1851 10¢ - #13
10¢ - Green, dark green or yellowish green - Type I
Shells at lower corners nearly complete, bottom line almost complete.
Outer line broken, middle of top label
500,000 - Imperf - Scott #13 - 1855
Deduct 40% for pen cancels for three margins, deduct 40% of three margins,
60% for two margins and for no margins deduct 80%
(with 4 margins around the design)
No postmark with gum (MH): $3,500-$7,750
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): Does not exist
Date of Issue: May, 1855
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100). Only one plate was used, plate #1.
Printer: Toppan, Carpenter, Casilier & Co. using the die-to-relief-to-plate transfer process.
Quantity Issued: 500,000
Use: The Letter Rate for distances greater than 3,000 and under ½ oz was 10¢, the domestic rate for letters over ½ oz. Because of this the 10¢ stamp was relatively common. Not only used for foreign mail, it was used for coast to coast mail when the rate for the latter was raised from 6¢ to 10¢ in 1855.
What you should look for
All the ten cent stamps were printed from just one plate, plate #1.
Click the chart above for a full scale chart of the plate positions
As from the chart supplied with this website , #13 or Type I stamps (also known as 'relief C' stamps) came from the bottom row of plate 1. Therefore it follow that one in ten 10¢ stamps you come across will be type I.
The stamps come in a whole range of greens, ranging from light green to dark green. The darker the shade of green, the more desirable.
The 10¢ value was printed with wider spaces between the stamps than the 1¢, 3¢ and 5¢ values, consequently copies with less than four margins are sold at a heavy discount.
Because this stamp was used mainly for foreign mail expect to see quite a few red transit cancels. West coast cancels are rare and add a price premium. Grid and circular date cancels are the most common, with the Boston grid 'PAID' cancel. New York and New Orleans cancels being the most prevelant of these.
A rare fancy cancel
The Inspiration for the Design
Perhaps the most famous portrait in the US, probably due to the fact that it's presence graces the front of the $1 bill, this portrait was in fact unfinished at the time of Gilbert's death in 1828. It now hangs in the Boston Museum of Fine Art (Gilbert was one of Boston's more famous sons).
Varieties to look for
I have been unable to find a large image of position #99L showing the detail of the left X, however close examination will reveal a printing flaw, resembling a curl in the left X. This is the only variety of type I (#13).
The Essay's and Proofs
Time has left us with just three essays of the 10¢, none of which have I seen come up for auction in the last thirty years. I do have an image of a rare trial proof, seen below.