Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller
Used examples of the United States 1867 to 1870 definitive stamps with E grills and F grills (Scott 86-101) are notoriously difficult to find in grades of fine-very fine or better and without faults or flaws.
It is estimated that only 5 percent of the issued stamps were produced with the design clear of the perforations on all four sides.
Of those, the vast majority are damaged in some way, including being reperforated or repaired.
This is especially true of the 1¢ blue Benjamin Franklin stamp with E grill (Scott 86). Most of the best examples are already socked away in someone’s collection. There are not many well-centered and undamaged examples available to collectors who are in the market for them.
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The 2018 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values a used example at $400, and an undamaged very fine example is worth all of that. Examples in the grade of fine-very fine are worth $200 to $300. Have your purchase expertized and graded if you’re not comfortable in determining grade and condition yourself.