1857 1¢ - #23
1¢ - Blue - Type IV
As type II except the curved lines outside the labels are recut at top, bottom or both
Perf. 15½ - Scott #23 - 1851
(with 4 margins around the design)
No postmark with gum (MH): $4,500-$9,000
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): Does not exist
Issued: July 25, 1857, earliest known cover of the same date below
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100).
Printer: Toppan, Carpenter & Co., using the flat plate process.
Quantity Issued: Unknown
Note: Because of the narrow margins, finding an example with the design complete is a challenge.
What you should look for
The design on the bottom and top are incomplete in that the very tips of the balls and plumes have been burnished off. The outer frame line at the top and bottom are always complete, BUT has been recut at the top and/or the bottom to make them complete. The inner frame line at the top and/or bottom has sometimes been recut as well..
Click here for a comprehensive, printable, identfication guide. Courtesy of Chris Biason (447kb)
The Inspiration for the Design
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.