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Determine the Cat. # Number of Your Washington Franklin Stamp

Finally getting around to sorting out that pile of Washington Franklins?

You can determine the Cat. # number of your Washington Franklins by answering a few simple questions. In most cases you will need a perforation gauge to determine the perforation, in many others you will need to dip the stamp in watermark fluid to determine the presence and/or type of watermark, in others some thin foil to determine if the stamp was printed using the offset method, and finally you may need to compare your stamp with some examples of the types of the 2¢ and 3¢ Washington stamps to determine the type. Links to these are listed below. Many helpful images have been included to aid in your identification process.

Please click on the design that matches your Washington Franklin, keep in mind that neither the color nor the denomination are important at this time, consider the design only.


Franklin Head
Denomination in Letters
Washington Head
Denomination in Letters
Washington Head
Denomination in Numerals
Franklin Head
Denomination in Numerals
Franklin Head
Wider Frame ($2 & $5 only)

We think the easiest course of identification is as follows:
1. Determine which of the five designs  the stamp has (see the designs above).
2. Determine the denomination of the stamp, which entails simply reading the number on the stamp.
3. Determine the perforation of the stamp in the top or bottom margin.*
4. Determine the perforation of the stamp in the left or right margin.*
5. Determine the printing process: flat plate, rotary press, or offset using the helpful tips provided.
6. Determine the type of watermark if necessary.
7. Determine the type: 2¢ Types I-III · 2¢ Types IV-VII · 3¢ Types I and II · 3¢ Types III and IV

Most of the Washington Franklin Heads may be identified using only three or four of the above steps.

*For compound perforations, stamps with more than one gauge of perforations, the convention is to list the gauge of the horizontal perforations first and the vertical perforations second. For example, Cat. # 423A perf 12 x 10, is perf 12 top and bottom and perf 10 along the sides, while Cat. # 423D perf 10 x 12, is perf 10 top and bottom and perf 12 at the sides.



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