1926-28 Rotary Stamps
10¢ James Monroe
First Day of Issue: February 3, 1927
First City: Washington, D.C.
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforation: 11 x 10 ½
James Monroe’s portrait on U.S. #642 is based on a painting by John Vanderlyn and had been used previously on the 3¢ Louisiana Purchase issue. This was one of the first stamps issued featuring the new compound perforations. The first was the experimental 2¢ Washington just three months before.
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...”
Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on April 28, 1758, James Monroe attended Virginia’s College of William and Mary. Immediately following graduation in 1776, Monroe became an officer in the Continental Army, where he served under General George Washington.
In 1817, Monroe ran for President against the Federalist Rufus King, whose party had all but disbanded. Monroe’s 16-3 victory over King in the Electoral College won him the presidency. Monroe began his term in office with a 15-week presidential tour through the northern states, making him the most visible sitting President. It was at this time that his presidency was referred to as “The Era of Good Feelings.”
Perhaps what Monroe is most well known for is his Monroe Doctrine, which began as a response to threats from European countries to retake control over American territories. On December 2, 1823, President Monroe addressed Congress with what would later be called the Monroe Doctrine. In his speech, Monroe declared to the other major world powers that America would no longer be accessible to European colonization. If any European country attempted to impress political influence on America, it would be seen as “dangerous to our peace and safety.” Monroe also stressed that America would stay out of European wars and internal affairs, and expect the same from them.
After more than 40 years serving the public, James Monroe and his wife retired to their estate in Loudoun County, Virginia. Deeply in debt from his years in public service, Monroe requested that the government ease his financial burden by repaying him for past services. They eventually obliged, paying him a portion of what he requested. Following his wife’s death in 1830, Monroe moved to New York City to live with his daughter Maria. On July 4, 1831, James Monroe became the third U.S. President to die on Independence Day.