The Higher Values Of The 1861s

The twelve cent (#69) is a beautiful stamp, finely engraved like all of the 1861s. there are no varieties of any importance of this stamp. However, keep in mind that although most of the 1861s are not rare, they are exceedingly difficult to find in Very Fine or better condition. As a rule, they were perforated poorly, with the perforations customarily cutting into the design. Stamps centered so poorly that only two-thirds of the design shows are not rare. Too, the choice of paper was poor, being very brittle. Add to this the early “stamp saver’s” penchant for peeling stamps off envelopes with a knife (it did not matter 100 years ago if a stamp was thinned), and it’s easy to see why fewer than one copy in 100 of the 1861s remain in choice condition.

The balance of the set, the twenty-four cent (#70 and #78 depending on shade), the thirty cent (#71), and the ninety cent (#72), are all scarce but not rare stamps that are exceedingly difficult to find in appealing condition. The ninety cent (#72) has been a real star in terms of investment performances in the last few years—representing, of course, the discovery of its rarity, not the increase of its rarity itself. Off-cover used examples can be found; mint copies are rarities; and examples genuinely used on cover, of which only a few exist, have shot up in value from about $10,000 each to well over $50,000 in just a few years.


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