The Stamps

The Five Cent Imperforate Stamp and Digital Forgery

Lincoln Imperf with large right margin.

I am frequently amazed at the prices realized for small margined 5-cent Lincoln imperforate stamps on eBay (and probably stamp bourses and other auction venues). The stamp known by its Scott Catalog number 315 is frequently traded on eBay at what appears to be bargain prices (click here for current eBay auctions of 315). The 2011 Scott price for an unused example (in very fine condition) is $210, and a used version is much more uncommon, commanding a price tag of $1250.

Legitimate certified copies of the used stamp are quite scarce, the price in the Scott catalog reflects this by italicizing the price for the used stamp. Comparing the imperf to its perforated counterpart (Scott 304), an unused previously hinged stamp, lists at $60 and used, a mere $2.25. Philatelists collect the imperforated stamp either as an imperforate pair or a single side/corner margined copy; thus ensuring authenticity. The perforated version does not exist in either of these states.


Unfortunately, over the past century forged copies of the imperforate stamp are plenty. Some created to deceive the collector others contrived to fill the void in a stamp album (and not intended for resale). Either way, the fakes come to market.

I decided to dig through my stamps and covers to find a sizeable margined copy of the perforated 5¢ stamp ready to digitally fake. The digital forgery could then be used to compare with other stamps encountered for sale online. If the margins of the stamp in question are smaller than my example, it may have been forged. Ultimately I spotted a beauty in my collection, a huge margined stamp on cover to Warsaw, Poland. The stamp is an upper right corner margin copy with rather large margins around the perforated sides.

Zoom view of the stamp from Poland cover.

Scanning, digitally cropping the perforations, and adding a black background, I now have a superb (in my opinion) digital Scott 315. Is this stamp worth 475 bucks? Or even eBay rates of ten to twenty times a used perforated variety? I don’t think so. It ultimately depends on what you are looking for a genuine stamp or space filler.

Cropped and black background added.

Posted by Geoff in The Stamps, 0 comments

2-cents Washington Shield Stamp (Scott #319)

319

The Bureau of Printing and Engraving reacted quickly to the public’s dislike of the original 2¢ stamp and produced a new 2¢ Washington stamp. The stronger more bold design replaced the ornate flag background with a shield and strengthened Washington’s portrait. The replacement stamp was placed into circulation in November 1903, ten months after the first 2nd Bureau Washington debacle. Like its predecessor, the Washington shield was cut into booklet panes, saw further use in the production of imperforate, and later private vending coil stamps.

Varieties [Scott number]

Common Uses:

Solo Uses:

gabon cover

Star-in-diamond machine cancel

  • 1st class letter (< 1 ounce)
  • 2nd class (< 8 oz newspaper or magazine)
  • 3rd class (< 4 oz printed matter )
  • 4th class (< 2 oz samples or merchandise)

Favorite Covers:

Posted by Geoff in The Stamps, 0 comments

5-dollars Marshall Stamp (Scott #313)

313

Common to large denominations, the 5$ Marshall stamp found use on parcels. Uses on cover are difficult to find and solo uses do not exist. This stamp was issued on June 5, 1903.

Varieties [Scott number]

  • Single [313]
  • Philippines overprint [239]

Typical Uses:

  • Registered mail
  • Parcels
  • Heavy international letters

Other Info:

Posted by Geoff in The Stamps, 0 comments

2-dollars Madison Stamp (Scott #312)

Scott 312 used block

Common to most large denominations, the 2$ James Madison stamp found use on parcels. Uses on cover are difficult to find and solo uses are rare with only two recorded both to Palestine. This stamp was issued on June 5, 1903.

Varieties [Scott number]

  • Single [312]
  • Philippines overprint [238]

Common Uses:

  • Registered mail
  • Parcels
  • Heavy international letters

Solo Uses:

  • Philatelic

Other Info:

Posted by Geoff in The Stamps, 0 comments

1-dollar Farragut Stamp (Scott #311)

311

Common to most large denominations, the 1$ Farragut stamp found use on heavy letters and parcels. Uses on cover are difficult to find and solo uses are rare. This stamp was issued on June 5, 1903.

Varieties [Scott number]

Common Uses:

Solo Uses:

  • 20 times UPU 5¢ foreign letter rate.
  • 50 times domestic 2¢ rate.
$1 bank tag

Solo $1 use on a bank tag.

Posted by Geoff in The Stamps, 0 comments

50-cents Jefferson Stamp (Scott #310)

310

Common to most large denominations, the 50¢ Thomas Jefferson stamp found use on heavy letters and parcels. Uses on cover are difficult to find. The stamp was issued on March 23, 1903.

Varieties [Scott number]

Common Uses:

Solo Uses:

50c stamp to germany

50¢ solo franking 

Favorite Covers:

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15-cents Clay Stamp (Scott #309)

309

The Henry Clay stamp was issued May 27, 1903, and primarily found use on registered mail, parcels, and heavy letters.

Varieties [Scott number]

Common Uses:

Solo Uses:

Favorite Covers:

hawaii to scotland

Registered from Hawaii to Scotland

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13-cents Harrison Stamp (Scott #308)

308

One of the two stamps issued in 1902 the 13¢ William Henry Harrison stamp found use on multiple rates and registered foreign destined mail. The stamp also saw use well into the 3rd bureau series (the Washington-Franklins) and was sold as late as 1911. Solo uses of the Harrison stamp are most commonly found on registered foreign destined covers.

Varieties [Scott number]

Common Uses:

Solo Use:

Registered from Puerto Rico to Italy.

Favorite Covers:

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10-cents Webster Stamp (Scott #307)

307

The 10¢ Webster stamp was issued in February 1903 and found use on registered and special delivery letters, multiple rates, and two times the UPU rate (pre-Oct. 1, 1907) of 5¢ per ounce.

Varieties [Scott number]

Common Uses:

Solo Uses:

azores

Registered to Turkey

Favorite Covers:

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8-cents Martha Washington Stamp (Scott #306)

306

The 8¢ Martha Washington stamp was the first US definitive or commemorative stamp to feature a woman. One of two 2nd Bureau stamps issued in November 1902, the 8¢ stamp primarily sought use on domestic registered letters. Solo frankings are uncommon but can be found on four times the 1st class 2¢ / ounce rate and the two ounce UPU rate (after October 1, 1907, the UPU rate changed to 5¢ for the first ounce and 3¢ for each additional ounce).

Varieties [Scott number]

Common Uses:

Solo Uses:

Favorite Covers:

Posted by Geoff in The Stamps, 0 comments