1914 1¢ Pan American (P10) #401
Vasco Núñez de Balboa
1¢ - Green or dark green
Scott #401 - 1914
No postmark with gum (MH): $6-$15
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $16-$50
Why Perf 10?
The Pacific Panama series is the only rotary press commemorative to have two different perforations. How did this come about?
In 1913 all stamps were 12 hole perforations and postal staff complained that they were hard to separate. The Post Office was
experimenting with 10 hole perforations at the time and switched to 10 hole on the Pacific Panama as part of the experiment. This let to complaints
of the stamps tearing too easily when seperating, it turns out 11 hole perforation is perfect. It is worth noting that the Post Office
did not announce this change, and most stamp collectors did not realize a change had taken place, as a result few 10 hole perforation were collected and survive.
The Essay's and Proofs
Designer's model, wash frame
Mounted on thick card
Large die proof before background shading has been engraved
Die sunk on 152x202mm card
Large die proof after background shading has been engraved
Die sunk on 152x202mm card
The Panama Pacific Exposition
The stamp was designed in anticipation of the upcoming Panama Pacific Exhibtion, held in 1915 in San Francisco.
The Expo was named the Panama Pacific Exposition ostensibly to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal and the 400th
anniversary of the discovery of the Pacific by Vasco Núñez de Balboa.
The primary purpose of the exposition was to show the world that San Francisco was back in business after the 1906 earthquake.
The 1c stamp was issued on December 26th, 1912, part of a set of four.
The city went overboard with exposition, and was to be, in relative terms, one of the most expensive and profitable in history.
The Tower of Jewels
Encrusted with over 100,000 Novagems to make it sparkle in the sunlight
and at night by spotlight
Before demolition the jewels were removed from the tower and
sold to the public, boxed, at $1 each
The exposition was a commercial success and as result efforts were made to save as
much as possible, unfortunately most of the buildings were temporary in nature, including
the tower. Furthermore almost all the Expo was on leased land and the owners expected to have their land back.
Much of the exposition was built of plaster and wood. The Palace of Fine Arts
was left to decay by the lagoon, only to be demolished in 1930, since then four replica's
have been built in its place.
The Palace of Fine Arts as it looks today
The Palace of Fine Arts as it looked then
A 1915 photograph of the Palace of Fine Arts
The Palace of Fine Arts is seen to the left of the Exposition and the Tower of Jewels in the center.
It was two and half miles in length.
The Exposition lit at night
An Exposition cancel on a cover from the Exposition
A quarter sheet or one pane (70 stamps) of #401