US Stamps

Locally printed Confederate stamp scarcer than London-printed stamp

Apr 5, 2023, 8 AM
The locally printed Confederate States 5ยข light blue Jefferson Davis is scarcer than the London-printed stamp.

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Collector interest in the general-issue postage stamps of the Confederate States of America remains strong.

Unlike the United States, the Confederacy chose to commemorate its living and still-serving president, Jefferson Davis, on its postage stamps.

In 1862, the Confederate government ordered a 5¢ light blue Jefferson Davis stamp (Scott 6) printed by typography from De La Rue & Co., London, England.

The stamps and printing plates to produce more stamps locally were delivered to the Confederacy by blockade runners in April 1862.

The earliest known usage of the London-printed stamps is April 16, 1862. They were on hard to medium paper with light gum evenly distributed over the backs of the stamps. The stamp color is bright blue, and the impressions are clear and sharp.

Archer & Daly of Richmond, Va., used the plates produced by De La Rue & Co. to print more 5¢ blue Jefferson Davis stamps (Scott 7). The locally printed stamps were on thin to thick paper with unevenly distributed gum that varies in color from dark to light.

The impressions on the locally printed stamps are coarser, and the color is often dull and blurred. The locally printed stamps were issued in July 1862.

The Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the London-printed stamp (Scott 6) at $20 in unused, original gum condition and the locally printed stamp (Scott 7) at just $22 in unused, original gum condition, despite the fact that it is exponentially less common than the London printing.

Weak or slightly rough printings of the stamps printed by De La Rue & Co. are often mistaken for those printed by Archer & Daly, which have much coarser impressions.

The locally printed 5¢ Jefferson Davis stamp (Scott 7) in very fine grade and original gum condition is a good buy at $20. Examples with never-hinged gum bring a sizable premium.

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