Easy Identification
US 3c 1851-57 Designs

By Bill Weiss

The 3c 1851-57 designs confuse many collectors. This article is intended to help the reader to more easily identify the four different types by a process of elimination.


1. If there are four complete outer frame lines (like a square), and the inner vertical frame lines are not recut, it MUST be Type I
Imperforated - Scott #10/#11
Perforated - Scott #25

Tip – The difference between #10 and #11 is COLOR. #10 is orange brown and shades of OB.

Tip – Scott #25 does not have the inner vertical frame lines.





2. If there are four complete outer frame lines AND recut inner vertical frame lines, it MUST be Type II
Imperforated - Scott #10A/#11A
Perforated - Scott #25A

Tip – As with #10-11, the difference between #10A-11A is the COLOR







3. If the outer vertical frame lines are continuous (unbroken) in between stamps, it MUST be Type III (Scott #26)










4. If the outer vertical frame lines ARE broken in between stamps, it MUST be Type IV (Scott #26A).









And re-stated another way, in order of Scott Catalog listings;
TYPE I (#10,11,25) has outer frame lines on all four sides;
TYPE II (#10A,11A,25A) has the inner vertical frame lines recut;
TYPE III (#26) has outer vertical frame line on both sides which are not broken in between stamps;
TYPE IV (#26A) has outer vertical frame line on both sides which are broken in between stamps;


Tip – Top row or bottom row copies of TypeIII (#26) can appear to be broken at top (if top row) or bottom (if bottom row). They can be identified because no design of the stamp above or below is present and there is more space than 2mm.