The Ten & Twelve Cent 1851

This stamp, picturing George Washington, was issued to pay the first-class postage rate between the East and West coasts. The ten cent is a stamp much like the one cent; it has four types in its imperforate printing.

— Type I (#13) has a full plume at right and bottom, and a partial plume at left. The line below “TEN CENTS” is practically broken, and the lie above “U.S. POSTAGE” is always significantly broken.

— Type II (#14) has a complete line above “U.S. POSTAGE.” A significant part of the design is missing at the bottom, including most of both plumes and the line below “TEN CENTS.”

— Type III (#15) has significant parts of both the top and bottom missing, including both the lines above “U.S. POSTAGE” and below “TEN CENTS.”

— Type IV (#16) has the lines above “U.S. POSTAGE” and below “TEN CENTS” recut similarly to the one-cent 1851 stamp discussed earlier. This is the rarest ten-cent type, although the recut stamp is the most common one-cent type.

Like the one cent, the different types (and different Scott numbers) of the ten cent exit on the same sheet so that pairs (two stamps still attached together), strips (three or more attached stamps), and blocks (four or more stamps in two or more rows) showing more than one type can be found. When they are found, they are much desired by collectors and sell for far more than the total for both individual stamps. The ten-cent 1851 stamp is the easiest stamp in the 1851 set to find in good condition. The stamps were printed widely apart on the sheet, so that they are found with large margins. Additionally, because 10 cents represented a great deal of money in the 1850s, the stamps were usually well treated (even locked up!) before being placed on envelopes. Ironic as it may sound, many damaged stamps were probably damaged before they ever were placed on a letter. Some ten-cent stamps show severe damage, as they were the stamps used to pa postage to California and back. Often they were stuffed into some gold miner’s pocket, or that of a covered-wagon traveler, for a lonely night around the campfire writing a letter home.

The Twelve Cent 1851 (#17)

The twelve-cent stamp pictures George Washington. This stamp was primarily used in pairs to pa the 240cent overseas rate. For this reason, covers with pairs on them are not as valuable as covers bearing single stamps, a case of more being less. Twelve-cent stamps were printed very closely together; stamps with any margins, let alone clear margins, on all four sides are rare.

Share on:
Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top