Washington Head: 1¢ Stamps with Compound or Unusual Perforations

Perf 12 x 10 - Siegel 877 Perf 10 x 12 - Siegel 877 US536 - Perf 12.5 x 12.5 US538 - Perf 11 x 10 US542 - Perf 10 x 11
Flat Plate – Perf 12×10
Seigel 877*
Flat Plate – Perf 10×12
Seigel 877*
Offset – Perf 12.5 x 12.5
US 536 – Rosback Perfs
Rotary – Perf 11 x 10
US 538
Rotary – Perf 10 x 11
US 542

   Unusual or Compound Perforations on the 1¢ Stamp

Perforation Method
of Printing
Watermark US Number Size
of Frame
can be made from
Perf 12 X 10 Flat Plate single-line 424-12×10 19 x 22 mm 408,
Perf 10 X 12 Flat Plate single-line 424-10×12 19 x 22 mm 408,
Perf 12.5 Offset none 536 19 x 22 mm 531
Perf 11 X 10 Rotary Press none 538 19.5-20 x 22 mm (wider) 490
Perf 10 X 11 Rotary Press none 542 19 x 22.5 mm 


The 2¢ perf 12×10 and 10×12 stamps are candidates for fakery, since they are relatively easy to manufacture from the imperforate US409 and less so by reperforating two sides of a US424. However, they are so rare that a fake would hardly escape detection.

*The stamps illustrated are courtesy of the Robert A. Siegel Auciton Galleries, Inc. and are from sale #877, “The Chesapeake Collection of U.S. 1914 Compound Perforations,” June 12, 2004.
This is the finest study of the 1914 compound perforations to date. Siegel includes an illustrated census of each variety as well.

US536 is a possible candidate for fakery if the centering is superb. It is unusual to find well-centered copies of this stamp and they bring a huge premium over F-VF stamps. There is therefore some incentive to add perforations to the imperforate offset stamp, US531. Normally centered examples of 536 should not present a problem, since there is little incentive to produce a poorly centered copy from the imperforate stock.

US538 and US542 are not a real problem, since adding  perforations (perf 11) to the top and bottom of the coil stamp US490 or to the left and right sides of US486  results in a stamp that is a little short. There is no rotary press imperforate stock from which to make either stamp, meaning the stamp can only be faked by adding perforations to a coil stamp. Certifying either stamp is optional, although as always we recommend purchasing the stamp from a reputable seller.

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