Informed Inspections Enable better Collecting Decisions

One of the starkest examples of directory value differences for a typical U.S. Stamp architecture is because that the many 1¢ Benjamin Franklin issued start in 1923 (design A155 in the Scott dedicated Catalogue that United claims & Covers). In 2018 alone, we have had practically 300 inquiries around of this design, whether by email, phone, quick ID, or in formal submissions made to the American Philatelic Expertizing organization (APEX) for authentication (Note: fast ID is no longer an APS service).

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All inquirers hope they have the next big find of one of the very an important versions that this tiny 1¢ stamp, which can sell for prices in the low six figures. It’s a reality that there are unidentified rarities at large in the albums and also stock publications of the world, but it’s additionally a truth that genuine rarities space rare due to the fact that there are few of them. Needless come say, many of those in search of a big payday actually have common

In this column, us will help you testimonial these 1¢ Franklin, to enable you to determine whether yours is worth having actually certified. The chart at the bottom that the page will administer some comparisons come be made for narrowing your possibilities:

One Cent Ben Franklin

The very first inspection you have to make is to look at the ago of the stamp. If there are any type of green specks that ink, the rubber stamp is a flat plate printing and therefore is Scott 552, the unwatermarked 1¢ Franklin authorize January 17, 1923. The most usual of all the “penny Franklin”, an ext than four billion that these were issued. An example is displayed in Figure 1.

Figure 2 shows the horizontal and also vertical coil, Scott 597 and Scott 604. This arenot the expensive version of this denomination, so you can remove coil at this suggest ...

Figure 1. The most common of the 1¢ eco-friendly Franklin is this flat plate-printed unwatermarked perf 11 critical issued ~ above January 17, 1923 – Scott 552.


Figure 2. The horizontal and vertical 1¢ eco-friendly Benjamin Franklin coil, Scott 597 and also Scott 604, space not the expensive execution of this denomination, so friend can eliminate them native your search for rarities.
Figure 3. If the perfs measure 11 by 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 do your finest to measure them without expectations. Confusing perforations the gauge 10½ for real gauge 11 perfs can collection off such a thrill regarding cloud the psychic of collectors and befuddle also the finest of us.

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

If you still have a rubber stamp or 2 in the running at this point, together the brothers say, “Steady on!” (That’s the Queen’s English because that “Calm down!”) However, if the perforations do undoubtedly measure 11 on all four sides, that have to lead friend to revolve at last to check the size of the stamp’s published design.

An easy and also reliable means to perform that is to discover a copy that the an initial stamp us eliminated, the unwatermarked level plate-printed Franklin (Scott 552), and carefully reduced a square out of each edge of the design. This will leave you v a cross-shaped checking overview (Figure 4) the you can use come detect the size of any kind of other of these 1¢ Franklin, prefer the one presented next come it below.



Figure 4. To develop a trusted checking guide for rarities, make details you have actually a copy the the first stamp us eliminated, the unwatermarked flat plate-printed perf 11 1c eco-friendly Franklin (Scott 552), and cut square the four corners of the very first stamp as displayed here. Then gain a plausible test topic − this unidentified rotating press-printed 1c environment-friendly Franklin.


Figure 5. Host the check guide directly over the 1-cent Franklin you wish to check so the the external framelines the the 2 align. The checking guide’s framelines will be shorter in one dimension, as checked out horizontally here. This is not one of the perf 11 rotary press-printed Franklins, Scott 594 and 596, however a 1923 stamp from coil rubbish perforated 11 through 10, Scott 578.

Lay the cross-shaped checking guide over any type of other of the same design you have that are not flat-plate printed. The graph will offer you the dimensional parameters to narrow the possibilities because that the stamp you space checking.

Because level plates had to be very closely bent in order to fit snugly top top a rotary press, they came to be slightly much longer in the direction in i m sorry they to be bent, i m sorry is why the inked pictures of published from such plates space slightly longer in the direction in which its plates were bent.

Figure 5 shows the flat plate-printed overview laid throughout the rotating press-printed test subject from Figure 4 so that the external framelines the the two align. The check guide’s framelines will certainly be shorter in one dimension, as checked out horizontally here. This is not one of the perf 11 rotating press-printed Franklins, Scott 594 and also 596, yet a 1923 rubber stamp from coil rubbish perforated 11 by 10, Scott 578. It’s no retirement-worthy rarity, but it’s no a stamp to it is in sniffed in ~ either, cataloging $75.

Figure 6. The distinction in the dimension of the designs in between a level plate-printed and also rotary press-printed 1¢ Franklin is ¼ millimeter. That’s around the exact same as the width of the foot of the pillars that the Lincoln Memorial ~ above a pre-2008 Lincoln penny favor this one.

Since a quarter of a millimeter may be what decides whether her stamp has actually stupendous value, you have to use a measuring maker that will be precise enough come render a clear analysis of that an extremely tiny distance.

How tiny is it? A quarter-millimeter is 0.00984 of an inch. If you can’t easily measure that, you can use one more 1-cent guide: the foot of the pillars the the Lincoln Memorial on a pre-2008 Lincoln penny, presented in Figure 6. That is around the width of the distinction in design between a very few rare and also the really many typical 1¢ environment-friendly Franklin

A digital microscopic lense with a millimeter scale may administer that accuracy, as would certainly a digital or electronic caliper or sliding millimeter gauge. Work slowly and carefully and also for quality sake, protect against sharp edges. The joy of detect a beneficial gem will certainly be no consolation if you find that friend just reduced a gash in it.

If, after all this, you effectively narrow the selections of what one of your might be to one of the beneficial varieties, climate you should certainly consider having actually it authenticated by APEX.

Note that we have actually not pointed out in this column exactly how fakers may shot to change these, resulting in a “this looks favor Scott 596” stamp. We let the experts make the speak to on with such alterations.

What Benjamin Franklin actually composed in his 1758 Almanac to be “A penny saved is a penny got.” however precisely the right 1¢ Franklin sold for $190,000, Kansas City precancel and all, in ~ the Siegel Galleries in brand-new York City in 2018.

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Note: pillar revised as of February 2020.

This shaft is featured on web page 1166 that the December 2018 issue of The American Philatelist. APS members may view the entire issue online. The monthly newspaper is just one the the many benefits of member in the American Philatelic Society. Learn more and end up being a member today: