US Stamps

1940 National Defense imperf-between errors are affordable

Sep 12, 2020, 12 PM
Imperforate-between error pairs of the United States 1940 National Defense issue (Scott 899b, 900a and 901a) are intriguing and affordable.

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Error varieties of United States stamps are not always expensive, but they are always fascinating.

On Oct. 16, 1940, as President Franklin Roosevelt began rearming the nation and trying to prepare for the war he knew was coming, the U.S. Post Office Department issued the three-stamp National Defense issue: the 1¢ Statue of Liberty, 2¢ 90-millimeter Anti-aircraft Gun, and 3¢ Torch of Enlightenment (Scott 899-901).

The stamps, printed by rotary press in sheets of 400, were perforated gauge 11 by 10½.

All three stamps exist as horizontal imperforate-between error pairs (Scott 899b, 900a and 901a).

The Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the 1¢ error pair at $32.50, the 2¢ error pair at $37.50  and the 3¢ error pair at $22.50, for a total of $92. 50 for the set of three in mint never-hinged condition.

The set of three error varieties is a good buy at near Scott catalog value in fine-very grade or higher.

Sets in unused, lightly hinged condition are a good buy at about 50 percent of Scott catalog value.

Make sure that the pairs are true errors and not blind perforation freaks of pairs with stray punched holes. Such freaks are worth very little.

Examine the stamps from the back carefully in good light to check for blind perforations.

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