1860 90¢ - #39
90¢ - Blue or deep blue
25,000 - Perf. 15½ - Scott #39 - 1860
Beware of forged cancels (certificate required)
$350-$400 with forged cancel
Only 180 used examples exist, of which approx. 40 are sound.
No postmark with gum (MH): $800-$1,100
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $40,000-$70,000
90¢ - Blue
Imperf - Scott #39a - 1860
(issued with no gum)
Earliest known use: September 11, 1860. T
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100).
Printer: Toppan, Carpenter & Co., using the flat plate process.
Quantity Issued: 24,280. Interestingly these were issued mostly in the first few months of its issue. The quarterly breakdown for 1860/61 is a follows.
Quarter ending/Number issued
There are no records for its final month of issue, July 1861, one can presume there were few issued. This pattern is unique to the 90c, all other values were almost evenly distributed over the quarters.
Color: Blue or deep blue
Almost all cancellations on this issue are counterfeit.
A 90¢ stamp was hardly ever used (only 180 certified used examples remain), on occasion it was used for courthouse documents, most often it was used in combination with other stamps to pay a higher rate, usually to a foreign destination. It was also only used for one year, according to Ashbrook the EDU was is 9/11/60, it was demonetized by in 1861 and was replaced by Scott #73.
The following cancellations stand a chance of being genuine
- Boston circular datestamp (blue)- mostly used on mail to Great Britain
There are a couple of town cancels from Virginia, however these are unique and well recorded.
There are five recorded 90¢ 1860 usages abroad:
Lastly, this stamp was most commonly canceled by pen, which takes 2/3rds of the value off. And only about one quarter of the used copies are sound.
The Inspiration for the Design
Although Brookman and many other philatelic source quote the source of the image as being the John Trumbull portrait of George Washington, I highly doubt this to be case. Lambdin painted the portrait, shown above, in 1854 based on the ealire Trumball portrait. For reference the Trumbull portrait and a detail of the portrait on the stamp are shown below.
The Essay's and Proofs
Earliest Known Use
January 26th 1861
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.