Save on America’s First 12¢ Stamps –
They’re Surprisingly Affordable...
In 1851, new US stamps were issued to replace America’s very first postage stamps. These imperforate stamps met the need for new postage rates. The 12¢ stamp was the highest denomination of that 1851-57 issue, and the first with that value in our nation’s history. An important and sought-after part of American postal history, these stamps belong in your US collection.
The 12¢ Washington Was a U.S. First
US #17 was printed by Toppan, Carpenter & Co. Only one printing plate was used to create it. Over the course of the stamp’s print run, this plate was touched up or “re-cut” by expert engraver Joseph Ives Pease, who was so skillful only small differences exist. Unlike other denominations in the Series of 1851-57, there are no type differences.
#36 – One of the First U.S. Stamps Issued with Perforations
The same plate was used to print the majority of US #36 stamps as the one used for #17. Another plate was also used, as well as a revolutionary process that would change US stamps forever – perforations.
On January 1, 1856, it became mandatory to prepay postage using postage stamps. The increase in stamp use made it obvious just how inconvenient imperforate stamps really were. Knowing stamps had been perforated in England since 1854, Postmaster General James Campbell made the decision to begin the practice in the United States. Issued around July 30, 1857, #36 was one of the very first US stamps to be perforated. It’s an important stamp from an era that is gone forever – a tiny piece of history you can hold in your hands.
Your 12¢ stamp could have been sent across the country or to England...
In 1857 it cost 3¢ to send a letter a distance under 3,000 miles within the continental United States. This 12¢ Washington could have been used to mail a double-weight letter even farther than that. However, experts say these stamps were mostly used in pairs on letters to England. That means these postally used 12¢ stamps could have traveled from coast to coast or across the Atlantic.
As you would expect with stamps this old, your 12¢ Washingtons will have one or two minor imperfections – like a slight thin or tiny tear. These minor flaws won’t detract from the beauty or collectability of these classic stamps, but they do allow you to save money off Mystic’s US Stamp Catalog price.