Series of 1912-14 1¢ Washington
Issue Date: March 1912
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Method: Flat plate
Watermark: Single line
To avoid confusion among postal clerks, officials decided to picture George Washington on all Series of 1912-14 denominations of 7¢ or lower. Denominations of 8¢ and above pictured Benjamin Franklin.
When the dies for the new series were prepared, all of them had the denominations in words and not numerals. It was pointed out, after the 1¢ and 2¢ stamps had already been issued, that this format did not conform to the Universal Postal Union’s regulations. According to their standards, the denominations were to be in numerals so they could be understood in any language. The printings for the 3¢ through $1 were held up and the plates changed to comply with U.P.U.’s guidelines. Since the one- and two-cent stamps had been released, the decision was made not to change the plates. In 1912, the denominations were finally switched to numerals.
During the years these stamps were produced, the Bureau of Printing and Engraving changed the watermarks, varied the perforations, and experimented with different types of paper. Imperforate stamps, as well as coils and booklets, were also released. The result was the printing of 175 major varieties. Although these stamps look remarkably similar, there are notable philatelic differences. The Postal Department did not regard these differences as significant, and as late as 1925, postal reports listed some issues as “Series 1908.”