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Winchester Discounts

1857 Washington, Type III - U.S. #26

1857 Washington, Type III - U.S. #26

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U.S. #26, issued in 1857, marked a significant milestone as the first perforated three-cent U.S. postage stamp. Here's a detailed look at this definitive stamp:

  • Stamp Category: Definitive
  • Series: 1857-61 Issue
  • Value: 3c
  • Earliest Documented Use: September 14th, 1857
  • Printed by: Toppan, Carpenter & Co.
  • Quantity Printed: Estimated 550,000,000
  • Format: Printed in sheets of 200 stamps, divided into two panes of 100 each, in rows of 10x10
  • Printing Method: Engraved, flat plate printing
  • Perforations: 15½
  • Color: Dull Red

Why the stamp was issued: The 3c Washington stamp was introduced to cover the first-class rate for single letters weighing half an ounce or less, traveling up to 3,000 miles.

About the printing: The stamp design was engraved on a die, transferred onto a roll, and then to a printing plate. Varieties or "types" emerged due to plate recutting, foreign matter, or manual re-cutting during the transfer process.

About the design: U.S. #26 is Type III, lacking outer frame lines on the top and bottom but featuring continuous recut frame lines on both sides, appearing above and below the design on each stamp.

Special design details: The stamp showcases a portrait of George Washington based on a statue by Jean-Antoine Houdon, known for its lifelike portrayal. This statue is housed in the rotunda of the Virginia state capitol building in Richmond.

About the 1857-61 Series: These stamps were the first perforated U.S. issues, with designs reproduced from the imperforate plates of 1851. Recutting of plates and the use of newer plates to accommodate perforations led to variations in design elements, such as scrolls or frame lines.

History the stamp represents: The introduction of perforations revolutionized stamp usage, allowing for easier separation and better adhesion to envelopes. The perforating machine used for U.S. stamps was developed by George Howard in 1856, leading to the production of America's first perforated postage stamps in 1857. Mandatory prepayment of postage, instituted in 1855 and enforced in 1856, significantly increased stamp demand and usage.


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