Are You Missing These 1916-17 Washington-Franklin Stamps?
The Washington-Franklins are among the most fascinating and challenging US stamps to collect. Issued between 1908 and 1922, they encompassed over 200 varieties, five different designs, two paper types, three printing methods, at least 14 perforations, several colors, and 20 denominations.
You can come one step closer to completing your Washington-Franklin collection with this convenient set of four stamps. Each of these stamps was printed on unwatermarked paper on the flat plate press and not perforated. They were left imperforate for use by vending machine companies that added their own perforations. The set includes:
US #481 – The 1¢ Washington was commonly available and could be purchased in full sheets from the Philatelic Agency for up to 10 years after it was first issued.
US #482 – This 2¢ Imperforate Washington was printed using only a Type I die. The Type I stamp has several distinguishing features: a pronounced white line underneath Washington’s ear, and the bottom two strands of hair behind his ear are shorter than the ones above it. Other features are often less distinct than found on Type II or Type III dies.
US #483 – This stamp didn’t have a single-use purpose – until the war rate went into effect several weeks after its issue. When domestic mail rates rose from 2¢ to 3¢ on November 3, 1917 (lasting until July 1, 1919), this stamp neatly fulfilled the domestic mail rate.
The new wartime rates meant the 3¢ stamp plates would be used more heavily than before. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing was also experiencing problems with their ink for this issue. Most of the high-quality ink came from Germany, and World War I interrupted the supply. The lower quality of available ink combined with the deterioration of the Type I plates led to a decision that the plate dies would be cut deeper to prevent them from wearing out too quickly. Stamps printed before the cut were considered “Type I” – or US #483.
These Type I stamps have several distinguishing features: a pronounced white line underneath Washington’s ear, and the bottom two strands of hair behind his ear are shorter than the ones above it. Other features are often less distinct than found on Type II or Type III dies, such as the lack of detail on the toga rope and button.
US #484 – This is the Type II version of the 3¢ Washington, which began its first print run on January 10, 1918. The Type II stamps have several distinguishing features: Washington’s toga rope and button are much more sharply defined; 4 or 5 horizontal lines between Washington’s cheek and sideburn are joined (never seen on a Type I); a line on the middle of the right ribbon appears to be made of three dashes; the bottom two strands of hair behind the ear extend to the vertical strand of hair at their right. For this issue the color ranges from bright to deep violet.
Now’s your chance to lock these classic Washington-Franklins in your collection – order your convenient set today.