Easy Identification - US 1c 1857 Issues

By Bill Weiss

A separate listing for the perforated 1c 1857 Issue types is necessary because the order of scarcity is substantially different from the imperf 1c issues. Please refer back to that article for the explanations of the different types. Once again, these are listed in order of scarcity (based on Scott Specialized Catalog “VF” prices).


1. TYPE V (Scott #24). This is a “new” type that did not exist in the imperf issues. It is easy to identify because the outer designs at both sides are cut away (incomplete) and it is the only 1c 1851-57 type that has this defining characteristic. The top and bottom curved frame lines are also cut away.


Tip – Fakers use Type V to make fake imperf type III by cutting off the perfs and drawing in the outer designs OR simply by cutting off the perfs and hoping no-one will notice the incomplete sides! The FIRST thing to check on ANY 1c 1851-57 stamp is the side designs. If they are incomplete, it is a Type V.



Type V

2. TYPE Va (Scott #24 variety); this type is defined by the fact that the side designs are more complete, especially the right side outer designs.



Tip – This type is often confused with Type III, but the important aspect to check carefully, as with Type V, is the outer side designs, especially the left side, as V and Va never have complete left side designs whereas Type III does).





Type Va

3. TYPE II (Scott #20); this type can be identified by missing balls in the bottom plumes, complete side designs, and a top design that is slightly incomplete.


Tip – Sometimes the imperf Type II has counterfeit perfs added to make a #20 since a #20 is worth 2X as much as the imperf (Scott #7), although it is not a common alteration.






Type II

4. TYPE IIIa (Scott #22); Outer curved line at top or bottom cut away, but not both;


Tip – Fake Type III is made from Type IIIa by scraping away part of the curved line that is not already cut away, although not a common fake, it is worth watching for







Type IIIa

5. TYPE I (Scott #18); Complete design;


Tip – Perfs can be cut off to try to fake the imperf Type I (Scott #5) but that is an uncommon alteration since the margins are rarely large enough to allow successful deception and since #18 is a pretty good stamp itself, it is not a commonly-found alteration. More commonly, fake #5 is made from plate proofs of the 1c 1875 Special Printing (Scott 40P3 or 40P4).






Type I

6. TYPE IV (Scott #23); outer curved frame lines at top or bottom (or both) are recut;


Tip – Fake Type IV are made by perforating Scott #9, a fairly common alteration, so check perfs carefully!








Type IV

7. TYPE III (Scott #21); outer center curved lines are cut away at BOTH top and bottom.


Tip – Fakes are made from Type V and Va, so check side designs carefully, for they are complete on Type III but incomplete on Types V and Va








Type III

8. TYPE Ic (Scott #19b); Rare type. Top part of design is slightly trimmed, sides are complete. Look for the bottom right ornament that has been partially removed as shown.











Type Ic

9. TYPE Ia (Scott #19); Rare Type. Bottom and sides of design are complete The top design is not complete.


Tip – Plating is often necessary to be sure you have either of these types as some Type III/IIIa are close to Type Ia or Ic, so careful study required. Plating also required when you suspect you have either type but the defining design characteristics are unclear or missing.






Type Ia

And a brief recap in Scott order;

Type I (Scott #18, complete design);
Type Ia (Scott #19, nearly complete as described in our imperf article);
Type Ic (Scott #19b, also nearly complete as described in the imperf article);
Type II (Scott #20, complete at sides and top, but not at bottom);
Type III (Scott #21, outer center curved line at top AND bottom cut away);
Type IIIa (Scott #22, outer center curved lines at top OR bottom cut away (but not both);
Type IV (Scott #23, outer center curved lines at top or bottom(or both) recut);
Type V (Scott #24 ), top and bottom outer curved lines cut away, side designs always incomplete);
Type Va (Scott #24 Variety), same as Type V except side outer designs more complete, especially at right).