1870 issue without grill impression 12¢ - #151
Printed by the National Bank Note Company
PRINTED BY THE NATIONAL BANK NOTE COMPANY
LARGE BANKNOTE ISSUE
12¢ - Violet, dull violet and dark violet
3,900,000 - Without grill - White wove paper, thin to medium thick -
Scott #151 - 1870
No postmark with gum (MH): $140-$230
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $6,500-$10,000
A certificate from stamp expertisers such as the PSE, would be required if interested in selling this issue with full perfect gum.
WHY IS THIS STAMP CALLED A LARGE BANKNOTE?
This stamp is part of what is known as the 1870-1888 'Large Banknote' issues. Large because a smaller size issue followed
these in 1890. Banknote because the stamps during this period were printed by companies whose primary business was
printing banknotes, a function now taken over by the Federal Government.
WHO WERE THE BANKNOTE COMPANIES?
There were three banknote companies who consecutively printed the large banknote series. The first was the
National Bank Note company and this stamp was printed by them. The second was the Continental Bank Note
Company, and third was the American Bank Note Company. This last company was acquired by the Federal
Government and using their machines took over the job of printing US postage stamps.
HOW DO I KNOW IF THIS STAMP WAS PRINTED BY THE
NATIONAL BANK NOTE COMPANY?
Fortunately for us each of the banknote companies used a different paper, and the difference in the paper is the clue
to identifying which Scotts number your stamp is. The National Bank Note Company paper was a high quality
white wove paper with a grayish tone to it (dirty dishwater gray). It is characterized by an even weave of not
overly calendered cotton rag fiber. It was made from bleached cotton rags and recycled paper pulp. Held to the light,
the weave exhibits none of the "chunkyness" of the later, and more highly calendered (shorter fibers),
cotton rag fibers, straw inclusions, linen, and sometimes silk threads of the Continental Bank Note papers.
This is what a grill looks like,
if you see this on the stamp refer to
the stamps listed on this page