Tip of the Week — By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller
Ever frugal in the day, the U.S Post Office Department produced type II 3¢ violet George Washington sheet stamps from coil waste (Scott 541). The rotary press stamps were printed on unwatermarked paper perforated gauge 11 by 10 in panes of 170. The stamp design measures 19½-to-20 millimeters by 22¼ mm.
The 2017 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the stamp in unused hinged condition at $40 and at $32.50 in used condition. In never-hinged condition, it is valued at $100.
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Most of the issue is not well centered. The odd 170-stamp panes were perforated with little regard for centering, so that stamps in grades of very fine or better were almost accidental.
Unused hinged examples in the grade of very fine are a good buy in the $30-to-$40 price range. Never hinged examples bring $80 to $100. Used examples are a bit undervalued because they sell in the $40-to-$50 price range.
The Scott U.S. Specialized catalog on-cover value of $100 is very low for a single franking used on first-class mail because the rate dropped to 2¢ July 1, 1919, after the issue date of June 14, 1919.
This was only the second time in U.S. history that the first-class letter rate dropped. The first time was in 1883, and the most recent was in 2016.