1865 Benjamin Franklin newspaper and periodicals stamp can be a good buy
Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller
From September 1865 to July 1, 1898, the U.S. Post Office Department issued newspaper and periodical stamps for bulk shipments of newspapers and periodicals. For the first 10 years of their use, the stamps were affixed directly to the bundles of papers. From 1875 on, the stamps were affixed to pages in receipt books maintained by the post office.
The first newspaper and periodical stamps issued were very large and colorful: a 5¢ George Washington stamp, a 10¢ Benjamin Franklin stamp and a 25¢ Abraham Lincoln stamp (Scott PR1-PR3). The typographed and embossed stamps were printed on thin hard unwatermarked paper without gum by the National Bank Note Co. in sheets of 20 divided into panes of 10.
Look for the 10¢ blue green Benjamin Franklin newspaper and periodicals stamp (Scott PR2). The Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the stamp in unused (without gum as issued) condition at $300. A used example is valued at $2,000 with the value in italics.
Values are for examples with perforations on all four sides. Some panes were not perforated at top or bottom, resulting in five stamps with natural straight edges at either the top or bottom of the stamp. Examples with natural straight edges sell for less.
Almost all used examples are canceled by blue brush strokes and have faults such as tears, stains or creases. Prices for used examples depend on the nature of the faults and appearance of the stamp. An unused example in very fine grade without a natural straight edge is a good buy at full Scott catalog value.
Genuine stamps can be differentiated from the many early counterfeits and reprints. On genuine 1865 newspaper and periodical stamps, the vignette has an elegant and detailed cameo portrait. Reprints and counterfeits are much coarser in appearance and less detailed. Genuine stamps are perforated gauge 12, while the counterfeits are perforated gauge 11½.
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