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1873 3¢ Washington - U.S. #158

1873 3¢ Washington - U.S. #158

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U.S. #158
1873 3¢ Washington
Continental Bank Note Printing

Earliest Known Use: July 17, 1873
Quantity issued: 2,661,293,500 (estimate)
Printed by: Continental Bank Note Company
Method: Flat plate
Watermark: None
Perforation: 12
Color: Green

The 1873 3¢ Continental Bank Note Company stamp features a portrait of George Washington, the most honored figure in American history. The Washington Monument, erected in the nation's capital and the naming of the state of Washington, stand as tributes to his legacy.

A distinguishing characteristic of this stamp is a secret mark added by the Continental Bank Note Company – the lower part of the ribbon at the left bottom of the numeral "3" is heavily shaded.

Bank Notes 1870-1888
Due to the unpopularity of the 1869 Pictorial series, the Postmaster General found it necessary to issue new stamps. Among the public's complaints were the small size, unattractiveness, and inferior quality of the previous stamps. Consequently, the new issues were larger, of better quality, and carried new designs, featuring profiles of famous deceased Americans.

This series, nicknamed the "Bank Note" stamps, was printed successively by three prominent Bank Note printing companies – the National, Continental, and American Bank Note Companies. As the printing contract passed from company to company, so did the dies and plates, resulting in slight variations among the stamps.

In 1873, the Continental Bank Note Company won the contract and introduced "secret marks" to distinguish their plates and stamps from earlier issues. The American Bank Note Company later acquired Continental, but their stamps, printed on soft paper, differed from those produced by the previous 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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