US Stamps

Hunt for watermarked Franklin

May 3, 2021, 7 AM

United States — The 2014 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the 1910 imperforate 1¢ green Benjamin Franklin stamp on paper with the “U S P S” watermark in a single line (Scott 383) at only $4.25 in mint never-hinged condition, $2 in unused hinged condition and $2.25 in used condition.

Wholesale demand for this stamp in all three conditions is greater than these Scott catalog values would suggest. I would buy this stamp in any of the three conditions at Scott catalog value or less anytime I saw it offered.

Because the stamps are imperforate, there is no reason to accept an example in less than a grade of very fine.

Centerline blocks (only one per full sheet of 400) and matched sets of arrow blocks (one set per full sheet of 400) command modest premiums above their values as singles and are well worth buying when you see them offered. For those wishing to specialize, there are dark green, yellowish green and bright green varieties all valued the same as the major-number listed green stamp.

A Linn’s editor found this week’s recommended stamps on the website at the following price ranges:

United States, 383$12, centerline block of four, unused hinged, very fine; $7.50, vertical pair, never hinged, extra fine; $7, horizontal pair, never hinged, very fine;

New Zealand, B3-B4$130 unused hinged, very fine.

Tip of the week

New Zealand — New Zealand is a popular collecting area with both single-country and British Commonwealth collectors. The market for New Zealand stamps is active both in the United States and throughout the world.

New Zealand has been a prolific issuer of semipostal stamps. One of the key sets to a New Zealand collection is the 1931 set of two Smiling Boy health semipostal stamps (Scott B3-4).

The 2014 Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 values the stamps in unused hinged condition at $200 and in used condition at $165. I think that the stamps in used condition are the better buy and are well worth $150 in the grade of very fine. Examples bearing full, legible bull’s-eye cancels bring a premium.

A set in unused hinged condition usually sells for around $125, while mint never-hinged sets are worth $250 or more per set.

If you are buying unused stamps, make sure that the gum is not toned. — H.G.