THE 1847 ISSUE – – A BRIEF SYNOPSIS
© Copyright Calvet M. Hahn 1986
The 1847 issue of United States postage stamps consists of a 5¢ brown Franklin and a 10¢ black Washington value. These were made,
pursuant to the 11th section of the act, approved 3d March, 1847, authorizing the Postmaster General to prepare postage stamps for the pre-payment of postage on letters.”
Following news of the passage of the March 3, 1847 act, a firm made up of banknote engravers and their families called Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson made a proposal to supply the stamps on March 20, 1847. It had prior stamp experience in producing the New York, provisional in 1847.
The founders were Freeman Rawdon (1804 – 1859), Neziah Wright (c1805 – c1873), George Whitfield Hatch (1804 – 1866) and Tracy R. Edson (1807 – 1881). Among other family members working for the company was Freeman’s older brother, Ralph Rawdon (1790 – 1860). The firm was formed, with its 1847 partners, in 1832 as a successor to Durand, Perkins using the name of Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Co. The ‘& Co.’ was dropped in 1835, while Edson’s name was added in 1847. (He had been with the firm since 1832 and from 1835 to 1847 headed its New Orleans branch.)
There were direct predecessor firms that go back to Peter R. Maverick in 1755. His son linked up with Asher B. Durand in 1818, while the Wright brothers (C.C. and Nezian) became involved around 1823. In 1828 Joseph Perkins (brother of the Jacob Perkins of the British Perkins, Bacon stamp printers and Jacob’s American agent) joined forming the firm of Durand, Perkins. The predecessor firm actually engraved the 1847 vignette portraits prior to its dissolution in 1831. The firm was located at 35 Merchants Exchange prior to the great New York fire of December, 1835. From 1836 through 1839 it was at 30 Wall St. and from 1840 to 1858 it was located at 48 Merchants Exchange in New York. In 1858 the firm became part of the ‘consolidation’ known as the America Bank Note co.
The March 20, 1847 proposal was to engrave steel plates without charge and to keep them in repair as well as to furnish the postoffice with stamps at the rate of 25¢ per 1,000 stamps. Both the dies and plates were to belong to, and be held for the exclusive use of, the Post Office Department. There was nothing about transfer rolls.
A second letter from the banknote company modified the initial proposals. Dated March 21st, it offered to make the stamps bi-colored for 25¢ per 1,000 or ‘in one color’ for 20¢. Next to the one color proposal this letter bears a manuscript notation. “This bid accepted.”
The company chose stock portrait dies that had been available for over a decade and which had previously been used on Michigan banknotes in 1836. The portrait dies were engraved by Asher B. Durand (1796 – 1886) when he was part of the predecessor firm. He shifted from engraving to doing portrait oils in 1835 and then to landscapes in 1840, after which he was one of the founders of the Hudson River school of artists. In 1823, Durand was engaged by Jonathan Trumbull to make an engraving of Trumbull’s signing of the Declaration. His engraving was the model used by James Smillie to make the 24¢ 1869 so Durand was responsible for three of our most important stamps although he ceased engraving by 1835! Smillie was hired by Durand to do engravings of some of his landscapes and was a partner of George W. Hatch in Hatch & Smillie in 1831, a year later.
The 1847 frame essays were wash-drawings on cardboard, probably prepared by script engraver James P. Major (1818 – 1900) who joined the Rawdon, Wright Hatch firm in 1836. The combination essay, with minor modifications, was accepted by May 25th when the contract was signed, and the order to begin to print was given June 1, 1847 and received by the printer on June 3rd. The first printing was completed by June 26th and was probably on press for 13 days. (It had taken the firm about ten days from the order to first delivery of the New York provisional.)
The stamps were printed in sheets of 200 divided into panes of 100. There were no plate numbers or marginal inscriptions. Altogether, 4.4 million 5¢ and 1.05 million 10¢ stamps were printed in five printings. Over 3.7 million 5¢ and 892,000 10¢ stamps were issued.
The stamps were demonetized July 1, 1851 when new reduced rates and a new stamp issue by a new printer were introduced. The 1847 plates and dies were officially destroyed December 12, 1851 in front of the New York postmaster. During the use period of the 1847 stamps, only 1.3% of letter mail was prepaid by stamps; the remainder went stampless, as stamps were not yet required on all letters. A number of uses of the 1847s are known after demonetization, particularly in 1851.
Proofs – Original trial color proofs of the 5¢ in scarlet and the 10¢ in yellow-green were handed down in the family of James P. Major. Six India plate proof sheets of 200 of both the 5¢ and 10¢ were also pulled (two sheets each of black, brown and orange). One of these was overprinted SPECIMEN and the other was not. Champion Stamp’s half sheet of the 5¢ and 10¢ values are from this. The original 5¢ plate proofs lack the dash across the left frame line opposite the lower left part of the ‘U’ except for position IL copies. This dash is found on all die proofs. As with 10¢ value all but the left row of the 5¢ plate proofs have a position dot in the left trefoil. No die proof has a position dot.
Apparently the original ‘wide-margin’ cross-hatched 1847 transfer rolls were used to make up new private dies circa 1858. These are the source of most if not all the 1847 die proofs known today. The original government 1847 die proofs would have very small margins, and the colors would be in the same shades as the Major proofs or the limited color selection found on the first 1851 issue proofs.
Proofs from the private dies were made up at a number of times from 1858 to the end of the century. Those made circa 1858 are on Crane & Co. banknote paper. Later ones such as the 1899 proofs are on paper from L. L. Brown Paper Co. Watermarks of 1891 and 1895 have been seen. Sample books were made in July of 1885, 1888, 1891, 1893, 1895, 1897 and 1899 in addition to the 1858 and 1879 samples. All the colored paper proofs are from printings in the 1890s, with the bluish laid paper being circa 1899.
The new 1850s private die of the 5¢ Franklin has a dot on the forehead which has been known to be removed. The die has the cross-hatching of the transfer roll. Proofs made in 1879 or later have a second dot, more difficult to remove, located about equidistant from the ‘P’, ‘O’ and ‘U’ in the upper left corner. Where the die sinkage is large enough to show, the private die proofs of the 5¢ have a clipped diagonal lower left corner. The 10¢ 1847 die proofs have a line cutting across the bottom of Washington’s stock just inside the oval which is clearly engraved. When the new private dies were made in 1858 this line was partially worn away, particularly on the hard bond paper impressions. By the 1879 printings the fine vein lines on the leaves over the ‘X’ s in particular are partially worn. By 1895, there is an ink blur 3mm tall just inside the die sinkage opposite the left X. Both the 1879 and possibly the 1858 printing shows a right margin ink blur in the margin above the ‘X’ as well as one near the cross-hatching above the stamp; both are found on the late printings.
Paper – The paper used was a bluish tinged wove rag stock produced by the Wilcox Ivy Mills, Chester, Pa. On the first printing (in June, 1847), a thin grayish paper is also known, it is similar to the 9X1 gray paper; both probably resulted from a batch of pulp being left too long in the beating vat. A tough, hard medium thick paper, that is particularly blue, is found during the 1850 printing. A whitish paper is also reported for that printing and is known on cover, so that it may be a legitimate variety. ‘Stitch watermarks’ from the web-join in the Fourdinier paper machines are occasionally seen.
Gum – The gum is usually white and very crackly with specks flaked from the surface. It is normally thin and transparent. A thicker, crackled amber colored gum is also known. This gum tends to permeate the paper and feels slick to the touch. Genuine original gum stamps are rare. A large proportion of those offered for sale actually were used, coming from uncancelled stamps found on cover. It is necessary to check to see that a pen cancel has not been removed.
Typical dextrin gum of the period is a colloid made up of nine-tenths well-burnt potato starch and one-tenth gum Arabic mixed with water. This is moderately heated and applied by a soft brush to the back of the stamp sheets which are then air dried and stacked on pallets. The degree of heat used affects the degree to which the gum shifts from white to amber or brownish.
Printing varieties – Examination shows that the plates were reentered prior to the first printing in June, 1847. In particular, framelines were strengthened. The 10¢ 1847 was successfully plated by Elliot Perry who reported his results in the Collectors Club Philatelist during 1924-26.
Perry found 212 different stamps in the plate of 200, showing that at least 12 positions had been reentered after the first printing. There are six double transfers (positions 1R, 2R, 6R, 31R, 41R and 2L) as well as other collectable varieties such as the ‘stickpin’ (52L), ‘harelip’ (57L), vertical line in the second F of OFFICE (68R). Additionally, many stamps are seen with ‘short transfers’ at the top (10 major and 15 minor types) with 67L and 93L being outstanding examples. Major scratches are found on 44R and 60R.
The 5¢ 1847 has not yet been reported as successfully plated, although rumors state it has been. There is enough material to accomplish the task with the recent discovery of a specimen sheet of the right pane and large multiples of the left pane. There are six ‘double transfers’ (A-F). The E is the ‘Mower shift’ which resulted from plate damage during or prior to the first printing. The A (80R) and B (90R) are also known on all five printings. The F is known in under a handful of copies, all from the 5th printing, while the C and D are recorded after the plate was ‘cleaned’ following the third printing. There is some evidence that they may be found on earlier printings. Some 15-20 C double transfers are currently recorded and about ten D double transfers.
The ninth vertical row of the left pane has a consistent ‘dot in S’ variety while a broken T crack (69R) was discovered in 1993 and is recorded on less than twenty examples. As the plate is apparently made from English crucible steel ‘soft’ quenched, it is less prone to cracks than the subsequent 1851 issue plates. A scratch is recorded through the S of ‘U.S.’
Some non-consistent printing process varieties include paper creases, ink spatters, over or under inking resulting from dry paper or improper ‘inking up’ are known. A ‘slip print’ from movement of the paper during the printing process is possible. There is no 10¢ double impression (The Knapp shift (23L) is now known to have had lines painted in.) A 5¢ is listed but probably does not exist.
Multiples – The largest reported multiples of the 10¢ are an unused block of six (ex-Ishikawa) and a used multiple of fourteen (ex-Bandholtz, now in the Swiss Postal Museum). The largest number of 10¢ stamps still on cover is 8 ½ stamps paying the 90¢ triple rate from Lima, Peru to Tepic, Mexico, ex-DeVoss, Ishikawa. Covers exist paying double the 40¢ West Coast rate. A specimen overprinted pane of 100 was recently discovered and is ex-Champion Stamps.
For the 5¢ value there is a plate proof pane of 100 with specimen overprint, ex-Champion Stamps, a block of 30 from the other pane that is ex-Burroughs as well as a large block from the upper left pane (unphotographed) that is not a specimen proof. The largest used block was the block of twelve stolen form the New York Public Library’s Miller collection and broken up. Now the largest unrejoined block is of eleven, ex-Hawkins.
The largest multiple still on cover is a strip of ten 5¢ on a legal cover from New York to Illinois, ex-Ishikawa. As with the New York provisionals, the New York postoffice offered the 1847 stamps cut into strips of five horizontally. Other offices may have done the same. Consequently most multiples are horizontal uses. Chronicle # 171 has an extensive list of the 5¢ multiples put together by Malcolm Brown.
Printings – There were five printings of the 1847 issue; the first four involved both 5¢ and 10¢ stamps; the last was of the 5¢ value only. The 10¢ stamps have not been distinguished by printing, although the first printing had razor-sharp impressions. Even the last 10¢ fourth printing has distinct, clear impressions as plate wear from the non-abrasive black ink was non-existent and less than 25% of the quantity of the 5¢ value were printing. The 10¢ color variations are the result of lighter or heavier inking.
Not only were far more 5¢ stamps printed to generate wear, the brown ink contained abrasive elements such as Albertite from New Brunswick or Gilsonite (used for the later brown Garfields) so plate wear did occur.
The first printing of the 5¢ is notable for clear, proof-like impressions as well as the presence of dark brown and black brown hues, including the rare, almost black ‘seal brown’, known on the very early July 9, 1847 Ishakawa cover. The second printing was ordered on May 13, 1848 and was the printing distributed to route agents on the rail lines. Typical colors are brown and pale brown. Impressions are less crisp than the first printing but still very good. The third printing was ordered March 19, 1849. It is well-known for its worn, dirty impressions. Colors include the grayish browns and worn red browns.
The fourth 5¢ printing was ordered February 14, 1850. It was made after the plate had been cleaned by an acid bath so that impressions are softer and fuzzy but clear. The 5¢ ink formulation was also changed to include chrome orange. Both the fourth and the fifth printing yield brown orange stamps which will ‘dip’ orange. The fifth and last printing was ordered December 7, 1850. This printing includes the very rare orange and the rare red orange hues. The A.B. Slater ‘orange’ was the first imported of that shade. There is also a peculiar ‘stressed’ brown orange, typically and properly sold as orange brown.
The 1847 stamps were printed on dampened paper, which had to be dried before they were gummed. After gumming they were stacked on pallets with new items added on top. This meant that a number of the 1850 covers were from printings made earlier that were distributed that year as inventories were depleted. They need to be identified by impression and shade. A detailed color study and color chart of the 5¢ 1847 is found in the Collectors Club Philatelist May-September, 1986.
Early deliveries – The first printing was completed June 26, 1847. Acting as special agent, Third Assistant Postmaster General John Marron arranged the early deliveries himself. He picked up part of the first printing in New York on June 29th and delivered 100 5¢ and 100 10¢ sheets to the New York postoffice July 1, 1847. He then went to Boston to deliver 200 5¢ and 50 10¢ sheets on the 2nd. Having spent the July 4th weekend in Massachusetts he returned to New York and picked up additional stamps before entraining for Philadelphia where 200 5¢ and 50 10¢ sheets were delivered on the 7th. He continued by train to Washington to deliver 15 5¢ and 5 10¢ sheets on the 9th. Subsequently, two deliveries were made to Baltimore on the 16th and 23rd. No other stamps were sent to postoffices until July 29th. While no July 1, 1847 cover has yet been reported (earliest is the 10¢ July 2nd cover), any cover postmarked on the delivery day of any of the first distributions might legitimately be called a first day cover due to the delivery method used. The two earliest recorded 5¢ covers so far are dated July 7th and July 9th.
By the end of November, 1847, stamps had been distributed to some 95 postoffices by the Department. These offices, in turn, ‘sub-delivered’ stamps upon request to other offices which were instructed to order their stamps from the nearest large office. This explains stamps use from towns that never received stamps from the government distribution directly.
The thirty largest offices used a total of 79.3% of all 5¢ deliveries and 83.68% of the 10¢ deliveries. As all these offices, plus a number of others, ended handstamp killers, the existence of about 25% of the used 1847 stamps with pen cancels shows how extensive the sub delivery system was, for pen cancels are basically found from the smaller offices.
Quantity – It is believed that only between three and six percent of the almost 4.6 million 1847 stamps originally issued still survive. The known percentage has been climbing up from 3% for some decades, as items become photographed and records become available. Conversely, there is an ongoing attrition process in the cover area as dealers buy ‘soaker’ covers with attractive stamps to arbitrage the difference between the value of a poor cover and a very fine stamp. The 1847 stamps have not been forged very successfully save for an excellent counterfeit of the 10¢ modeled upon a right pane spur position that was made by Jean de Sperati; however, it was printed by offset not gravure as in the originals.
There are about 15,000 surviving covers with the 5¢ stamp and about 3,500 covers with the 10¢ value, of which 5-10% are fake.
Domestic rates – Domestic rates were those of 1845-51. These were 5¢ per half-ounce up to 300 miles and 10¢ over 300 miles. Local drop letters were 2¢ and circulars 3¢ each. The single half-ounce rate for the West Coast was 40¢. About ten covers to California are known and 1-2 from there.
Double rates covered heavier letters. March 15, 1849 saw the abolishment of triple and other odd rates, leaving a double, quadruple, sextuple progression. There are under twenty combination uses of both values on a cover, and five combinations on piece. Most are domestic, and not all necessarily genuine.
Bisects were never officially authorized but they were definitely used. There are about 100 10¢ examples (including fakes). While bisect 5¢ uses are reported, none have been certified genuine. Several covers with the 5¢ overpaying the drop rate are recorded; none are recorded overpaying the circular or newspaper rates.
Postal markings – The government offered official killers to postoffices generating $300 or more in postal revenues yearly. Use begins with the New York open squared grid (known 11/7/1846); it also had a standard circle grid. These handstamps were made under contract by B.F. Chambers. The basic design for most large cities is a circled 7-bar grid; Mobile’s is one of the more distinctive because of its red paint appearance.
Not all cities used a 7-bar circled grid. Norwich, Ct. had a 4-bar grid in 1849 and a 5-bar in 1850; the Norwich & Worcester R.R. also used the 4-bar. An as yet unidentified town had a different 5-bar grid. Waukegan, Ill. had a vivid red 6-bar grid which was used there to precancel stamps. Oxford, N.Y. had an 8-bar grid while Nunda, N.Y. used a 9-bar. Hanover, N.H. used a 12-bar while Brattleboro, Vt. had a 13-bar circle grid. The Hudson River route agent had a well-known spectacular 17-bar grid. Some postmasters double struck their grids to create waffle, criss-cross or cross-hatched grids. One of the most unusual of these is made by double-striking a 3-bar circle grid that is ex-Matthies and Stollnitz, but not identified as to town.
There were other options as well. Adapting the concept of the New York square grid, Norwichtown, Ct. and Trenton, N.J. had unframed 7-bar circle grids; Trenton also had an hollow star. West Stockbridge, Ms. and Sparta, Ga. used 9-bar square grids. In additional to its typical 7-bar circle grid, Wilkesbarre, Pa. had a 5-row checkerboard grid of rectangles. The Housatonic R.R. agent had an open 6-bar rectangular grid and Corning, N.Y. had an open 8-bar rectangle grid. Aurora, N.Y. used a chamfered open 9-bar rectangle, while Keene, N.H. used an open 12-bar rectangle grid.
Brunswick, Me. used an open 11-bar oval, while Watertown, N.Y. used a vertical 10-bar oval. The Michigan Central R.R. agent had a 6-bar vertical oval grid. Northampton, Ms. used an open 7-bar oval. Both Middletown, Ct. and East Hampton, Ms. used a diamond dot grid; Pontiac, Mich. used a dotted open grid, while the Cayuga & Susquahanna R.R. had an open diamond of diamonds. Tallahassee, Fla. used a small green dotted grid. There are also the Colechester, Ct. x-roads or broken thin ‘X’ and the New Orleans black ring. A number of others are reported on stamp but not yet identified as to town, such as a blue unframed diamond, an unframed thin like 17-bar circle grid, a ‘Morse code’ unframed circle and a small framed circular grid.
In fancy killers the Binghamton herringbone is the best known, along with the St. Johnsbury, Vt. scarab. Others include the 4-ring target of Greenwich, N.Y. and Hanover, N.H. Paris, Ky. used a pinwheel and Salem, Ms. used a spiral grid. Ellicottville, N.Y. used a quartered cork with three dots in a circle in the center.
The fanciest of the rate mark killers are the Huntsville, Ala. starred 5 and 10 strikes, but the town also used a 10 in rectangle. Princeton, N.J. had rectangles as well, with both 5¢ and 10¢ values. Chicago, in addition to the standard 7-barred circle used small red cogged circles with both 5 and 10¢.
While a variety of 5 and 10¢ or V and X rates are recorded, among the scarcer numeral killers are the 1, 2, 6, 7, 12, 16, 19, 20, 21, 29, 34 and 40 rates used as killers. There are also a number of different PAID killers known with Philadelphia having a boxed item and an octagon PHILA/PAID/5. On late demonetized covers the Boston small black PAID in grid can be found. Too, some stamps are killed with a handstamp FREE or a combination FREE and PAID together.
Colored cancels – The basic cancellation ink used is red, black or blue. There are also scarcer colors such as magenta (Hartford), ultramarine (Springfield, Ms.), green (Apalachicola, Fla. And Trenton, N.J.), orange (Waukegan), brown (Newton, N.J. and Andover, Ms.), violet (found on an off-cover bulls eye) and the unusual Chicago pink.
Usages – Usages are sought by town, state and territory with items from California, Florida, Texas, Iowa and the territories and forts being rare. Also sought are auxiliary marking such as the PAID, FREE, pointing hand (Hartford, Ct.), WAY (Mobile, Ala.), R (Philadelphia registered) etc.
One major usage collecting area is transportation covers – railroad and waterway. In addition to about 200 U.S. Express Mail 1847 covers, there are some 40-50 railroad route agents with about 400-500 covers recorded in the census. The late Amos Eno put together one of the finer holdings of these. In addition to the more common waterway markings of SHIP, STEAM and STEAMBOAT, there are items with the route name or the purser markings available.
Social history use – Covers that show various parts of social history are growing in popularity. The group includes illustrated advertising covers, hotel covers, Valentines, telegraph, pre-addressed covers, mourning covers and competitive postal operations such as locals and carriers. While the selection is far less than in later years, the 1847 era is close to the birth of Valentine mailings, envelopes with ads, the founding of the telegraph and use of envelopes instead of folded letters. The era is the heyday of the locals fighting with the government for intra-city mails.
Canadian mail – About 300 covers bearing the 1847 issue are known used to Canada with about forty more used to the Maritime provinces. There are about sixty examples used from Canada and a handful showing both Canadian and U.S. adhesives.
U.S. internal rates applied for the U.S. portion of the combined rate until a uniform 10¢ (6d) rate was established in April, 1851. U.S. 1847 adhesives could pay the U.S. portion to and from Canada and in 1847 were on sale in Canada whose postmasters were also U.S. postmasters.
When Canada issued stamps on April 6, 1851, it became possible to find mixed franking covers; about 14 are recorded. It was also possible to find the combined rate paid by U.S. stamps only. There are two first day 1847 covers known on April 6th. Also rare are the covers prepaying the combined rate from Canada using only U.S. stamps. Of the six examples I record, two are condemned as fake and all but one are post-demonetization uses. A detailed study of cross-border mail in the 1847 period was published in Stamp Collector 9/16, 9/30 and 10/7/1985. The 1847s are known with several types of Canadian killers.
Mail to Europe – About 200 covers are recorded to Europe with 1847 stamps. There are about 80 to the British Isles, 50-60 to France, 30-40 to what is now Germany, 18-20 to Holland, 6 to Belgium, 3 to Switzerland and one or two to Norway, Sweden, Gibraltar and Austro-Hungarian Silicia. Some of the German examples are to what is now Poland. A restored rate cover to London and forwarded to Italy is also known.
During the 1847 issue era, usual practice was to prepay only U.S. internal postage on overseas letters, e.g. 5¢ under 300 and 10¢ over 300 miles, except from California. Letters sent via British Cunard liners were charged the British rate of 24¢ in addition, while the U.S. Ocean Line charged 24¢ from New York, adding the 5¢ or 10¢ if posted elsewhere. Until 1849 England did not accept prepayment via the Ocean Line and charged again (discriminatory rate). The U.S. retaliated in 1848 and doubled the charge on prepaid Cunard letters ( retaliatory rate). Consequently a few prepaid letters from this period are known, with a double 29¢ retaliatory rate to France (paid by 60¢ in 1847 issue stamps) being famous.
The British treaty of December 1848 introduced a uniform inland 5¢ overseas rate, except from California. Prepayment became practical with a 1¢ overpayment in stamps being typical, if they were used. Printed matter rates were 2¢ each up to 2-ounces; examples are known paid by a 5¢ 1847. Rates via England were also established prepaid for a number of destinations in Asia, Africa and elsewhere. Of the hundreds of letters to the Far East that survived up to the 20th century, only one to Canton, China is now recorded with 1847 stamps. It was a 45¢ rate letter with one 10¢ stamp having fallen off. Ocean Line mail was covered by the U.S. Bremen treaty 24¢ rate to Europe.
Latin American mail – The rate to Cuba was set at 12 ½¢ by the act of 1845 and several covers are recorded to that destination prepaid by 1847 stamps. Two covers are known to Mexico with 1847s prepaying the inland U.S. rate. Four covers are known used from Peru to Mexico, via Panama, that are prepaid with U.S. stamps. One of these is famous for having the most 10¢ 1847s on a cover today.
In July, 1850, the U.S. dispatch agent at Panama, A.B. Corwine received the first of two shipments of 1847 stamps. Three or four covers used from Panama (30¢ rate) are recorded. Corwine may have sent 1847s on down to Peru.
Judge Emerson soaked one Panama cover so that only the strip of three 10¢ stamps survives. He also soaked a second cover, ex-Seybold, that originated at Tabaga (an island off Panama) that was postmarked at San Francisco. For years this ‘lost’ cover was described as from the West Indies isle of Tobago. These vandalizations nearly cost Emerson the services of Elliott Perry, his philatelic advisor and agent.
Some covers to exotic destinations are known upon which only U.S. postage was prepaid by 1847s. Among these are covers to Brazil, Chile and China (previously noted) as well as the Kingdom of Hawaii. Other unusual destinations may exist.
Reprints: The government did not have access to the new private die when it made the 1875 official ‘reprints’ (Scott # 3, 4). The die for making these (P.O. die #88) was engraved by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and had both values on it. It was invoiced December 6, 1875 along with new plates from which 11,450 5¢ and 10,000 10¢ ‘reprints’ were printed. The two ‘reprint’ plates were destroyed June 25, 1895, along with the ‘reprint’ transfer rolls. The die still exists.
The ‘reprint’ die was used in September, 1881 to make up the Atlanta Cotton Exposition proofs and again to make card proofs of the 1847 component of the 1879, 1881, 1885 1890, 1893 and 1895 card proof sets. It was employed again in 1903 to make up the Roosevelt album proofs and in 1914-15 to make Pan-Pacific proofs. In 1947 it was again used to create the centenary souvenir sheet and the vignettes for Scott #947.