1857 3¢ - #26
No outer frame lines
3¢ - Dull Red, red, rose, claret, orange-brown, plum or brownish carmine. - Type II
No outer frame lines at the top or bottom.
The side frame lines extend beyond the top and bottom of the design.
620,000,000 - Perf. 15 ½ - Scott 26 - 1857
(with 4 margins around the design)
No postmark with gum (MH): $14-$40
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $40-$60
Issued: September 14, 1857
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100).
Printer: Toppan, Carpenter & Co., using the flat plate printing process.
Quantity Issued: 550 million, 14 times more common than #25
Color: Dull Red, red, rose, claret, orange-brown, plum or brownish carmine
Note: Because of the narrow margins, finding an example with a complete design can be a challenge. One can usually see one frame line, either at the top or bottom of the design.
#26 on cover
Varieties to look for
PLATE CRACK THROUGH THE LETTER C
The crack can be seen through the letter O in postage
Whilst not as well known as the forked lightning crack on plate 3 of the 1857 1¢, this plate crack (at upper left) does command a premium in price.
Shading in cheek. An infrequently seen plate flaw
The Inspiration for the Design
The design was based off Jean-Antoine Houdon's bust, for more detail on the bust click here.
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.
A speciman of #26