2c 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 are two hand stamps, "C.A.S." and "SS&CCO" (Scott Stamp and Catalog Company). Markings on the reverse offer evidence of when, where, and by whom these stamps were purchased.
The postmaster reported that 173 sheets (69,200 stamps) of 2-cent carmine stamps had been rouletted. The earliest recorded use of the 2-cent value is November 25, 1914. This block of six is from plate #6491.