Suspect Scott #534B Used Single.
This is an expensive stamp if it were real - $1400 catalog value and is sometimes faked. According to the Experts Book the best fakes are made from genuine Type VII stamps that have had the Shermack Type III perforations trimmed off. The fully perforated #528B can also be used to fake the #534B by trimming the perforations off or by altering the design of the imperforate #534 Type Va.
The suspect is indeed an offset printing due to the lack of raised printed features. The foil method or "drag your tong tip across the background lines" method can be used to determine whether the printing method is flat plate or offset. Determining what type the suspect is it is a simple matter of looking at five features that determine a Type IV, Type Va, Type VII, and a Type VII. If the suspect does not show any of the features for the other type then the suspect must be a Type V.
First to look at is the toga button. The Type IV has a distinctive design resembling . The following pictures show the distinctive feature on the left and the same feature on the suspect on the right.
The next feature to look at is the Type Va nose dots. There are seven rows of dots in Washington’s nose and the fifth row of dots down from the top only has four dots instead of the usual five.
The next feature to look at is the Type VI “2” at the left of CENTS. The center line is very thick.
The last features to look at are the dots in the upper lip and top of the head of the Type VII. The upper lip will have four rows of three dots and the top of the head has numerous extra dots added.
As can be seen from the above images the dots at the top of the head are an exact match to the known genuine Type VII pattern as well as the dots in the upper lip match the Type VII upper lip dots, the left 2 also matches the Type VII Left 2. I’m of the opinion that the suspect is indeed a genuine Type VII.
The height of the suspect is just under 23mm which allows it to fit well within the confines of horizontal perforations. The width is at most 20.75mm wide with the top slanting in towards the design.
A search of the Philatelic Foundation’s certificate database returned a total of 481 certificates. The list below breaks down the ones that are trimmed #528B or were declined an opinion for one reason or another.
The best way to collect the imperforate offset printed issues is to get margin singles or multiples to insure that the stamp is genuinely imperforate.
Conclusion: In my opinion the suspect is a genuine Type VII but I decline to give an opinion as to the Scott number due to insufficient / inadequate margins.
Reference material used:
As always comments and suggestions are always welcome.
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