1c Washington Kansas City Roulette bottom plate block of six
After the need for imperforate sheets of 400 of the 1912 1-cent and 2-cent Washington Franklin series in vending machines ended, Kansas City's postmaster faced a dilemma. He could return the small surplus to Washington, DC, for redemption or he could make them available to patrons over-the-counter. He decided to roulette the stamps using tracing wheels and add them to the sales stock. This created the local perforations that collectors today identify as the "Kansas City Roulettes."
Since seamstresses used this type of tool to make patterns on fabric, the tools could be easily obtained locally. Numerous varieties existed, and the postmaster purchased up to fifteen wheels. Varieties in the rouletted perforations exist due to different wheels, broken teeth in the wheels, the number of sheets perforated together, the material beneath the sheets, and the attention span of the clerk. The stamps are difficult to authenticate, and forgeries exist. On the reverse is a hand stamp — "W.D.W." — providing evidence that this buyer purchased the stamps at the Kansas City post office during the period of availability.
When the postmaster reported to Washington,DC, that 234 sheets (93,600 stamps) of 1-cent stamps had been rouletted but only 85,700 stamps had been sold, he was advised to make some available to stamp collectors in limits of one hundred stamps per patron. Stamp dealers purchased the bulk of available examples. The earliest recorded use of the 1-cent value is October 22, 1914. This block of six is from plate #6020.