US Stamps

Look for scarce type of 2¢ George Washington envelope

Oct 9, 2019, 11 AM
United States 2¢ green George Washington unused stamped envelope cut squares of design type U72 (Scott U318-U323) are scarce and are needed by many collectors. Shown is the 2¢ green on manila (U322).

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Postal stationery has a strong following of collectors in the United States. It includes envelopes, letter sheets, postal cards, aerograms and wrappers that have an imprinted stamp design (called an indicium) showing prepayment of postage.

In the United States, stamped envelopes can be collected in two forms: entires and cut squares (the stamp design with a small border clipped from the envelope).

Foreign collectors generally are not interested in cut squares, nor are other types of postal stationery collected as cut squares in the United States.

From 1887 to 1894, the U.S. Post Office Department issued a series of stamped envelopes. The designs featured silhouettes of Benjamin Franklin (1¢), George Washington (2¢), Andrew Jackson (4¢), and Ulysses S. Grant (5¢) (Scott U294-U335).

Three very similar designs were used for the 2¢ Washington envelopes: design U70 (Scott U305-U310), U71 (U311-U317) and design U72 (U318-U323).

Unused cut squares of the third design type (Scott U318-U323) are scarce and are needed by many collectors. Cut squares of the other two design types are far more common and in less demand.

The 2020 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values these unused cut squares as follows: 2¢ green on white paper (U318), $110; 2¢ green on amber paper (U319), $160; 2¢ green on oriental buff paper (U320), $125; 2¢ green on blue paper (U321), $150; 2¢ green on manila (U322), $225; and 2¢ green on amber manila paper (U323), $400.

Examples in very fine grade are a good buy at 50 percent to 65 percent of Scott catalog value. Examples in extra fine grade bring considerably more.

The type U72 cut squares are frequently confused with the similar but much more common and much less expensive cut squares. In addition to the differences noted and illustrated in the Scott catalog, a good way to pick out the more expensive designs is that Washington has a more rounded head than the pointed head of the less expensive design types. Using the less expensive types for comparison helps in identification.

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