Official reproductions of U.S. first issue stamps in demand
Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller
In 1875 the Post Office Department had the Bureau of Engraving and Printing create new 50-subject plates to officially reproduce imitations of the first U.S. general issue postage stamps: the 1847 5¢ Benjamin Franklin and 10¢ George Washington (Scott 1-2).
The reproductions were imperforate and issued and sold without gum. They were not intended for nor were they valid for payment of postage. Official sales figures show that 4,779 5¢ and 3,883 10¢ reproduction stamps were sold.
Although these official reproductions were not valid for postage, they are listed and valued in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers as U.S. Scott 3 and 4.
The catalog gives detailed descriptions of design differences between the general- issue postage stamps and the official reproductions.
The 2021 Scott U.S. Specialized catalog values the 5¢ official reproduction stamp at $900 and the 10¢ stamp at $1,500 in no gum as issued condition.
We previously tipped Scott 3 in the Stamp Market Tips column in the Aug. 9, 2010, and July 8, 2019, issues of Linn’s; and Scott 4 in the July 10, 2006, and June 3, 2019, issues.
Both of these official reproduction stamps are in great demand and are worth full Scott catalog value in very fine grade. Stamps in lesser grades or with minor faults or flaws bring a high percentage of Scott catalog value.
No engraved counterfeits of Scott 3 and 4 are known. Counterfeits produced by photogravure or lithography are easily identified. Authentication is easy. Certificates are only needed for quality, if you are unsure.
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