1857 12¢ - #36B
Outer Frame Lines noticeably uneven or broken
12¢ - Black or intense black
Outer Frame Lines noticeably uneven or broken,
sometimes partly missing
Perf. 15½ - Scott #36B - 1857
No postmark with gum (MH): $800-$2,100
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $2,500
Issued: July 30th, 185757
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100).
Printer: Toppan, Carpenter & Co., using the flat plate process.
Quantity Issued: part of the 3,000,000 #36 issued
Color: Black or gray black
The Inspiration for the Design
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.
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.