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All of 1847us
Designs of the Issue of 1847
 Printed in sheets of 200 subjects with two 10 x 10 panes
 Cat. # 1 Vs Cat. # 3 · Cat. # 2 Vs Cat. # 4

  5¢ Franklin of 1847

Engravers:   Vignette: Asher B. Durand     Frame: Unknown     Lettering: Unknown  

Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Perf Printer Color/Variety Design Size Varieties/Other Usage
1847 1 7/7/1847 3,712,000
(see below)
none RWH&E red brown 18½ x 23 mm
"Dot" in "S";
Cracked plate at position 69R1

Listed double-transfers:
(A) top frame line (80R1)
(B) top & bottom frame line (90R1)
(C) bottom & partial LL frame line
(D) top, bottom & left frame lines & numerals
(E) "U", "POST OFFICE" & left numeral
(F) "U", "POST OFFICE" & top & part of both upper side frame lines
5¢ paid the postage for a letter up to ½ oz.  traveling no further than  300 miles within the US
1848 1a --- none RWH&E dark brown 18½ x 23 mm
1847 1b --- none RWH&E orange brown 18½ x 23 mm
--- 1c --- none RWH&E red orange 18½ x 23 mm
1850 1d --- none RWH&E brown orange 18½ x 23 mm
--- 1e --- none RWH&E double impression 18½ x 23 mm
1875 3 --- 4,800 none BEP red brown to
dark brown
>18½ x <23 mm officially approved imitation special printing*
1947 948a 5/19/1947 10,300,000 none BEP blue 18½ x 23 mm from souvenir sheet Souvenir Printing
  10¢ Washington of 1847

Engravers:   Vignette: Asher B. Durand     Frame: Unknown     Lettering: Unknown  

Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Perf Printer Color/Variety Design Size Varieties/Other Usage
1847 2 7/2/1847 891,000
(see below)
none RWH&E greenish black
gray black
full black
18½ x 23 mm
Vertical line through 2nd "F" of  "OFFICE" (68R1)
Short transfer at top
"Stick-pin in tie" (52L1)
"Harelip" variety (57L1)

Listed double-transfers:
(A) in "X" at lower right (1R1)
(B) in "POST OFFICE" (31R1)
(C) in "X" at lower right (2R1)
(D) bottom & left frame lines doubled (41R1)
10¢ paid the postage for a letter up to ½ oz. traveling further than 300 miles within the US
--- 2a --- none RWH&E diagonal bisect
on cover
used as 5¢
18½ x 23 mm
--- 2b --- none RWH&E vertical bisect
on cover (5¢)
18½ x 23 mm
--- 2c --- none RWH&E horizontal bisect on cover (5¢) 18½ x 23 mm
1875 4 --- 3,883 none BEP grayish to full black >18½ x <23 mm officially approved imitation special printing*
1947 948b 5/19/1947 10,300,000 none BEP orange brown 18½ x 23 mm from souvenir sheet Souvenir Printing

Notes:

The letters "RWH&E", found at the bottom of each design, stand for the printing company that produced these stamps, namely Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson. "BEP" stands for the "Bureau of Engraving and Printing". 

*The reproductions of 1875 were not issued to be used as postage, but rather as "sample" stamps. The reproductions were issued as part of a set of special printings for at least two reasons. The first was to showcase a complete set of the U.S. issues for the first World's Fair officially held in the U.S., at the Centennial International Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia. The second was to provide stamps for collectors and others who had made numerous requests for them.

Neither of the reproductions were valid for postage since the 1847 issue was demonetized in 1851 and could not be legitimately used for postage. For this reason, an EDU for the reproductions is meaningless. They were released around March 27, 1875. 

Although two-cents paid the drop letter rate, no two-cent stamp was issued. Rates to other countries varied and were usually subject to treaty. For more on this subject see the Starnes book, listed below.

The 1947 Souvenir Sheet was designed by Robert L. Miller.

Quantities issued:

4,400,000 5¢ stamps were printed in five press runs. 688,000 stamps were destroyed when the stamps were demonetized in 1851. (Brett, see below) 

1,050,000 10¢ stamps were printed in four press runs. 159,000 stamps were destroyed when the stamps were demonetized in 1851. (Brett)

Colors of the Five Cent Stamp of 1847:

The initial work on this was done by Dr. Carroll Chase in a series of articles in the 1916 Philatelic Gazette and is considered the standard for assessing the colors of the stamp. His color designations are given here by what is thought to be year of issue (the names in parentheses are the Ridgeway color names).

1847 orange brown (auburn); bright orange brown (light auburn); dark brown (chestnut brown); black brown (dark Van Dyke brown)

1848 dark brown (chestnut brown); dark reddish brown (deep Rood's brown)

1849 reddish brown (dark russet); bright reddish brown (dark pecan brown)

1850 grayish brown (light Mars brown); dark grayish brown (Mars brown); dark olive brown (Prout's brown); orange (cinnamon rufus); brownish orange (dark cinnamon rufus)

1851 deep brownish orange (hazel); dark brownish orange (dark hazel)

Roy White discusses the colors of our fist stamp, along with wonderful and carefully reproduced examples of many, but not all, of these colors in his monumental work The Encyclopedia of the Colors of United States Postage Stamps - Volume 1. His "seal brown" stamp does appear lighter than his dark brown and chestnut brown examples, while the true seal brown is nearly black and exceptionally rare, certainly the darkest of the so-called black browns. The 5¢ stamp is sometimes listed as walnut brown, a shade not listed above, but a nice example can be found in White's Encyclopedia. Another is chocolate brown, which is another shade in the dark brown category, although perhaps a touch warmer. White again has a couple of examples that do appear to be warmer, a little more orange to the author's eye, than their dark brown brethren.

In 1986 Calvet Hahn re-examined the Chase color designations in a series of articles published in the Collector's Club Philatelist.

Bibliography and suggested additional reading:

Basic Information:
The 2011 Cat. # Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps & Covers, Cat. # Publishing Co. 2010
The Postage Stamps of the 19th Century, Volume 1, by Lester Brookman (1966)
The United States 1847 Issue - A Cover Census, by Thomas J. Alexander (2001 USPCS)
The 1847 Issue, by Harvey Mirsky - The U.S. Specialist (March 2006)
The 1847 U.S. Issue Stamps, by Frank Goodwin (1913)
The 5¢ 1847 Issue, Mekeel's Reference Manual
The 10¢ 1847 Issue, Mekeel's Reference Manual
A Historical Catalog of U.S. Stamp Essays & Proofs - The 1847 Issue, by Clarence W. Brazer (1947)
The 5¢ and 10¢ General Issue of 1847, by Wade Saadi - American Philatelist (March 1997)
The First United States Issue, by John F. Dunn - U.S. Stamp News (May-Jun, 2000)
Ten Decades Ago, 1840-1850: A Study of the Work of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch and Edson, by Winthrop Boggs (1949)
United States Letter Rates to Foreign Destinations - 1847 to GPU - UPU (1872) by Charles J. Starnes (1982)

Design dimensions:
 
The Postage Stamps of the United States, John Luff  (1902 and 1937)

Quantities issued:

Updating the U.S. 1847's on Their 150th Anniversary: Beginning, Production, Ending, by George Brett - 63rd American Philatelic Congress

Colors

Reexamining the 1847 Colors
by Calvet Hahn (1986)
The Encyclopedia of the Colors of United States Postage Stamps - Volume 1 Issues of 1847-1868, by Roy H. White (1981)

Postal History:

Great Covers: The 1847 Issue, by John F. Dunn - U.S. Stamp News (Jan-Feb, 2001)
The United States 1847 Issue: A Cover Census by Thomas J. Alexander (2006)

Plating:  
Notes on the plating of the 10¢ stamp were published by Elliott Perry in the Collector's Club Philatelist from 1924-1926.
Perry's plating of this stamp is considered one of the great milestone's in the hobby.

Websites of interest to the 1847 collector:

The Collectors Club Philatelist at www.collectorsclub.org.
The Chronicle of the U.S. Classic Postal Issues at www.uspcs.org
The New York Chapter of the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society (USPCS) at www.nystamp.org
The National Postal Museum (NPM) at: www.postalmuseum.si.edu/ (enter "1847" in "Search" and click on the arrow for links)




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