US Stamps

Doubles with differences on cover, a challenge for the collector who has everything

May 16, 2023, 8 AM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

When the same design is used for different stamps as listed in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers, the result can challenge stamp collectors.

I like to find examples of such stamps on nonphilatelic covers, and I am showing four of them in this column.

The first, in Figure 1, is the 1909 cover bearing two versions of the 2¢ Washington Shield issue of 1903, Scott image A129.

The stamps are Scott 319, type I; and 319F, type II. These stamps are normally slightly different in color, with type I (319) carmine and type II (319F) lake. However, on this cover, the type I stamp on the right is carmine rose, and the type II stamp on the left is carmine.

To tell them apart, I looked at the thickened interior frame line at the lower left and compared it with the illustrations in the Scott U.S. Specialized catalog.

Type I looks like it might have the same thickening, but it is the placement of the cancellation that misleads to that conclusion.

Figure 2 illustrates a more recent example, two 1978 16¢ Americana stamps photographically cropped from a cover. The stamps, Scott image A1002, show the head of the Statue of Liberty. One is Scott 1619, and the other is 1619a.

The middle stamp is Scott 1619a with block tagging, produced on the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s three-color intaglio B Press.

The stamp at right is Scott 1619 produced on the BEP’s intaglio rotary press known as the Cottrell, after the supplier. This stamp has overall tagging, and it is more blue than the gray blue of the B-press version.

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