1851 10¢ - #15
The Value of the Stamp
10¢ - Green, dark green or yellowish green- Type III<
Top line broken at middle and above "X" at upper right and left corner.
Bottom line partly cut away.
Bottom right and left shells partly cut away
Imperf - Scott #15 - 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): $90,000
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: 2,000,000
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 , #15 or Type III stamps (also known as 'relief B' stamps) were the second most common stamps from the plate (#1).
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
An example showing a red transit mark
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 deathin 1828. It now hangs in the Boston Museum of Fine Art (Gilbert was one of Boston's more famous sons).
Varieties to look for
The Essay's and Proofs
History 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.