1857 1¢ - #18
1¢ - Blue - Type I
The most complete design of all the types.
The design is complete at top, bottom and sides.
Hard to find well centered copies.
Perf. 15½ - Scott #18
(with 4 margins around the design)
No postmark with gum (MH): $5,000-$6,000
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $55,000-$7-,000
Issued: January 25th, 1861
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100).
Printer: Toppan, Carpenter, Casilier & Co. using the die-to-relief-to-plate transfer process.
Quantity Issued: 350,000
What you should look for
#18 is a Type I design. The design on a Type I is complete, meaning that the ornaments at the top and bottom of the frame have not trimmed by the engravers at the time. All other types of the Franklin 1¢ have a portion of the design trimmed away.
Only one plate produced the perforated Type I stamp, that being plate 12.
Notes on #18
1) There were 99 positions on plate 12 that produced Type I stamps. the other 101 positions on this plate are plate II.
Showing over-inking on #18, easily visible on the margins.
How many plates were there?
There were twelve plates of the 1¢ Franklin made, plate six was never used, probably due to it being damaged in it's creation. Most of the plates were used for both the imperforate and perforated design. Some only produced one type or the other. For instance, plate 12 produced only perforated stamps and the early state of Plate 1 produced only imperforate stamps.
The Inspiration for the Design
Varieties to look for
There are numerous double transfers on plate 12, some more prominant than others, positions 25L and 33L (shown above) are being good examples.
Wagshall refers to a cracked plate (more like a gash in the plate) but I have my doubts that this a true variety, I have seen no records of the plate position having a crack, other than Wagshalls.
Brookman refers to a curl in a P, which very much looks like a piece of fiber got into a printing, probably a unique example.
The Essay's and Proofs
How the perforated stamp came to us
When Rowland Hill designed the worlds first postage stamp, the penny black, no provision was made for separating the stamps. in 1847, six years after the introduction of the first stamp, Henry Archer submitted a two seperating machines to the British postmaster general. These machines employed lancet shaped blades, however their effect, was mixed at best. Soon after Mr Archer patented a machine which used perforation as a means of seperation, his first trials with this machine were on the Prince Consort essay, an example is seen above. The Prince Consort was Prince Albert, the design was never approved.
In October 1853 the first perforated stamps were issued in the UK using new perforating machines built by David Napier and Son Ltd, they were revenue stamps The first perforated stamps were revenue stamps issued in October 1853.
Aaron Brown, Postmaster-General 1857-59
In 1857 the new postmaster general was determined to introduce the perforation of postage stamps to the US. Perforating machines, at the cost of $3,000 were acquired by Toppan Carpenter, along with $6,000 in new plates. The machines were from England, but not from Napier, they purchased rouletting machines from William Bemrose & Sons of Derby, converting them to perforating machines. One problem is that these new machines could accommodate a relatively narrow sheet, which explains why the stamps of the 1857 series are spaced so close together. The first stamps to be perforated were the thirty cent, twenty four cent and ninety cent values.