent stamps. This request was at that time rejected by the Department. The increased use of mail service for sending packages had increased very rapidly with the introduction of the Parcel Post system and it was found necessary to add additional values to the ordinary. stamps when the discontinuance of special stamps for this service was decided upon.
#476 was issued with the following plate #'s
6908-09, 20, 26
The stamps on unwatermarked paper were current for a little over five months. They have never been plentiful and are relatively scarce. This unwatermarked paper was used with the old perf. 10 machines while the Bureau was waiting for the perforating wheels to wear out prior to changing all machines to 11 gauge. The use of this new paper before this change was unexpected by collectors. As a result, this perf. 10 unwatermarked variety was almost entirely overlooked.
Due to the color of the stamp the watermark on the previous issue is difficult to see, extreme care should be used in classifying it. Several tests may be necessary to be sure that no watermark exists.
While these stamps were current, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing made the first experimental precanceled stamps. An example of precancel is shown above. Almost all precancels have a solid line above and below the location name.