US Stamps

Beware of colored-paper stamps offered as rare white-paper types

May 7, 2019, 12 PM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

Starting last month (Linn’s, April 15 issue), I began looking at stamps that are not what they seem to be in the monthly expertizing column. The objective is not to create distrust, but to recognize that knowledge is power.

This month’s examples are colored-paper issues that are offered as rare white-paper examples.

The most often seen of these is the 24¢ Old North Church stamp issued in 1975 (Scott 1603) as part of the Americana definitive series of 1975-81. The original and the white-paper versions are shown in Figure 1.

Note that the white-paper examples are all used. There is a reason for this. The process of removing the paper color also removes the gum, so that mint examples cannot exist. If a genuine error did exist, you would expect to see mint examples.

In fact you would expect to see a lot of examples of the error because it would not have occurred on a small number of stamps, but rather a portion of a print run with hundreds of examples at a minimum. There would probably be enough examples to be scarce but available.

Figure 2 shows two other examples, the 10¢ Americana stamp (Scott 1592) and the 1976 13¢ Telephone Centennial commemorative (1683). I have seen similar fake white-paper examples of the 28¢ Americana stamp (1604) and the 1967 5¢ Search for Peace commemorative (1326). I’m sure there are others.

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