The dies used to create the plate proofs for the 1851 issues were the ones used to print the special printing (Scott 40-47), created by the Continental Bank Note Company for the USPOD. The original dies for some of the stamps, created by the firm of Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear and Co. were used where available. The dies and plates for the 1, 3, 10 and 12 cent stamps are from new plates, created in 1875, which differ significantly from those used to print the general issue in 1851.17
There are differences between the colors used for the special printings and the ordinary issues. There are also some variations in the shades used in the different printings, but the only way to determine which printing the proof came from is by measurement of the card thickness as the color variation is not significant enough to make that determination based on color alone.
The following table provides the information about the denominations and the breakdown of colors used for the eight stamps in this issue:
|40P4||One cent||Bright Blue|
|42P4||Five cents||Orange Brown|
|43P4||Ten cents||Blue Green|
|44P4||Twelve cents||Greenish Black|
|45P4||Twenty Four cents||Blackish Violet|
|46P4||Thirty cents||Yellow Orange|
|47P4||Ninety cents||Deep Blue|
This issue is challenging, for a variety of reasons. Changes in the way stamps were numbered; color listings, and the skipping of numbers in the Scott system are some of the challenges.
When the Continental Bank Note Company was requested to create the card proofs and special printings in 1875, they created new plates for the 1, 2, 5, 10, and 12 cent stamps. These are indistinguishable from the original plates as singles, but because of the wider spacing between the stamps can only be distinguished in pairs or blocks.18
Those stamps known as the “August” issues in the 1861 series have been delisted from primary Scott number status and moved to the essay listing section where they have been assigned numbers per the protocols for that section. This means that what were formerly major number listed stamps, Scott 55-62, no longer exist. This author is unaware of any stamps having ever been designated with Scott number 48-54; if these numbers were used, they were delisted in the distant past. 19
Scott 62B, while theoretically belonging in the grouping with the August Issue (Scott 55-62), and described as such by Luff,20 was produced in sufficient numbers and used postally, so it is still listed as a major number issue.21 There are no plate proofs for this or any of the “August Issue” designs as the design is almost identical to the regular issued stamps of the series.
There are multiple colors for some of the denominations, resulting in multiple Scott numbers. However, not all colors were produced as proofs. This means some Scott numbers will not have a corresponding P4 proof.
Scott 64, 65, 66 and 74 are all major numbered stamps for the three cent issue; the difference is color. Scott 64 is pink; Scott 65 is rose (with many shades); Scott 66 is lake while Scott 74 is scarlet (both are only listed as a trial color, designated as such by the “TC”). Of these, only Scott 65 and Scott 74 have a corresponding P4 proof. Scott 66, the lake shade, is provided in this collection as an India proof (P3). Scott 67, Scott 75 and Scott 76 are all major numbered stamps for the five cent issue. Scott 67 is olive, Scott 75 is red brown and Scott 76 is brown. Only Scott 76 has a corresponding P4 proof. Scott 70 and 78 are both major numbered stamps for the twenty-four cent issues; they both have a P4 proof. There are two additional stamps which became part of this series. The two cent black, known as the “Black Jack” is added, as is the fifteen cent black, issued quickly, as a mourning stamp for President Lincoln. These both have P4 proofs. On top of this, certain colors were only printed in one printing and for those issued in all printings, there are shade variations.
With that having been laid as a base, here is the chart with the information about these issues:
|70P4||Twenty Four cents||Red Lilac|
|78P4||Twenty Four cents||Lilac|
The issue of 1869 is straight forward, with only one issue which was not created as a card proof for the series, the fifteen-cent. The card proof for the fifteen-cent is from the dies for the reprint, Scott 129.22 23 The same plates were used for the reissue in 1875, being made without grill and on the same paper, but with a distinctly different gum.24 This series was immensely unpopular at the time the stamps were issued, lasting less than a year. The grilled issues of the 1867 series were again released to post offices as an interim solution.25 The final answer would be to replace both the 1869 issue and the 1867 issue with what would become known as the large Banknote Issues.
The following chart lists the various stamps in this issue, along with the approved color.
|129P4||Fifteen cents||Brown and Blue|
|120P4||Twenty Four cents||Green and Violet|
|121P4||Thirty cents||Ultramarine and Carmine|
|122P4||Ninety cents||Black and Carmine|
17 Brazer, p.xv.
18 Luff, pp. 256-57; Snee, 758 (note following the listing for 94P).
19 Snee, pp. 21 and 756. Because of the unique nature of these stamps, which were prototypes, they did not see postal use and are accorded the proper status of being essays.
20 Luff, pp. 68-70.
21 Snee, p. 21.
22 Snee, p. 48A.
23 Brookman, p. 178.
24 Luff, p. 257. Luff discusses the reissues here, but doesn’t discuss the proofs which were created.
25 Luff, p. 89; Brookman, Vol. II, p. 156.