Informed Inspections Enable better Collecting Decisions

One of the starkest examples of magazine value distinctions for a typical U.S. Stamp architecture is for the plenty of 1¢ Benjamin Franklin issued beginning in 1923 (design A155 in the Scott devoted Catalogue the United says & Covers). In 2018 alone, we have had virtually 300 inquiries around the this design, even if it is by email, phone, fast ID, or in formal submissions made to the American Philatelic Expertizing service (APEX) for authentication (Note: fast ID is no longer an APS service).

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All inquirers expect they have actually the next large find of one of the very valuable versions of this tiny 1¢ stamp, which can sell for prices in the low 6 figures. It’s a truth that there space unidentified rarities at large in the albums and stock books of the world, yet it’s additionally a reality that real rarities room rare due to the fact that there are few of them. Needless to say, many of those searching for a big payday actually have typical

In this column, us will help you review these 1¢ Franklin, to allow you to determine whether your is worth having certified. The graph at the bottom the the page will provide some comparisons to be produced narrowing her possibilities:

One Cent Ben Franklin

The first inspection you need to make is to look at the back of the stamp. If there are any type of green specks of ink, the rubber stamp is a flat plate printing and also therefore is Scott 552, the unwatermarked 1¢ Franklin issued January 17, 1923. The most typical of every the “penny Franklin”, much more than 4 billion of these to be issued. An instance is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 2 shows the horizontal and vertical coil, Scott 597 and Scott 604. These arenot the expensive execution of this denomination, so friend can eliminate coil in ~ this allude ...

Figure 1. The most usual of the 1¢ eco-friendly Franklin is this flat plate-printed unwatermarked perf 11 critical issued top top January 17, 1923 – Scott 552.


Figure 2. The horizontal and vertical 1¢ environment-friendly Benjamin Franklin coil, Scott 597 and Scott 604, space not the expensive versions of this denomination, so you can get rid of them from your search for rarities.
Figure 3. If the perfs measure up 11 through 10½, her 1-cent Franklin is this common rotary press-printed stamp developed in 1927, Scott 632.

It’s time to measure up perforations, and please carry out your best to measure them there is no expectations. Confuse perforations that gauge 10½ for genuine gauge 11 perfs can collection off together a thrill as to cloud the psychic of collectors and befuddle even the finest of us.

If the perforation dimensions are gauge 11 by 10½, walk no further: her stamp is Scott 632, a common rotary press-printed stamp developed in 1927, presented in Figure 3.

If girlfriend still have a stamp or two in the to run at this point, together the brother say, “Steady on!” (That’s the Queen’s English because that “Calm down!”) However, if the perforations do certainly measure 11 ~ above all four sides, that have to lead girlfriend to rotate at critical to check the size of the stamp’s printed design.

An easy and also reliable method to do that is to uncover a copy the the first stamp us eliminated, the unwatermarked level plate-printed Franklin (Scott 552), and also carefully cut a square the end of each edge of the design. This will leave you with a cross-shaped checking overview (Figure 4) that you have the right to use to detect the dimensions of any kind of other of these 1¢ Franklin, prefer the one displayed next to it below.



Figure 4. To develop a dependable checking guide for rarities, make particular you have actually a copy that the very first stamp us eliminated, that unwatermarked level plate-printed perf 11 1c environment-friendly Franklin (Scott 552), and cut square the four corners that the an initial stamp as shown here. Then gain a plausible test topic − this unidentified rotating press-printed 1c green Franklin.


Figure 5. Hold the checking guide straight over the 1-cent Franklin you great to examine so the the external framelines of the two align. The check guide’s framelines will certainly be shorter in one dimension, as seen horizontally here. This is not one of the perf 11 rotating press-printed Franklins, Scott 594 and also 596, yet a 1923 rubber stamp from coil garbage perforated 11 through 10, Scott 578.

Lay the cross-shaped checking overview over any type of other the the same style you have that space not flat-plate printed. The graph will offer you the dimensional parameters to small the possibilities for the rubber stamp you are checking.

Because level plates had actually to be closely bent in order come fit snugly top top a rotating press, they ended up being slightly longer in the direction in i beg your pardon they were bent, i beg your pardon is why the inked pictures of published from such plates room slightly much longer in the direction in which its plates were bent.

Figure 5 reflects the level plate-printed overview laid throughout the rotating press-printed test topic from Figure 4 so that the external framelines that the 2 align. The check guide’s framelines will be much shorter in one dimension, as checked out horizontally here. This is not one of the perf 11 rotating press-printed Franklins, Scott 594 and also 596, yet a 1923 stamp from coil waste perforated 11 through 10, Scott 578. It’s no retirement-worthy rarity, however it’s not a rubber stamp to be sniffed at either, cataloging $75.

Figure 6. The distinction in the dimension of the designs in between a level plate-printed and rotary press-printed 1¢ Franklin is ¼ millimeter. That’s about the very same as the width of the foot the the pillars the the Lincoln Memorial ~ above a pre-2008 Lincoln penny favor this one.

Since a 4 minutes 1 of a millimeter might be what decides whether her stamp has stupendous value, you should use a measuring machine that will certainly be an exact enough come render a clear analysis of that very tiny distance.

How small is it? A quarter-millimeter is 0.00984 of one inch. If you can’t easily measure that, you deserve to use another 1-cent guide: the foot that the pillars of the Lincoln Memorial on a pre-2008 Lincoln penny, shown in Figure 6. The is about the broad of the difference in design between a very couple of rare and also the very many usual 1¢ eco-friendly Franklin

A digital microscope with a millimeter scale may carry out that accuracy, as would a digital or electronic caliper or slide millimeter gauge. Work-related slowly and also carefully and also for quality sake, protect against sharp edges. The joy of finding a beneficial gem will certainly be no consolation if you uncover that you just cut a gash in it.

If, after all this, you effectively narrow the choices of what among your might be to among the an important varieties, then you should definitely consider having actually it authenticated by APEX.

Note the we have actually not stated in this column how fakers may shot to transform these, causing a “this looks choose Scott 596” stamp. Us let the experts make the call on with such alterations.

What Benjamin Franklin actually created in his 1758 Almanac to be “A penny saved is a coin got.” however precisely the ideal 1¢ Franklin offered for $190,000, Kansas City precancel and all, in ~ the Siegel Galleries in brand-new York City in 2018.

See more: Which Color Has The Highest Energy ? What Are The Colors In The Visible Light Spectrum


Note: pillar revised together of February 2020.

This obelisk is featured on page 1166 that the December 2018 issue of The American Philatelist. APS members may view the entire concern online. The monthly magazine is simply one the the countless benefits of membership in the American Philatelic Society. Learn an ext and end up being a member today: