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1851 12¢ - #17

The value of the stamps Statistics and facts about the stamp
what you should look for how the stamp was made
Varieties of the stamp the making of the stamp

The Value of the Stamp


10¢ - Black, intense black or gray black
2,500,000 - Imperf - Scott #17 - 1851
Pairs are common

Deduct 40% for pen cancels for three margins, deduct 40% of three margins,
60% for two margins and for no margins deduct 80%

Value

(with 4 margins around the design)
Used: $60-$175
No postmark with gum (MH): $1,350-$3,000
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $19,000


10¢ - Black, intense black or gray black
Diagonal Bisect - Scott #17a - 1851
Auction - 10: $1,800-$5,000
Auction - 2012: $3,000


10¢ - Black, intense black or gray black
Vertical Bisect - Scott #17b - 1851
Auction - 2012: $6,250

Statistics

Date of Issue: July 1st, 1851

Earliest Known Date of Use:
August 4th, 1851

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.

Watermark: None

Quantity Issued: 2,500,000

Use: Pairs are very common as this stamp was used to pay the 24¢ treaty rate to the England. Bisects were accepted for use by the San Francisco postmaster as the 6¢ paid rate.

17 UK treaty rate cover 1855 Scotts - US Postage Stamps
A cover showing use of the 24¢ treaty rate


What you should look for

Multiples greater than a pair

17 multiple Scotts - US Postage Stamps

Only one of three covers with a block of four or greater attached

Although pairs are common, blocks of four or more are scarce and command a price premium way in excess of two pairs.

All the twelve cent stamps were printed from just one plate, plate #1.

MARGINS

When trying to obtain four margin copies in the 1851 series it is a lot more difficult on this issue. The margins on this stamp are ony 1mm wide

17  multiple Scotts - US Postage Stamps
This multiple demonstrates how
narrow the margins on #17 are

The Inspiration for the Design

gilbert stuart george washington portrait

George Washington 1743-1826
painted by Gilbert Stuart 1755-1799
Known as the The Athenaeum it was painted in 1796 by Gilbert Stuart

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).

The Albert G. Durand engraving

The 12¢ portrait of George Washington differs slightly from the 10¢ portrait as it was based off Durand's engraving and not the original painting. The result was a more clearly defined portrait, this despite the fact that the 10¢ was designed after the 10¢. The 10¢ portrait is more faithful to the original, keeping more of the 'wood teeth' smile that Gilbert captured so well.

Varieties to look for

Part-India Paper

17 India Paper Scotts - US Postage Stamps
Usualy with a Philadelphia CDS
the thin paper variety was made of
india paper, the same as used on the
proof.

PRINTED ON REVERSE

17 reverse printing US Postage Stamps 1855

There are a few examples where
the stamp is printed on both sides.
Brookman states there are only four examples.

Trial copies came from plate 3, which was never put into producing stamps for postal use.

Although there are numerous recuts (nearly every position had the outer lines recut), double transfers and flaws on #17, they do not command much interest and as such are rarely featured in auctions, nor do the varieties command much of a price premium.

Having said this position 27R1 deserves, in my opinion a special mention as the double transfer is quite pronounced.

The Essay's and Proofs

17-E2
17 E2
Die Essay

17 US stamp proof
17 P1
Small Die Proof

17 Specimen US stamp

#17 Specimen Overprint

1851 US Postage Stamps 5 US 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 5A 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 6 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 6b 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 7 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 8 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 8A 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 9 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 1851 US Postage Stamp Essays