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All of 1847us
Designs of the Issues of 1870-1888 - The Large Bank Notes
Secret Marks and Illustrated Identifiers · Paper Types
· Perf. 12 · Unwatermarked· Uniform Design Size: 20 x 25 mm
Sheets of 200 cut into two panes of 100 stamps · All the listed National grills, except the 15¢ and 90¢ are known with end roller grills
* "Mark" refers to the presence of a "secret mark"

   1¢ Franklin of 1870-1881                            Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Joseph I. Pease · Frame: Anthony Cunningham · Lettering: A. W. Cunningham   
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued* Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark* Paper Purpose
1870 134 4/9/1870 ~23 million National H;I pale to dark ultramarine; double transfer; split/multiple grill varieties; Plate#s: --- no hard/white
The one-cent large Bank Note stamp was issued primarily to pay postage on third class domestic and drop mail.

see also:
1¢ Bank Note Identifier
1870 145 5/7/1870 ~120 million National no pale to dark ultramarine; gray blue; double transfer; worn plate; Plate Nos. 16, 17, 50-53 no hard/white
1873 156 8/22/1873 ~448 million Continental no pale to dark ultramarine; gray blue; blue; double transfer; ribbed paper; silk fibers; cogwheel punch; about thirty Pl#s are known yes hard/white
--- 156a --- Continental no double paper yes hard/white
--- 156e --- Continental yes with grill yes hard/white
--- 156f --- Continental no imperforate pair yes hard/white
1879 182 1/3/1879 ~592 million American  no dark ultramarine; blue; gray blue
double transfer; printed on both Continental Pl#301 and American: Pl#s 319-320, 327-328, 336-337, 344, 353-354, 355-356
yes soft porous 
1881 206 10/11/1881 ~2.2 billion American no dull, gray to slate blue; ultramarine
double transfer; 8-hole circle punch
about 34 plate numbers known
yes soft porous
1875 167 n/a 388 total for #167 & #192 Continental no ultramarine yes · hard/very white Special Printing
without gum
1880 192 n/a American  no dark ultramarine yes soft porous
   1¢ Franklin of 1887                         Designer: Thomas Morris · Vignette: Alfred Jones · Frame: George H. Seymour · Lettering: George H. Seymour   
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1887 212 7/15/1887 ~1.58 billion American no ultramarine; bright ultramarine
double transfer
note that the proof of this stamp is of a much richer color than the issued stamp

Plate Nos. R 573-577; S 578-582; 
T 583-587; FF 644-648; GG 649-653;
JJ 664-668; PP 694-698; UU 719-723
(all plates were on the steam press)
no soft porous
Brookman speculates that this new design was the result of either worn dies for the previous 1¢ stamp or perhaps simply time for a new design.
   2¢ Jackson of 1870-1873                         Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Lewis Delnoce · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson   
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1870 135 7/14/1870 ~ 40 million National yes pale to dark red brown; split/multiple grill;
Plate#: only #45 reported
no hard/white
The two-cent large Bank Note stamp was issued primarily to pay postage on a local first class or drop letter. Bisects, used as a 1¢ stamp, are known.

see also:
2¢ Bank Note Identifier
--- 135a --- National yes bisect - diagonal half on cover no hard/white
--- 135b --- National yes bisect - vertical half on cover no hard/white
1870 146 5/7/1870 ~212 million National no pale to dark red brown; orange brown
Plate Nos. 12-15, 28, 30, 34, 35, 45, 46, 47
no hard/white
--- 146a --- National no bisect - diagonal half on cover no hard/white
--- 146b --- National no bisect - vertical half on cover no hard/white
--- 146c --- National no bisect - horizontal half on cover no hard/white
--- 146d --- National no double impression no hard/white
1873 157 7/12/1873 ~141 million Continental no brown, dark brown to dark red brown; sometimes with secret mark; double transfer; ribbed paper; cracked plate; ~ 15 Pl#s known often hard/white
--- 157a --- Continental no double paper --- hard/white
--- 157c --- Continental yes with grill --- hard/white
--- 157d --- Continental no double impression --- hard/white
--- 157e --- Continental no bisect - vertical half on cover --- hard/white
1875 168 n/a 416 total for #168 & #193 Continental no dark brown yes · hard/very white Special Printing
without gum
1880 193 n/a American no black brown yes soft porous
    2¢ Vermilion Jackson of 1875-1878                Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Lewis Delnoce · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson   
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1875 178 7/15/1875 ~112 million Continental no vermilion/ double transfer; ribbed paper
silk fibers; about 16 Pl#s known
yes yellowish
wove
(see 2¢ above)
--- 178a --- Continental no double paper yes
--- 178b --- Continental no bisect on cover yes
--- 178c --- Continental yes with grill yes
1878 183 8/19/1878 ~547 million American no vermilion to orange vermilion/double transfer
Continental Plate #s 241, 242, 296, 297 and
American Plate #s 338, 339, 391-394, 412, 413
yes soft porous
--- 183a --- American no double impression yes soft porous
--- 183b --- American no bisect on cover yes soft porous
1875 180 n/a 917 total for #180 & #203 Continental no carmine vermilion yes hard/white Special Printing
without gum
1880 203 n/a American no scarlet vermilion yes soft porous
    2¢ Washington of 1883                          Designer: Thomas F. Morris · Vignette: Alfred Jones · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson   
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1883 210 10/1/1883 First Day ~4.49 billion American no red brown, dark red brown, orange brown; double transfer; approximately 110 plate numbers are known no soft porous
This new two-cent design paid the new domestic rate for first class mail, effective October 1, 1883.
1885 211B n/a ~1000 American no pale red brown; marginal inscription:
"STEAMER - AMERICAN BANK NOTE COMPANY."
no soft porous Special Printing
without gum
--- 211Bc --- American no horizontal pair imperforate between no soft porous
  2¢ Washington of 1887 

Designer: Thomas F. Morris · Vignette: Alfred Jones · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson   

Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1887 213 9/20/1887
off-cover
dated cancel

9/21/1887
on cover
~4.54 billion American no green, bright green, dark green
double transfer

over 130 plate numbers are known,
all printed on the steam press
no soft porous (see two-cent stamp 
of 1883, above)
--- 213b --- American no printed on both sides no soft porous
   3¢ Washington of 1870-1881                         Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Joseph P. Ourdan · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson   
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued* Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1870 136 3/24/1870 ~172 million National H;I pale to deep green; yellow green; double transfer; split/multiple/end-roller grills
cracked plate; Plate #s: 1, 5, 8, 11, 31, 44, 55
no hard/white
The three-cent stamp paid the domestic rate for first class mail.

Cat. # 136/147
(grill/no grill)
setenant pairs
are known

see also:
3¢ Bank Note Identifier
--- 136a --- National yes setenant pair - one w/o grill no hard/white
--- 136b --- National no printed on both sides no hard/white
1870 147 3/1/1870 ~1.03 billion National no pale to deep green; yellow green
double transfer; cracked plate
Plate Nos. 1-11, 25, 29, 31, 32, 36-44, 54, 55
no hard/white
--- 147a --- National no printed on both sides no hard/white
--- 147b --- National no double impression no hard/white
1873 158 7/17/1873 ~2.66 billion Continental no green; bluish to yellow to olive to dark green
ribbed paper; silk fibers; cracked plate
dbl transfer; cogwheel punch;   >100 Pl#s
yes hard/white
--- 158a --- National no double paper yes hard/white
--- 158e --- National yes with grill yes hard/white
--- 158h --- National no horizontal pair imperforate vertically yes hard/white
--- 158i --- National no horizontal pair imperforate between yes hard/white
--- 158j --- National no double impression yes hard/white
--- 158k --- National no printed on both sides yes hard/white
1879 184 7/2/1878
predate
~1.27 billion American  no light to dark green/double transfer
Continental & American plates (~ 34 plates)
yes soft porous 
--- 184b --- American no double impression yes soft porous
1881 207 8/7/1881 ~1.48 billion American no blue green, green, yellow green
double transfer; cracked plate
8-hole circle punch;  ~34 Pl#'s
yes soft porous
--- 207c --- American no double impression yes soft porous
1875 169 n/a 267 total for #169 & #194 Continental no blue green; known on cover yes · hard/ very white Special Printing
without gum
1880 194 n/a American  no blue green yes soft porous
  3¢ Vermilion Washington of 1887

Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Joseph P. Ourdan · Frame: George H. Seymour · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson 

Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1887 214 9/23/1887 20,167,800 American no vermilion;
Plate no. 421
yes soft porous
The 3¢ vermilion was issued as a catch-all stamp, primarily to pay the balance or make-up rate for a variety of uses. The domestic first class letter rate was 2¢ when this was issued.
 4¢ Jackson of 1883

Designer: Thomas F. Morris · Vignette: Alfred Jones · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson   

Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1883 211 10/1/1883 First Day 76,164,425 American no blue green, deep blue green; double transfer; cracked plate; Plate Nos. 456, 457 and 
L 542-546 (STEAM PRESS)
no soft porous The four-cent Jackson 
was issued to meet the demand for postage on a double weight domestic
first class letter.
1883 211D n/a 26 American no deep blue green no soft porous Special Printing
without gum
  4¢ Jackson of 1888 

Designer: Thomas F. Morris · Vignette: Alfred Jones · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson   

Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1888 215 12/26/1888 28,105,850 American no carmine, pale rose, rose carmine; 
Plate Nos. L 542-546
no soft porous
The 4¢ carmine paid the postage on a double weight domestic first class letter. Brookman speculates that the color change may have been to avoid confusion with the green 2¢ stamp.
   5¢ Taylor of 1875-1879                         Designer: Butler Packard (frame) · Vignette: Charles Skinner · Frame: D. S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson    
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1875 179 7/10/1875 ~15.3 million Continental no blue, greenish blue, bright to dark blue
double transfer; ribbed paper
silk fibers; cracked plate
Plate Nos. 243, 244, 247, 248, 284, 306
no yellowish wove
Five cents paid the UPU rate for many foreign destinations.
--- 179a --- Continental no double paper no
--- 179c --- Continental no with grill/end roller grill no
1879 185 1/16/1879 ~42 million American no light blue to dark blue; double transfer; Printed on both Continental Plate # 306 and 
American Plate #s 325, 326, 379, 380
no soft porous
1875 181 n/a 317 total for #181 & #204 Continental no bright blue no hard/white Special Printing
without gum
1880 204 n/a American no deep blue no soft porous
  5¢ Garfield of 1882

Designer: Thomas F. Morris · Vignette: Charles Skinner · Frame: D. S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson   

Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1882 205 First Day:
4/10/1882

2/18/1882
reported
170,894,020 American no yellow brown, brown, gray brown; 
Plate Nos. 399, 400, 488, 489, K 537-541
no soft porous Five cents paid the 
UPU rate for many 
foreign destinations.
1882 205C 2/17/1882
reported
---- American no gray brown no soft porous Special Printing
without gum
  5¢ Garfield of 1888

Designer: Thomas F. Morris · Vignette: Charles Skinner · Frame: D. S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson   

Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1888 216 3/15/1888 58,898,680 American no indigo, deep blue;
Plate Nos. K 537-541
no soft porous Five cents paid the 
UPU rate for many 
foreign destinations.
   6¢ Lincoln of 1870-1882                         Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Joseph P. Ourdan · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson   
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1870 137 4/11/1870 ~1.56 million National H;I carmine; pale carmine; carmine rose; split/multiple and end roller grill varieties no hard/white
Six cents paid double the rate for first class mail; it also paid the rate for mail to Great Britain and Germany.

Cat. # 137/148
(grill/no grill)
setenant pairs
are known

6¢ Bank Note Identifier
--- 137a --- National H;I setenant pair - one w/o grill no hard/white
1870 148 3/28/1870 ~25.8 million National no carmine; violet to brown to dark carmine; rose
Plate Nos. 26, 27
no hard/white
--- 148a --- National no bisect - vertical half on cover no hard/white
--- 148b --- National no double impression no hard/white
--- 148c --- National no double paper no hard/white
1873 159 6/8/1873 ~38.3 million Continental no dull pink, brown rose/ribbed paper; silk fibers
Pl#s: 18, 21, 304, 305
yes hard/white
--- 159a --- Continental no bisect - diagonal half on cover yes hard/white
--- 159b --- Continental yes with grill yes hard/white
--- 159c --- Continental no double paper yes hard/white
1879 186 4/18/1879 ~20.7 million American  no pink, brownish rose
Continental plate Nos. 304, 305
yes soft porous
1882 208 6/1/1882 First Day 11,689,400 American  no rose, dull rose; deep brownish red
double transfer; Plate nos. 426, 427
yes soft porous 
--- 208a --- American  no pale to deep brown red yes soft porous 
1875 170 --- 185 total for #170 & #195 Continental no dull rose yes · hard/ very white Special Printing
without gum
1880 195 4/23/1880? American  no dull rose yes soft porous
   7¢ Stanton of 1871-1873                         Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Joseph P. Ourdan · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1871 138 2/12/1871 ~800,000 National yes vermilion to deep vermilion
split/multiple and end roller grill varieties
Plate #s: none reported
no hard/white
The 7¢ stamp did not see much use for its intended issue. It did see its primary use when the Prussian closed mail rate (via England) was dropped from 10¢ to 7¢ on Oct. 1, 1871.

7¢ Secret Marks
1871 149 5/11/1871 ~2.07 million National no vermilion to deep vermilion
cracked plate; Plate No. 33
no hard/white
1873 160 9/10/1873 ~2.5 million Continental no vermilion; orange vermilion/double transfer
ribbed paper; silk fibers, Pl#: 22
yes hard/white
--- 160a --- Continental no with grill yes hard/white
--- 160b --- Continental no double paper yes hard/white
1875 171 n/a 473 total for #171 & #196 Continental no reddish vermilion yes hard/ very white Special Printing
without gum
1880 196 n/a American  no scarlet vermilion yes soft porous
   10¢ Jefferson of 1870-1882                         Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Luigi Delnoce · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson 
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1870 139 5/6/1870 ~479,000 National yes brown, yellow brown; dark brown
split, double and end roller grill varieties
no hard/white
The 10¢ Jefferson had multiple uses, often for foreign rates including double the UPU rate, and paid the registry fee after July 1, 1875.

The 1879 American Bank Note stamp is known in setenant pair, one stamp with secret mark and the other without, most likely a Continental plate.

10¢ Bank Note Identifier
1870 150 5/14/1870
on piece
~10.2 million National no brown, yellow brown; dark brown
Dbl transfer; Pl#'s 18, 19 (48, 49 proofs only)
no hard/white
1873 161 8/2/1873 ~21.5 million Continental no brown, dark brown
double transfer; ribbed paper; silk fibers
Plate Nos. 23, 25, 302, 303
yes hard/white
--- 161a --- Continental no double paper yes hard/white
--- 161c --- Continental yes with grill yes hard/white
--- 161d --- Continental no horizontal pair imperf between yes hard/white
1879 187 9/5/1879 ~11 million American  no yellow brown, brown
double transfer; setenant pair with Sc 188; printed on American Plate Nos. 377, 378
no soft porous
--- 187a --- American  no double paper no soft porous
1879 188 10/5/1878 ~22 million American  no yellow brown to black brown; double transfer; setenant/Cat. # 187; cracked plate
printed on Continental Pl #s 302, 303
yes soft porous 
1882 209 5/4/1882 ~151 million American  no many shades of brown
Plate Nos. 403, 403A, 404A, 481, M 547-551
no soft porous 
--- 209b --- American  no black brown no soft porous 
--- 209c --- American  no double impression no soft porous 
1875 172 n/a 180 total for #172 & #197 Continental no pale brown yes · hard/ very white Special Printing
without gum
1880 197 n/a American  no deep brown sometimes · soft 
   12¢ Clay of 1870-1873                         Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Luigi Delnoce · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1870 140 6/17/1870 ~66,000 National yes dull violet
split grill; end roller grill
no hard/white
The twelve cent stamp was multi-purpose, often used on foreign mail; it also paid the combined postage for a registered domestic letter. Less than ten covers are known with the 12¢ grill, Cat. # 140.
1870 151 7/9/1870 ~3.26 million National no dull violet; violet; dark violet
Plate No. 24
no hard/white
1873 162 1/3/1874 ~2.92 million Continental no blackish violet; ribbed paper
12¢ Secret marks - Plate No. 137
yes hard/white
--- 162a --- Continental yes with grill yes hard/white
1875 173 n/a 282 total for #173 & #198 Continental no dark violet yes hard/ 
very white
Special Printing
without gum
1880 198 n/a American  no blackish purple yes soft porous
   15¢ Webster of 1870-1879                         Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Luigi Delnoce · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson  
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1870 141 6/2/1870 ~558,000 National yes orange; deep orange; bright orange
split/multiple grill varieties; Plate #: 20
no hard/white
The 15¢ stamp paid the registry fee until 1875. It also paid the fee to South Africa and other foreign destinations.
1870 152 6/24/1870 ~5.03 million National no pale to light orange
Pl.#: 20
no hard/white
--- 152a --- National no double impression no hard/white
1873 163 7/22/1873 ~3.05 million Continental no orange to deep reddish orange
ribbed paper; silk fibers; Plate No. 31
often hard/white
--- 163a --- Continental yes with grill often hard/white
--- 163c --- Continental no double paper often hard/white
1879 189 1/20/1879 ~14.4 million American  no red orange, yellow orange to orange
double transfer; Continental plate No. 31
some-
times
soft porous
1875 174 n/a 169 total for #174 & #199 Continental no bright orange hard/ very white Special Printing
without gum
1880 199 n/a American  no orange soft porous
   24¢ Cat. # of 1870-1873                         Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Joseph P. Ourdan · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1870 142 7/11/1872 ~8,500 National yes purple; split/multiple grill
grill with points up; end roller grill
Plate #s: none reported
no hard/white
The twenty-four cent stamp had multiple uses for foreign rates. There are only three covers known with grill, Sc142.
1870 153 11/18/1870 ~1.14 million National no purple; bright purple/ Pl.# 21 no hard/white
--- 153a --- National no double paper no hard/white
1873 164 n/a possibly 365,000 Continental no purple (on vertically ribbed paper);
only one copy is certified
no hard/white
1875 175 n/a 286 total for #175 & #200 Continental no dull purple no hard/ 
very white
Special Printing
without gum
1880 200 n/a American  no dark violet no soft porous
   30¢ Hamilton of 1870-1882                         Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Joseph P. Ourdan · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1870 143 8/18/1870 ~77,000 National yes black to full black; double grill; end roller grill no hard/white
The 30¢ stamp had multiple uses often for foreign rates, especially to India and Peru. Less than twenty covers are known with the 30¢ grill, Cat. # 143.
1870 154 7/13/1870 ~786,000 National no black; full black/Plate No. 22 no hard/white
1873 165 10/14/1874 ~782,500 Continental no gray black, greenish black/double transfer
ribbed paper; silk fibers; Plate No. 22
no hard/white
--- 165a --- Continental no double paper no hard/white
--- 165c --- Continental yes with grill no hard/white
1879 190 4/5/1881 ~4.1 million American  no greenish black to full black
printed on American plate No. 405
some-
times
soft porous
1875 176 n/a 179 total for #176 & #201 Continental no greenish black no hard/ 
very white
Special Printing
without gum
1880 201 n/a American  no greenish black no soft porous
  30¢ Hamilton of 1888

Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Joseph P. Ourdan · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson  

Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1888 217 6/26/1888
off cover

9/7/1888
on cover
710,720 American  no orange brown, deep orange brown;
Plate No. 405
yes soft porous (see 30¢ above)
   90¢ Perry of 1870-1882                         Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Luigi Delnoce · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson  
Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1870 144 4/12/1870
reported
~53,300 National yes carmine to rich carmine
double grill; split grill
no hard/white
The ninety-cent stamp was used primarily on domestic parcels and higher foreign rates, particularly to Russia. No 90¢ grill covers, three 90¢ National and about twenty 90¢ Continental covers are currently documented.
1870 155 9/1/1872

4/29/1871
reported
~160,000 National no carmine; rich (dark) carmine
Plate No. 23
no hard/white
1873 166 6/25/1875 ~197,000 Continental no rose carmine, pale rose carmine
National plate No. 23
no hard/white
1879 191 5/27/1882
off cover

6/24/1882
on cover
~280,670 American  no carmine, rose, carmine rose
National plate No. 23
no soft porous
--- 191a American  no double paper no soft porous
1875 177 n/a 170 total for #177 & #202 Continental no violet carmine no hard/ 
very white
Special Printing
without gum
1880 202 n/a American  no dull carmine no soft porous
  90¢ Perry of 1888

Designer: Butler Packard · Vignette: Lewis Delnoce · Frame: Douglas S. Ronaldson · Lettering: D. S. Ronaldson  

Year Cat. # EDU No. Issued Printer Grill Colors/Varieties Mark Paper Purpose
1888 218 9/?/1888
off cover
dated cancel

10/29/1888
on cover
103,130 American  no purple, bright purple;
Plate No. 23
no soft porous (see 90¢ above) 


A Guide to the Grills

Notes:  

The EDU information is based on the best information available. Please report any updates or corrections via email.

The printing companies have been listed in shorthand to fit in the space provided. The companies are as follows:
"National" = National Bank Note Company
"Continental" = Continental Bank Note Company
"American" = American Bank Note Company

Although the "secret mark" could be considered a design feature, it is not included in the list of designers in the banner at the top of each stamp. Credit for these marks should be given to Charles Skinner.

The secret marks used to separate the National and Continental stamps can be very problematic. On the lower denominations identification is fairly straightforward, although many collectors still separate the stamps based on color, particularly the two-cent stamp. This is also the method that most use to separate the higher denominations, so pay attention to the colors listed.

"Secret" marks are found on the die proofs of the twenty-four and ninety-cent Continental stamps, which had the rays in the stars strengthened, and the thirty-cent Continental proof stamp, which had a line of shading added to the bottom of the shield. These "secret marks" will be found only on the die proofs. 

The so-called secret mark on the fifteen-cent stamp has caused much controversy. It is generally accepted that the apparent strengthening of the "V" in the upper left triangle is found on many, but not all, Continental and American printings. For now, it is probably best to simply sort your fifteen-cent large Bank Notes on hard white paper by color. Any on soft porous paper are of course the American stamp, Cat. # 189.

Double Paper: The double paper was described by John Luff as being composed of two parts: a "very thin paper, backed by a thicker and firmer one". In theory, the "impressions were to be made on the thin paper which, it was expected, would be destroyed by any attempt to remove a cancellation." (Burns, U.S. Specialist March 1999). This was not always the case, however, since impressions were at least sometimes made on the thicker paper. The collector should bear in mind that the Bank Note double papers are composed of one thick paper and one very thin paper.

The thirty-cent stamp is also interesting. In 1989 Jack Rosenthal published an article in Linn's that showed a clear alteration in the triangular protrusions in the "S" of "CENTS" on some of the American printings, that is Cat. # 190 and Cat. # 217. Not all American printings show this alteration, or "secret mark" if you choose, however if the alteration is present the stamp must be an American printing. The American printings were on a soft porous paper making them easily identifiable in any case, but it may help in weeding out Continentals printed on the soft, "transitional" paper. The Micarelli guide lists the Continentals on "soft white" paper, but it is not listed here to prevent confusion. 

Quantity issued: Estimates are based on available information, primarily from Brookman, "The United States Postage Stamps of the 19th Century- Volume I", and "Linn's U.S. Stamp Facts 19th Century", published by Linn's Stamp News. These numbers are simply estimates based on the best information available and are subject to revision. Please report any updates or corrections via email.


Special Printings:
The 1875 Special Printings were issued 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 and also to provide stamps for collectors and others to satisfy numerous requests. Since the stamps of this issue were still in circulation and available at Post Offices, they were not "reissues" per se and are listed simply as "special printings". They are very difficult to distinguish from the regularly issued stamps, other than the very white paper.

Bibliography and suggested additional reading:

Basic Information:
The Postage Stamps of the 19th Century, Volume II, by Lester Brookman (1966)
The Postage Stamps of the 19th Century, Volume III, by Lester Brookman (1967)
The 2011 Cat. # Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps & Covers, Cat. # Publishing Co. 2010
Linn's U.S. Stamp Facts 19th Century, by Elliot A. Landau, editor (1999)
The United States Two Cent Red Brown of 1883-1887, by Edward L. Willard (1970 - 2 vol.)
The U.S. 3c Green 1870-1887, by H. L. Wiley (Severn-Wylie-Jewett booklet #9 - copyright 1915)
U.S. 1887 3 Cent Vermilion, by Dr. H. A. Davis (1922)
The Seven Cent Vermilion U.S. 1871-1873 Issue, by J. W. Sampson(Severn-Wylie-Jewett booklet #42 undated)
Comments on the 10c stamps of 1870-1882, with profile of Jefferson, by Elliott Perry (Collector's Club Philatelist 1949)
Notes on the 10 Cents Jefferson 1870-1879, by Cyril F. dos Passos(22nd American Philatelic Congress)
The United States 15c Stamp of 1870-1890, by William R. Weiss Jr.(1995)

Notable Auction Sales:
U.S. Bank Note Issues, Featuring the Mercedes Collection  - Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries #922 October 19, 2006

Design dimensions:

The Postage Stamps of the United States, John Luff  (1902 and 1937)
The design dimensions are from Luff unless otherwise noted.

Colors
:
The Encyclopedia of the Colors of United States Postage Stamps - Volume 2 Issues of 1869-1893, by Roy H. White (1981)
The Micarelli Identification Guide to U.S. Stamps: Regular Issues 1847-1934 by Charles N. Micarelli

Websites of interest to the Large Bank Note collector: 
The Collectors Club Philatelist at www.collectorsclub.org.
The Chronicle of the U.S. Classic Postal Issues at www.uspcs.org
Siegel Powersearch at Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, Inc.

 

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