Private Perforations on U.S. Stamps

Private Perforations on U.S. Vending and Affixing Machine Coil Stamps 1907-1927

The following is a listing of all known private perforation types found on each Bureau issued imperforate stamp. Illustrated are individual imperforate stamps.
The perforations were in general applied to strips or sheets of these stamps, not individual stamps. The links above are to illustrations of each private perforation
type. This site presents a broad overview and quick reference for the privately perforated coils. For a comprehensive reference, buy the recently published book, Steven Belasco’s “Guide to United States Vending and Affixing Machine Perforations 1907-1927”.

1906-1908 Imperforate from the Designs of the Series of 1902 – Flat Plate

1¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 314
Schermack I with 6, 7 or 8 holes
Schermack II, III – USAV Ia, Ib, II, III
Brinkerhoff I, II, IIa, IIb
2¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 320
Schermack I (6, 7 or 8) – USAV Ia,Ib,II,III
Schermack II, III – Mailometer I, Ia, II, III, IV
Int’l Vending Machine – Brinkerhoff I, II, IIa, IIb
4¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 314A*
Schermack: III only – *Courtesy Siegel 968B
unknown without Schermack III perforations
5¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 315
Schermack I (8 holes)
Schermack II, III
USAV Ia, II, III

1908-1910 Imperforate Flat Plate Double-line Watermarked Washington-Franklins

1¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 343
Schermack I (8),II,III – USAV Ia,Ib,II,III
Farwell 4A4, 4B4 – Brinkerhoff I,II,IIa,IIb
Mailometer I, Ia, II, III, IV – Attleboro I
2¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 344
Schermack I (8),II,III – USAV Ia,Ib,II,III
Farwell 4A4, 4B4 – Brinkerhoff I,II,IIa,IIb
Mailometer I, Ia, II, III, IV – Attleboro I
3¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 345
Schermack I (8),II,III – USAV Ia,Ib,II,III
Mailometer I, Ia, II, III, IV
Brinkerhoff I, II, IIa, IIb
4¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 346
Schermack I (8),II,III – USAV Ia,Ib,II,III
Mailometer I, Ia, II, III, IV
Brinkerhoff I, II, IIa, IIb
5¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 347
Schermack I (8),II,III – USAV Ia,Ib,II,III
Mailometer I, Ia, II, III, IV
Brinkerhoff I, II, IIa, IIb

1909 Flat Plate Imperforate Commemoratives

2¢ Lincoln – Cat. # 368
Schermack I with 6, 7 or 8 holes – Schermack II, III
USAV Ia, Ib, II, III – Farwell 4A4, 4B4
Mailometer Ia, II, III, IV – Brinkerhoff I, II, IIa, IIb
2¢ Alaska-Yukon – Cat. # 371
Schermack III – Mailometer Ia, II, III, IV
Attleboro I vertical perforations
USAV Ia, Ib, II, III – Brinkerhoff I, II, IIa
2¢ Hudson Fulton – Cat. # 373
Schermack III – Mailometer Ia, II, III, IV
USAV II, III – Brinkerhoff II

1910-1912 Imperforate Flat Plate Single-line Watermarked Washington-Franklins

1¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 383
Schermack II, III – Mailometer I, Ia, II, IV, V
Farwell 2B3, 3A2, 3B4, 4B3, 4A4, 4B4, 4A5
USAV Ia, Ib, II, III – Brinkerhoff I, II, IIa, IIb
2¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 384
Schermack II, III – Mailometer I, Ia, II, IV, V
Farwell I,2A3,2B3,3A2,3B2,3B4,4B3,4A4,4B4,4A5
USAV Ia, Ib, II, III – Brinkerhoff II, IIa, IIb
1¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 408
Schermack III – Mailometer Ia, IV
Farwell 4A4, 4B4, 4A5, 5A4
USAV Ia, Ib, II, III – Brinkerhoff I, II, IIa, IIb
2¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 409
Schermack III – Mailometer Ia, IV
Farwell 4A4, 4B4, 4A5, 5A4
USAV Ia, Ib, II, III – Brinkerhoff I, II, IIa, IIb

1916-1917 Imperforate Flat Plate Unwatermarked Washington-Franklins

1¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 481
Schermack III
2¢ Type I – Cat. # 482
Schermack III – Mailometer IV
Farwell 4A4, 4B4
2¢ Type Ia – Cat. # 482A
Courtesy 2009 Siegel Rarities
Schermack III
3¢ Type I – Cat. # 483
Schermack III – Mailometer IV
3¢ Type II – Cat. # 484
Schermack III

1918-1919 Offset Imperforate Washington-Franklins

1¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 531
Schermack III
2¢ Type IV – Cat. # 532
Schermack III
2¢ Type V – Cat. # 533
Schermack III
2¢ Type Va – Cat. # 534
Schermack III
2¢ Type VI – Cat. # 534A
Schermack III
2¢ Type VII – Cat. # 534B
Schermack III
3¢ Type IV – Cat. # 535
Schermack III

1923-1925 Flat Plate Imperforates – Series of 1922

1¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 575
Schermack III
1½¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 576
Schermack III
2¢ Imperforate – Cat. # 577
Schermack III
2¢ Black Harding
Schermack III

1914 and 1926 Rotary Imperforates

2¢ Rotary – Cat. # 459 1½¢ Harding – Cat. # 631

Somewhere between six and nine genuine examples of the 2¢ rotary stamp of 1912 are known with USAV III perforations. It is generally thought that these were perforated for collectors and not part of the normal
USAV production.

This stamp was issued for the Mailometer Company but the gutters between the panes of stamps were 6mm wider than the gutters on the flat plate sheets, and these rotary sheets did not register properly in the Mailometer machines. Rather than retool their machines, all or nearly all of these sheets were returned. There are no genuine examples of this stamp with Schermack type III perforations known.

Private Perforations Applied to U.S. Government Issued Stamps

The Attleboro type I perforation runs across the entire margin separated by two narrow 1.1mm to 1.3mm strips. The central oblong/rectangular hole is 13mm wide by 1.5 to 1.8mm high with a V-shaped notch at top. Only three issues of U.S. stamps are known with this perforation, the double-line watermarked 1908 1¢ and 2¢ stamps, Cat. # 343 and 344, with horizontal perforations and the 1909 double-line watermarked 2¢ Alaska-Yukon commemorative, Cat. # 371, with vertical perforations.

Attleboro Perfs on Washington-Franklins
Cat. # 343, 344 Horizontal Perforations
Attleboro Perfs on the Alaska-Yukon
Cat. # 371 Vertical Perforations

Brinkerhoff Perforations 1909-1916

The Brinkerhoff Company originally produced their coil stamps in Sedalia, Missouri, and received licenses to operate their machines in Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico.

It is not certain in which cities Brinkerhoff had offices, but in 1909 an office in Denver was listed in the city directory. In 1910 the company moved from Sedalia to Lyons, Iowa. The company operated under a variety of names, including at least the following: the “Nebraska-Iowa Stamp Vending Company”, “Brinkerhoff Stamp Vendor”, “Postal Vending Manufacturing Co.” and possibly the “Tri-State Stamp Vending Company”.

The type I stamps have four 1.8mm in diameter holes uniformly spaced 3.2mm apart and no slits. All of the type II stamps have two larger 2.3mm diameter holes spaced 12.2mm apart and an overall length of 16.8mm. The type II have no slits, the type IIa have one long slit (about 9.7mm) between the holes and two shorter slits outside the holes, and the type IIb have two shorter slits (2.5-3mmm) between the holes and two short slits outside the holes.

The holes on all of the Brinkerhoff stamps were applied to vertical strips of stamps prior to being placed in the vending machines. The slits were added in the vending process to aide the separation of stamps from the vending machine.

Brinkerhoff Type I

314,320,320a,343,344,345,346,347
368,371,383,408,409
Brinkerhoff Type II

314,320,320a,343,344,345,346,347
368,371,373,383,384,408,409
Brinkerhoff Type IIa

314,320,320a,343,344,345,346,347
368,371,383,384,408,409
Brinkerhoff Type IIb

314,320a,343,344,345,346,347
368,383,384,408,409

Farwell Perforations 1911-1917

The John V. Farwell Company was a wholesale dry goods firm operating out of Chicago. In 1908
it began using the Schermack stamp-affixing machine to handle its heavy volume of mail. By 1911 it was decided that rather than paying the Mailometer Company a 50¢ per roll surcharge for their Schermack III coils, they might be able to produce their own coils to use in the Schermack machines at a cost saving. The large number of varieties in this group reflects the amount of experimentation that went into getting the stamps to feed properly in the Schermack machine. The nomenclature for these is as follows: The first number describes the number of holes at top and the last number the number of holes at bottom. The letter in the middle describes the spacing, where “A” describes a narrow spacing and “B” a wide spacing. All holes are 1.5mm in diameter, vertically aligned and spaced a more or less consistent .5mm apart.

Farwell Group I – 6 or 7 Holes

Found on Cat. # 384
Farwell 2A3
Found on Cat. # 384
Farwell 2B3
Found on Cat. # 383, 384
Farwell 3A2
Found on Cat. # 383,384
Farwell 3B2
Found on Cat. # 384
Farwell 3B4
Found on Cat. # 383,384
Farwell 4B3
Found on Cat. # 383,384
Farwell 4A or 4A4
Cat. # 343,344,368,383,384,408,409,482
Farwell 4B or 4B4
Cat. # 343,344,368,383,384,408,409,482
Farwell 4A5
Found on Cat. # 383,384,408,409
Farwell 5A4
Found on Cat. # 408,409

International Vending Machine Company Perforations 1906-1908

The International Vending perforations are normal looking, continuous, round, generally well aligned 1mm in diameter holes with irregular spacing. They have a distinctive look with a variable tendency to slant from right to left as the result of having been made one row at a time using a single-stroke perforator. The proper gauge is approximately 12½ and examples that have gauge 13 perforations are not International Vending coils. According to Steven Belasco, there are no known genuine examples of the 1908-1909 imperforate issues, Cat. # 343-347.


International Vending Machine Coil perf 12.5
Found on Cat. # 320

Mailometer Perforations 1909-1918

The Mailometer type I has holes 1.95mm in diameter spaced 1.2mm apart with a total length of 17.7mm, which distinguishes them from the type Ia perforations by the spacing, the Ia’s are 1.15mm apart with an overall length of 17.45mm. The Mailometer type II again has 1.95mm diameter holes spaced 1.15mm apart, but the holes run continuously, with typically eight holes per stamp. The Mailometer type III has continuous perforations, but they are a smaller 1.5mm in diameter and are spaced 1.5mm apart. The Mailometer type IV has five distinctively larger 2.2mm diameter holes spaced 1.1mm apart, with an overall length of 15.5mm. The Mailometer type V is a continuous perforation with 1.8mm holes spaced 1.35mm apart, with some minor variation between spacing.

Mailometer Type I (17.7mm)
320a,343,344,345,346,347,383,384
Mailometer Type IA (17.45mm)
320,320b,343,344,345,346,347
368,371,373,383,384,408,409
Mailometer Type II
320,320a,320b,343,344,345,346,347
368,371,373,383,384

Mailometer Type III
320,320a,343,344,345,346,347,368,371,373
Mailometer Type IV
320,320b,343,344,345,346,347
368,371,373,383,384,408,409,482,483
Mailometer Type V
383,384

Schermack Perforations 1907-1927

The Schermack type I perforations may have six, seven or eight small holes, approximately 1mm in diameter and spaced .7mm apart. The early examples of these perforations have ragged holes while the later examples are much cleaner and more regularly spaced. The Schermack type II perforations have six holes 1.55 mm in diameter, larger than the type I holes, with uneven spacing. The Schermack type III perforation is the most common of all the vending and affixing machine perforations, having been used for twenty years. The oblong/rectangular hyphen holes are a distinctive 4.75mm high and 1.25mm wide with 3.25mm spacing. The size and spacing is quite uniform considering the length of production, although some of the early stamps have a slightly smaller spacing between the perforations. Every flat plate imperforate stamp illustrated above is known with Schermack type III perforations.

Schermack I – 8 Holes
314,320,320a,315,343,344,345,346,347,368
Schermack I – 7 Holes
Cat. # 314,320,320a,368
Schermack I – 6 Holes
Cat. # 314,320,320a,368

Schermack II – 6 Medium-size Holes
Found on Cat. # 314,320,320a,315,343
344,345,346,347,368,383,384
Schermack Type III – Hyphen-holes
314,320,314A,315,343,344,345,346,347,368,371,373,383,384,408,409
481,482,482A,483,484,531,532,533,534,534A,534B,535,575,576,577,611

U.S. Automatic Vending Company Perforations 1907-1915

The U.S. Automatic Vending Company perforations are notable in that they were fed through the vending machines by engaging the outside edge of the stamp via the 60 degree notches illustrated. The type Ia notches were spaced 15.5mm apart on either side of the stamp’s margins with a 10.8mm slit centered between the notches. The type Ib notches were spaced 16mm apart with an 11mm slit centered between the notches. The type II notches were spaced 19.7mm apart with a 14.5mm slit centered between the notches.

The type III notches were spaced 19.7mm apart on either side of the stamp, but instead of a slit, seven approximately 1.1mm in diameter holes spaced 1.25mm apart were placed between the notches. This is equivalent to 8½ gauge perforations. The USAV type III is the only private perforation found on the rare 1914 rotary imperforate, Cat. # 459.

The first experimental coil illustrated below was made by adding notches to the ordinary perf 12 stamp, Cat. # 319. These are very easy to fake by simply cutting notches into a vertical pair of the carmine Cat. # 319. Certification is a must. The other experimental coil illustrated is somewhat similar to the type III USAV, but the perforations are 11.75 gauge Rosback.

U.S. Automatic Vending Type Ia
Cat. # 314,320 (a,b),315,343,344,345,346,347
368,371,383,384,408,409
U.S. Automatic Vending Type Ib
Found on Cat. # 314,320 (a,b),343,344,345,346,347
368,371,383,384,408,409
USAV Type II
Cat. # 314,320,320b,315,343,344,345,346,347
368,371,373,383,384,408,409

USAV Type III
Cat. # 314,320,320b,315,343,344,345,346,347, 368,371,373,383,384,408,409,459
USAV Experimental First Coil
Cat. # 319 and possibly Cat. # 300 (Miller Collection)
USAV Experimental
Rosback Perforations – Cat. # 368

Further reading:

1. Guide to United States Vending and Affixing Machine Perforations 1907-1927 – by Steven Belasco.
2. Stamp Machines and Coiled Stamps – by George P. Howard.
3. United States Coil Issues 1906-38 – by Martin A. Armstrong.
4. The Dr. Joseph Agris Gold Medal Collections of United States Coil Issues – Shreve’s Philatelic Galleries.
5. United States Postage Stamps 1902-1935 – by Max G. Johl.

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