1847us Home Page
Home     ·     Literature

All of 1847us
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 · Type III Toga Button · 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" · Type III "P" and "O" of "POSTAGE" · 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 · Type III Toga Rope · 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 · Type III Shape of Nose · 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 · Type III Oval Frame · 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.

1847us.com © 2010 All rights reserved.