Informed Inspections Enable much better Collecting Decisions

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

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All inquirers hope they have actually the next huge find of among the very an useful versions that this tiny 1¢ stamp, which have the right to sell because that prices in the low 6 figures. It’s a reality that there are unidentified rarities at big in the albums and also stock books of the world, however it’s also a truth that actual rarities are rare due to the fact that there are few of them. Needless to say, most of those trying to find a big payday in reality have common

In this column, we will help you review these 1¢ Franklin, to permit you to recognize whether your is worth having actually certified. The chart at the bottom the the web page will administer some comparisons come be created narrowing your 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 green specks the ink, the rubber stamp is a flat plate printing and also therefore is Scott 552, the unwatermarked 1¢ Franklin approve January 17, 1923. The most usual of all the “penny Franklin”, much more than 4 billion that these were issued. An instance is displayed in Figure 1.

Figure 2 reflects the horizontal and vertical coil, Scott 597 and Scott 604. This arenot the expensive execution of this denomination, so friend can remove coil at this suggest ...

Figure 1. The most common of the 1¢ green Franklin is this flat plate-printed unwatermarked perf 11 definitive issued top top January 17, 1923 – Scott 552.


Figure 2. The horizontal and vertical 1¢ green Benjamin Franklin coil, Scott 597 and also Scott 604, space not the expensive execution of this denomination, so friend can eliminate them from your search for rarities.
Figure 3. If the perfs measure 11 through 10½, your 1-cent Franklin is this common rotary press-printed stamp created in 1927, Scott 632.

It’s time to measure perforations, and also please perform your ideal to measure up them there is no expectations. Confuse perforations that gauge 10½ for genuine gauge 11 perfs can set off such a thrill as to cloud the mental of collectors and also befuddle even the best of us.

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

If girlfriend still have a rubber stamp or 2 in the to run at this point, as the brother say, “Steady on!” (That’s the Queen’s English for “Calm down!”) However, if the perforations do undoubtedly measure 11 top top all four sides, that have to lead girlfriend to turn at last to checking the size of the stamp’s printed design.

An easy and also reliable method to execute that is to uncover a copy of the very first stamp we eliminated, the unwatermarked flat plate-printed Franklin (Scott 552), and carefully cut a square out of each edge of the design. This will leave you through a cross-shaped checking guide (Figure 4) the you can use to detect the size of any other of this 1¢ Franklin, choose the one displayed next come it below.



Figure 4. To create a trustworthy checking overview for rarities, make particular you have a copy that the an initial stamp we eliminated, that unwatermarked level plate-printed perf 11 1c green Franklin (Scott 552), and also cut square the 4 corners that the an initial stamp as displayed here. Then acquire a plausible test subject − this unidentified rotating press-printed 1c eco-friendly Franklin.


Figure 5. Hold the checking guide straight over the 1-cent Franklin you wish to inspect so the the external framelines of the two align. The check guide’s framelines will certainly be much shorter in one dimension, as checked out horizontally here. This is not among the perf 11 rotating press-printed Franklins, Scott 594 and also 596, but a 1923 stamp from coil waste perforated 11 by 10, Scott 578.

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

Because level plates had to be carefully bent in order to fit snugly top top a rotating press, they came to be slightly much longer in the direction in i beg your pardon they to be bent, i m sorry is why the inked images of published from such plates are slightly much longer in the direction in i m sorry its plates to be bent.

Figure 5 mirrors the flat plate-printed overview laid throughout the rotary press-printed test topic from Figure 4 so that the external framelines that the 2 align. The checking guide’s framelines will certainly be shorter in one dimension, as watched horizontally here. This is not among the perf 11 rotary press-printed Franklins, Scott 594 and also 596, yet a 1923 rubber stamp from coil waste perforated 11 by 10, Scott 578. It’s no retirement-worthy rarity, but it’s no a rubber stamp to it is in sniffed at either, cataloging $75.

Figure 6. The distinction in the size of the designs between a flat plate-printed and also rotary press-printed 1¢ Franklin is ¼ millimeter. That’s about the same as the broad of the foot that the pillars that the Lincoln Memorial top top a pre-2008 Lincoln penny choose this one.

Since a quarter of a millimeter might be what decides whether her stamp has stupendous value, you must use a measuring device that will certainly be an exact enough come render a clear reading of that really tiny distance.

How small is it? A quarter-millimeter is 0.00984 of one inch. If you can’t easily measure that, you can use one more 1-cent guide: the foot the the pillars of the Lincoln Memorial top top a pre-2008 Lincoln penny, displayed in Figure 6. The is around the broad of the distinction in architecture between a very few rare and the really many common 1¢ eco-friendly Franklin

A digital microscopic lense with a millimeter scale may administer that accuracy, as would certainly a digital or electronic caliper or slide millimeter gauge. Job-related slowly and carefully and for quality sake, avoid sharp edges. The pleasure of finding a valuable gem will certainly be no consolation if you discover that friend just reduced a gash in it.

If, after all this, you efficiently narrow the selections of what one of your could be to among the an important varieties, climate you should certainly consider having it authenticated by APEX.

Note the we have not pointed out in this column how fakers may try to transform these, causing a “this looks like Scott 596” stamp. Us let the experts make the call on through such alterations.

What Benjamin Franklin actually wrote in his 1758 Almanac was “A penny conserved is a penny got.” yet precisely the ideal 1¢ Franklin offered for $190,000, Kansas City precancel and also all, in ~ the Siegel Galleries in brand-new York City in 2018.

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Note: column revised as of February 2020.

This column is featured on page 1166 that the December 2018 concern of The American Philatelist. APS members might view the entire worry online. The monthly magazine is just one that the plenty of benefits of member in the American Philatelic Society. Learn much more and come to be a member today: