Arago: 10-cent Jefferson Davis "T-E-N"

10-cent Jefferson Davis "T-E-N"

The central motif is a portrait of Jefferson Davis, designed and line engraved by John Archer, and then transferred to a copper plate. It is a side view of Davis that bears a striking resemblance to Abraham Lincoln. Legend has it that Varina Davis (1826-1906) objected to that likeness and asked that it be discontinued. More likely, the copper plate did not wear well. There were 1,000,000 stamps printed from one two hundred-subject steel plate divided into panes of one hundred by a vertical gutter. There is no imprint. Plating is not complete. These imperforate stamps were printed on soft, porous paper of varying thickness and with colorless gum. The earliest recorded date of use is April 23, 1863. Colors vary from milky blue, blue, dark blue, opaline blue, and gray blue. The most typical use was to pay the ten-cent letter rate. Students refer to this issue as the “TEE-EE-NN” to distinguish it from the Type I and II design, with the value in numerals as opposed to being spelled out.

Additional Records