Arago: 10-cent Washington

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10-cent Washington

Unlike the printings of the 5-cent 1847 stamp, the four printings of the 10-cent stamp are not academically important. There is no dispute over whether the plate was re-worked, had re-entries, or was cleaned. These actions, presumed to have been performed on the 5-cent plate, changed certain details of the 5-cent stamp's appearance. Since these did not occur on the 10-cent plate, the 10-cent deliveries are almost completely indistinguishable from one another. The range between the first delivery and the fourth delivery is very narrow and barely perceptible. The primary reason for this is the composition of the inks. The composition of the inks was likely carbon-based pigments, similar to carbon black. Unlike the pigments of the 5-cent stamp, the 10-cent inks were not abrasive. Another reason for lack of wear to the 10-cent plate is that only 1,050,000 stamps were printed. That is less than twenty-five percent of the 4,4000,000 stamps for the 5-cent stamp. If the 5-cent plate had made only 1,050,000 stamps, production would have stopped during the second delivery, leaving only excellent impressions known from the 5-cent stamp as well.

Elliott Perry plated all two hundred positions of the 10-cent stamp. He found that, because of the black ink's non-abrasive nature and its sharp contrast on the paper, the nuances of each impression rendered them virtually indistinguishable. There are four double transfers and many well-known varieties from this plate.

The 1847 issue was demonetized on July 1, 1851, replaced by new stamps and new postal rates. The contract to print the new issue was not awarded to Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson, which retained ownership of the 1847 printing plates and dies. From that point onward, all printing contracts provided for government possession of all the plates and dies. The lack of government control over the printing media, it is believed, caused the 1847 issue to be demonetized.


Additional Records
  • Overview
  • 10c Washington single
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  • 10c Washington on Burlington, IA cover
  • 10c Washington on cover
  • 10c Washington pair
  • 10c Washington sextuple rate cover
  • 10c Washington Valentine cover and enclosure
  • 10c Washington single
  • 10c Washington single
  • 10c Washington single on cover
  • 10c Washington Valentine cover
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