Types of the 3¢ Offset Washington: Types III and IV

Only the offset printings of the 3c Washington have the following types. If your stamp
is rotary or flat plate, you are on the wrong page and should go here: Types of the 3¢ Rotary and Flat Plate Washington

Five Areas that Distinguish Types III and IV

Area on Map Part of Design What to Look For
1 Toga Button Type III: the line through the center dot  in the button appears broken.
Type IV: the line through the center dot  in the button appears to be solid
2 "P" and "O" of "POSTAGE" Type III: "P" and "O" of  "POSTAGE" are clearly distinct 

Type IV: "P" and "O" of  "POSTAGE" appear to be joined 

3
Toga Rope
Type III: top line of toga rope is thin or broken,  the rope lines are wider at the bottom than top, the 2nd line from right is short or missing  Type IV: top line of toga rope is solid and thicker,  the rope lines are consistent top to bottom,  the 2nd line from right is intact 
4 Shape of Nose Type III: the upward curving line of the nose is strong
Type IV:
the upward curving line of the nose  is weaker than Type III
5 Oval Frame Type III: oval frame appears weak or broken
Type IV:
oval frame appears solid

See also: Methods of Printing for the Washington Franklin Stamps .

The key to identifying these stamps is to examine the toga button and the letters "P" and "O" in "POSTAGE". The Type III has a broken line through the center of the toga button and the Type IV has a solid line in the button. In the Type III  the "P" and "O" of  "POSTAGE" appear to be joined and in the Type IV  the "P" and "O" of  "POSTAGE" are clearly distinct. In the case of a cancellation covering the identifying area, if the ink is light, or you simply have a faded copy, you will need to examine many of the areas. In particular, if you think the stamp is a scarcer variety, you should examine all of the areas for positive identification. A powerful magnifying glass, microscope, or a high resolution scan (600 to 1200 dpi) will greatly aid in identifying the type. 

Side-by-Side Comparison of Type III and  Type IV of the 3c Offset Washington

Toga Button В· Type III Toga
Button В· Type IV
The line through the center
dot in the toga button appears broken. Sometimes it may be so weak, as
in this case, as to not give a definitive identification. However,
when compared to the Type IV at right, the distinction becomes
clearer.
The line through the center
dot in the toga button appears to be solid. This is usually quite
apparent.
"P" and "O"
of "POSTAGE" В· Type III
"P" and "O"
of "POSTAGE" В· Type IV
The "P" and
"O" of  "POSTAGE" are clearly distinct and
separated by a solid line of color. 
The "P" and
"O" of  "POSTAGE" appear to be joined. This
may be the most recognizable differentiating  feature of the Type III and IV
stamps. 
Toga
Rope В· Type III
Toga
Rope В· Type IV
The top line of the toga rope
is thin or broken, the rope lines are wider at the bottom than top,
and the second line from the right is short or missing entirely. In this example
many of the lines are missing, but the base of the lines inside the
rope are discernibly thicker than the top of the lines.
The top line of the toga rope
is solid and thicker than the Type III. The rope lines are consistent
top to bottom, and the second line from the right is intact.
Shape
of Nose В· Type III
Shape
of Nose В· Type IV
The
upward curving line of the nostril is strong relative to the other
shading of the nose. This is a weak, yet typical, example of the Type
III, it is the relative nature of the shading that counts.
The
upward curving line of the nostril is similar relative to the rest of the
shading of the nose.
Oval
Frame
В· Type III
Oval
Frame В· Type IV
The outline of the inner portrait oval from
about the toga button to the point at which the hair braid meets the
oval is solid and complete. Again, this is a weak,  typical
example of the Type III, yet the inner portrait oval line is stronger
than the Type IV at right.
The outline of the inner portrait oval from
about the toga button to the point at which the hair braid meets the
oval is weak and often incomplete.
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