Series of 1857-61 3¢ Washington
Earliest Known Use: April 15,1857
Printed By: Toppan, Carpenter, & Co.
Printing Method: Flat plate
The 1857-61 issues were the first perforated U.S. stamps. Their designs were reproduced from the imperforate plates of 1851. The entire series (U.S. #18-39) is noted for having narrow margins. These resulted in the perforations cutting into the top and bottom frame lines. Type I of the 1857 3¢ Washington has four outer frame lines.
#25A is a Type II stamp. To make more room for the margins, new plates were made without the top and bottom frame lines. In addition to having no top or bottom lines, the side frame lines on the type II stamps extend beyond the top and bottom of the stamp design. This is a result of the vertical line being cut the entire length of the plate, rather for each stamp.
First Perforated U.S. Postage Stamps Introduced
When the world’s first postage stamps were released, no provision was made for separating the stamps from one another. Post office clerks and stamp users merely cut these “imperforates” apart with scissors or tore them along the edge of a metal ruler. A device was needed which would separate the stamps more easily and accurately.
In 1847, Irishman Henry Archer patented a machine that punched holes horizontally and vertically between rows of stamps. Now stamps could be separated without cutting. Perforations enabled stamps to adhere better to envelopes. He sold his invention to the British Treasury in 1853. That same year, Great Britain produced its first perforated stamps.