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Winchester Discounts

1873 10¢ Jefferson - U.S. #161

1873 10¢ Jefferson - U.S. #161

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U.S. #161
1873 10¢ Jefferson
Continental Bank Note Printing

Earliest Known Use: August 2, 1873
Quantity issued: 21,471,000 (estimate)
Printed by: Continental Bank Note Company
Method: Flat plate
Watermark: None
Perforation: 12
Color: Brown

Thomas Jefferson, depicted on this 10¢ stamp, played pivotal roles in American history. As a delegate to the Continental Congress, he authored the Declaration of Independence and later served as the nation's third President. He passed away on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.

A distinguishing feature of this stamp is a secret mark added by the Continental Bank Note Company – a small crescent was cut into the ball directly under the "E" in "POSTAGE."

Bank Notes 1870-1888
In response to the unpopularity of the 1869 Pictorial series, the Postmaster General initiated the issuance of new stamps. Complaints about the small size, unattractiveness, and inferior quality of the previous stamps led to larger, higher-quality issues with new designs, featuring profiles of famous deceased Americans.

Dubbed the "Bank Note" stamps, this series was printed sequentially by three prominent Bank Note printing companies – the National, Continental, and American Bank Note Companies. As the printing contract passed between companies, so did the dies and plates, resulting in slight variations among the stamps.

The Continental Bank Note Company, winning the contract in 1873, introduced "secret marks" to differentiate their plates and stamps. Despite the acquisition of Continental by the American Bank Note Company in 1879, the latter continued to print stamps on soft paper, differing from the earlier companies.

Color variations, along with secret marks and different paper types, contribute to the complexity of identifying the various varieties within this classic series, making them a captivating area of philately.

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