A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzabar

A is for Aden and Z is for Zanzibar... Now what is between? For the world wide classical era philatelist and stamp collector, a country specific philatelic survey is offered by the blog author, Jim Jackson, with two albums: Big Blue, aka Scott International Part 1 (checklists available), and Deep Blue, aka William Steiner's Stamp Album Web PDF pages. In addition, "Bud" offers commentary and a look at his completely filled Big Blue. Interested? So into the Blues...

Monday, November 13, 2023

A "Show & Tell" on 1857 USA 1c blue "Franklin" for Type V & Type Va


10L9 (Plate 9)
Type V, Ear Ring Variety

Into the Deep Blue

We are in for a treat! - Thanks to Ray McIntire and his specialized plated Type V/ Type Va collection. !!

Ray is well known within BB circles, as he has a Big Blue with currently 29,500 ( and counting!) filled spaces. 

And unbeknownst to me, among his previous main interests, were the 1c blue Franklins!

As I mentioned in the my "study group" post, the perforated 1857 1c blue "Franklin" Type V stamps are found on Plates 5, 7, 8, 9, 10. And, indeed Type V is the most common type.

But Plate 5 is a special case: yes, the first several columns are Type V (CV $37+), but all the rest are Type Va (CV $250). 

This has lead to much confusion. 

The great Stanley Ashbrook, who published the seminal book  "The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851-1857" thought that Type Va stamps came from the supposed plate 6, when in fact they were subsequently shown to be from plate 5. 

Recall the differences between Type V and Type Va stamps....

Type V: The top and bottom curved lines outside the labels are substantially cut away in the middle ( similar to Type III); but, unlike Type III, which has the side ornaments substantially complete, Type V has the side ornaments partly cut away. About one half of all positions have side scratches.

Type Va: Stamps from plate 5 with almost complete ornaments on the right side and no side scratches. Many, but not all stamps from plate 5 are Type Va, the remainder being Type V.

Note; If the reader needs a refresher on plating nomenclature, I added an explanatory note at the end of this blog post.

Well, as I said, we are in for a treat!

Ray McIntire sent me a note after my "study group" 1857 1c blue post, and revealed he has a specialized collection of Type V and Type Va stamps - and over 50 of the Type Va stamps have been plated! He offered to send me scans of some of the more interesting stamps and include some of his thoughts and notes about them. 

So off we go with Ray's scans and notes and comments!.....

(Note: Click on scan image for larger example.)

10L5 (Plate 5)
1857 Scott 24 1c blue, Type Va

10L8 (Plate 8)
1857 Scott 24 Type V

For these two examples, the upper here is a great example of the differences between Plate 5, Type Va and a non-Type Va stamp (Type V from Plate 8). 

The stamps are 10L5 and 10L8.  Both are top row of the left side of the plate, and the last stamp on the right side, so there is a center line included on each of these (Note far right).  Note the dot of ink attached to the center line, just to the right of Franklin's nose (next to center line).  That dot is consistent on 10L5 and 10L8. 

Then look at the completeness of the ornaments on the 10L5 compared with
the 10L8. 


Jim's Observations: 

If I was identifying this Type Va, I would note the wide break in the bottom frameline that is evident, the left side ornament partially cut away, the almost complete ornament on the right side, and no side scratches* exhibited on the stamp. Since I am not an expert on these stamps as I haven't plated, I would also ask for an opinion - such as from Ray. ;-) 

The Type V example shows the top and bottom curved frame lines cut away in the center, and both side ornaments partially cut away. No side scratches seen. (*About ~50% of Type V stamps can show side scratches. See 32L5 and 24L5 examples below for "side scratches".)

2R5 (plate 5)
1857 Scott 24 1c blue, Type Va

3R5 (Plate 5)
1857 Scott 24 1c blue, Type Va

The top example is the Type Va stamp that has, in my opinion, the best impression imaginable:  This is 2R5, which is the 2nd stamp on the top row of the right pane of plate 5.  

The bottom stamp is another really nice impression.  My copy plates out as  3R5.


Stanley Ashbrook notation about stamp on cover

Close-up of stamp on Stanley Ashbrook notation cover

Jim, this is one of my 4 favorite pieces of anything in my collection  mostly because of the historical content.  BTW, the other three are: 

  • my Syria 106c (you would have guessed that), 
  • and my US 66TC3, which used to be US #66, the Lake shade of the 3c 1861
  • and a cover I found in a box lot with a rubber stamp on the back stating that it was from the FDR collection.

The cover has notes in several different places, all in the handwriting of Stanley Ashbrook.  He authored the first study on the 1c 1851 and 1857, and at that time, as you mentioned in your blog entry, they thought that there was a Plate 6, but they had never seen a plate number before.  At some point, there was a block of 24 purchased, and it was found that the stamps on the right side of the block matched those with the supposed Plate 6, but the stamps on the left were Plate 5. 

The historical content here is with the note that came with the cover, also in Ashbrook's handwriting, on the right side of the image which reads "Top Row Pl. 6, Type Va" with S.B.A., Ashbrook's initials.  What I love even more about this cover is that it comes with a note written on the back side with initials RHC, who was Dick Cellar.  Dick passed a couple of years ago and it was a huge loss to philately, and to the students of the 1c Franklin stamp, as he was the preeminent plater of this issue.  The note says "5L8, RHC".  So, Ashbrook was incorrect on this stamp, as it is not Type Va, and is a Type V from Plate 8.  It has the impression we see with Type Va stamps, and the first look from anyone would guess Va.


8R8 (Plate 8) Example One
1857 Scott 24 Type V
Double Transfer

8R8 (Plate 8) Example Two
1857 Scott 24 Type V
Double Transfer

Double Transfer

Position 8R8, the 8th stamp on the top row of the right side pane.  This is one of the best double transfers of the Type V stamp.  The double transfer is evident in the letters "POSTAGE" at the top.  I loaded two examples - Example One is on cover.


10L9 (Plate 9)
Type V, Ear Ring Variety

Position 10L9, the Ear Ring variety, the last stamp on the top row of the left pane of Plate 9.  Several bruises on the plate make it look like Franklin is wearing a long-chained ear ring. BTW, this one is MNH...


32L5 (Plate 5)
Type V, Side scratches

24L5 (Plate 5)
Type V, Side scratches

Also, I've included 2 stamps from Plate 5 which are not Type Va. 

The rule is that all Type Va stamps must come from Plate 5, but not all Plate 5 stamps are Type Va.  

The first several columns on the left side pane of Plate 5 do not have the same characteristics that the rest of the plate has-- which contributed to the confusion of Plate 5 vs. a hypothetical Plate 6.  These stamps have side scratches if they are Relief B, C, and D, and do not have the completeness of the ornaments that Type Va stamps do. 

The two that I've attached are 32L5, a D relief with side scratches from the 4th row of the left side of Plate 5, and 24L5, a C relief with side scratches from the 3rd row of the left side of Plate 5. 


Out of the Blue

Jim's Observations: Thanks for the wonderful scans and notes Ray! Very, very informative! And now some concluding comments from Ray...

I mainly started into plating the 1857's because I wanted to understand the difference between Type V and Va.  I have 50 Type Va positions now, and some of them are better impressions than others, but I do have a few absolute gems.

A big problem with sellers on eBay who have "Va's" for sale is that they aren't even close to being Type Va.  If they don't see side scratches, most of the dealers think that they have a Type Va.  Problem is that with 6 different reliefs (A,B,C,..F), there are never any side scratches on Reliefs A, E, and F.  If there aren't side scratches, it can be Va, but only confirmed if it's a B, C or D relief.  The only way to confirm A, E, and F relief as Va is to have them plated.


A note about plating nomenclature...

The left side plate has 100 cliches and the right side plate has 100 cliches, each in the form of 10 X 10 (ten rows, 10 columns). 

---The plate is named "5" for plate 5, for instance.

---The specific side is given by "L" or "R" (for left or right side plate).

---numbered then..

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 (first row)

11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20. (second row)

and so forth to...

91,92,93,94,95,96,97,98,99,100 (tenth row)

If one is plating, each of the 200 possibilities for each plate is then specified.

For instance "32L5" is plate 5, left side, position 3rd row 2nd column. 

"10L9" is plate 9, left side, 1st row, 10th (last) column.

Comments appreciated!


  1. Jim and all, to also explain the term "reliefs": there were 6 different dies used to be pressed into the Type V plates, and each one was a little bit different, but consistent. The way that they were used were starting on the top row- Relief A, 2nd row- Relief B and so on for the first 6 rows. Then, they used Reliefs C, D, E and F again. So the rows for the Type V stamps are the following reliefs: ABCDEFCDEF.

    So, for the complete plate of 2 different panes of 100 stamps, there are 20 stamps with Relief A and 20 stamps with Relief B. Then there are 40 each with Reliefs C, D, E and F.

    Hope this is helpful, and you'll see I have a different URL this time!!!

  2. Probably the most extensive discussion of this stamp I have ever seen. Extraordinary, and worth bookmarking. THANK YOU