U.S. #639a- Horizontal Imperf Pair
1926-28 Rotary Stamps
7¢ William McKinley
First Day of Issue: March 24, 1927
First City: Washington, D.C.
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforation: 11 x 10 ½
The portrait of William McKinley on U.S. #639 is based on a photograph by New York photographer George Rockwood. The image of the 25th president became his official portrait for use at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
Perfecting Perforations on Rotary Stamps
When the Bureau began printing sheets on the rotary press, they found 11 gauge perforations were too fine, causing the stamps to separate prematurely. This resulted in the perforations being changed back to 10 gauge perforations, which had first been used in 1915. Once again, objections were raised, and the Bureau began looking for a way to perforate the stamps so they were strong enough to resist premature separation, yet fine enough to be separated without difficulty. The solution was found in a compromise that resulted in a new perforation – the 10 1/2 gauge.
This perforation seemed to please everyone and was adopted as the new standard for rotary press sheets. In the words of Linn’s author Gary Griffith, the 1926-28 Compound Perforation rotary stamps represent “if not perfection, then at least a high degree of achievement...”
Prior to taking the nation’s highest office, William McKinley served as Governor of Ohio and introduced the McKinley Tariff of 1890, which set a specific rate for U.S. imports. While this provided protection to manufacturing workers, it drove up the prices of farm equipment for farmers.
In 1896, McKinley became the last Civil War veteran to be elected President, as well as the last president to serve in the 19th century and the first to serve in the 20th century. His term was one of prosperity following the disastrous Panic of 1893, establishing gold as the basis of American currency. His demands that Spain end its violence in Cuba led to the Spanish-American War, which America won in under four months. As a result, the U.S. acquired the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam. McKinley later allowed the Republic of Hawaii to join the U.S., making its residents American citizens.
McKinley was re-elected in 190,0 but was assassinated by anarchist Leon Czolgosz in 1901.