Follow these steps in the identification of your six cent Bank Note:
Determine the type of paper
the stamp was printed on, if it was printed on the "hard white"
paper it is either a National or Continental printing. The National
printings can often be separated by color alone, the color is quite
a bit more vivid in general than the Continental and American
printings. The stamp at the top of this page is the National Bank
Note Printing, US 148. Compare the color with the US
186 in the diagram below it. The stamp should also be checked for the "secret"
mark. If the stamp was printed on the "hard white"
paper and does not have the "secret mark", it was printed by the National Bank Note
Company. If the stamp has a grill, it may be US 137. If it
does not have a grill it is US 148. Care must be taken
when authenticating the grill. Many fake grills have been added over
the years in an attempt to increase the value of the stamp. If you
suspect your six cent National stamp has a grill, you must have it certified.
If the stamp was printed on the "hard white" paper and
does have the "secret mark", it was printed by the
Continental Bank Note Company and is US 159.
If the stamp was printed on the "soft porous" paper, it is an American Bank
Note printing. Compare the number of lines in the panel as shown in
the illustrations above to determine the US number. The lines in
the panel must be distinct for the stamp to be a US 208. Be sure
to note the muddy color of the US 208.
If you are unsure of the type of paper used or the secret mark, you
MUST assume that the stamp is the more common variety. If the stamp
is unused and has at least partial gum, it should be
certified to ascertain the type, since the value of the stamp will
in most cases far out weigh the cost of certification.
Watch for re-perforation (to fake a more well-centered stamp), for re-gumming (a major problem with the Bank Notes), and even
for bleaching of the cancellation (to remove the cancel). Unused copies carry a substantial premium over the used stamp.
We include the "Special" printings in this identification
guide merely for completeness. Only 185 copies, total, of US 170
and 195 were sold, and they were never issued for postal use,
rather for collectors only. We occasionally see uncertified copies of
these stamps offered for sale at ridiculously low prices. You can
rest assured that the stamp being offered is not genuine. These
stamps are so rare, only 65 copies are known, they seldom come up for sale, except in
the sale of a major U.S. Collection.