The 1851-61 3 cent issue confuses a lot of new collectors. I hope that I can shed a little more light on the subject. Scott #10 was printed between July and October of 1851.The ink used to print # 10 had a large percentage of vermillion pigment. The vermillion was very abrasive and caused the plates to wear rapidly. In the autumn 0f 1851 the percentage of vermillion pigment was reduced to increase the life of the plates, thus Scott #11 (printed between October 1851 to June 1857) was born. Scott #10 almost always has a crisp clear impression that shows great detail of each engraved line. This is due to the fact that the plate was still new and had not worn down yet. Scott #11s usually have a worn look to their impressions do to the wearing down of the plate over time. If your stamp has a dated cancel and the date is later than spring of 1852 chances are is that your stamp is a #11. Please keep in mind that there are several different shades that Scott #11 was printed in and some of them resemble the same shades that Scott #10 was printed in! The only way to be 100% sure that you have a Scott #10 is to have the stamp plated by a qualified expert.
Notice the crisp impression on the Scott #10s pictured below.
Notice the more worn impression of these Scott #11s shown below!
All examples shown are certified examples of the corresponding Scott numbers.
Notice how closely the color of some of the #10s and #11s match!
Do I have a Scott #26 or 26a? That is a question a lot of new collectors ask themselves. A good way to identify the difference between Scott #26 and Scott #26a is to look at the cut of the side frame lines. Scott #26’s frame lines were cut by using a straight edge and cutting from the top to the bottom of each plate. Scott #26a ‘s side frame lines were cut free-handed and show many imperfections.
Type I #25 (shown below) There are frame lines on all 4 sides.
Type II #26 (shown below) The top and bottom frame lines have been removed, while the side frame line are continuous from the top to the bottom of the sheet.
Type IIa #26a (shown below) Is the same as type II with the exception that the side frame lines have been cut individually and are broken between the designs.
I realize that I have only scratched the surface of the 1851-61 issues and that there are a lot of collectors just dedicated to this issue! If any of you feel that I am missing an important fact please feel free to email me and I will gladly revise this guide!
I spend my time and write these guides to help the philatelic community. I feel that my guides can help both buyers and sellers properly identify certain issues that I notice have been often misrepresented at online auction. Even If you personally already are familiar with the information presented in this guide please vote “yes” for helpfulness as it allows me to know that people support my effort to help the philatelic community . I would appreciate any emails with questions or comments on how to better help with any of my guides. If anyone is considering buying a stamp that is mentioned in any of my guides and have doubts about authenticity please email me and I will be glad to help Best regards, Mike