The line in the hair is the most distinguishing feature. This distinction is reminiscent of the type II 1922 2¢ rotary stamp and
is easily recognizable if not obscured by a cancellaiton. The toga button is also of major importance. If the toga button is taller than it is
wide, the stamp is almost certainly a Type III Cat. # 267 of 1895. Conversely, if there is added shading in the toga button (wider than tall), the stamp
is almost certainly a Type IV Cat. # 279b of 1898.
In a 1955 article in "The Bureau Specialist" Brett and
Southgate propose 17 areas that distinguish the Type III and IV
stamps and in fact there are many other distinctions. We have
noted that many of the Type IV stamps are of poorer quality, not
quite as bad, but reminiscent of the poor quality of the offset Washington Franklins.
For this reason, many of the Type III stamps have much clearer
definition in the line in the acanthus, often enough to be
included in our top six distinctions. Notably, we did not observe
a consistent enough difference in the lines of shading on Washington's sleeve,
a distinction made by Cat. #, to include it in this list.
There are other criteria that will enable immediate
identification of Type. If the watermarked stamp is cancelled or
on cover with a date stamp prior to November of 1897, the earliest
known usage of the Type IV stamp, the stamp is certainly the 267.
If the stamp is part of a block or strip with a plate number,
identification is immediate. According to the "Durland
Standard Plate Number Catalog" the plate numbers on the
Type III range from 141 up to 503 and the plate numbers on the
Type IV range from 505 up to 1493. Thus if the plate number on the
watermarked stamp is 505 or higher it must be Cat. # 279b.
Finally, the idea that color may be the determining factor in
distinguishing Cat. # 267 from 279b holds no merit. True, the issues
of 1898 reflect color changes to conform with the UPU guidelines,
but the 2¢ stamp was already the proper "red" color and no color change
was necessary. For practical
purposes the same variations in shades of color occur on both the
267 and the 279b and should not be considered in making the
"Durland Standard Plate Number Catalog" - Compiled and edited
by Kim D. Johnson with assistance from W. Wallace Cleland and John
"Two-Cent Series of 1894, Type IV", George W.
Brett and H. M. Southgate, The Bureau Specialist, Vol. 27,
No. 10 (October, 1955) pp. 283-293
"The Two-Cent 1894: An Uncatalogued Major Variety"
, George W. Brett, The United States Specialist, Vol. 64,
No. 9 (September, 1993) pp. 390-395
Kenneth Diehl, The United States Specialist, Vol. 65, Dec.
1994 - Vol. 68, Aug. 1997, a 23-part article