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Suspect Scott #546, Used Single.

 

This stamp was part of a larger collection of larger collection of Washington/Franklins I bought at auction in January of 2014. It is a moderately valued stamp with a catalogue value of $190.00 used. The Experts Book states that this issue is rarely faked and can be made from a Scott #540 by trimming the perforations off on all four sides and adding new gauge 11 perforations or from the vertical perf 10 coil #492 by trimming the perforations off from the top and bottom and adding gauge 11 perforations all around. This stamp is often confused with the flat plate Scott #499.

The #546 is a rotary press stamp and this was verified by using the flat plate/rotary press gauge on the Sonic Imagery Labs Precision U.S. Specialty Multi-Gauge.

As can be seen from the above image the suspect is indeed a rotary press stamp which eliminates the possibility of the suspect being a flat plate #499. The size of the design is also important with the #546 measuring 19.5 to 20mm wide and 22.0 to 22.4mm high. From the image above the suspect size is well within the range of what is required with a width of 19.5mm + and a height of just under 22.5mm.

Fakes made from the #540 will have spacing between the vertical perforations that is narrower than normal which makes sense because the original gauge 10 perforations would have to be trimmed off and new gauge 11 perforations added which would significantly decrease the spacing between the vertical perforations. The spacing between the vertical perforations should be 20.5mm or greater with the suspect measuring 21mm. The chances of the suspect being a trimmed and reperforated #540 just went way down. The image below shows the suspect overlaid on a genuine Perf 11 stamp, this shows that the spacing between the vertical and horizontal rows of perforations is correct.

The perforations match well with known genuine perforations with one exception being that the top perfs slope up from the frame but the bottom perfs do not. Even though the top perfs slope up they still line up rather well.

   

I did a flip analysis of the perforations and find that the fit is good despite the bottom looking like a bad fit, the roughness of the bottom perfs hide the true center of each hole.

A search of the Philatelic Foundation certificate database, at the time this article was published, came back with 481 certificates with 2 being misidentified #499and 18 with reperforated edges.

Conclusion: in my opinion the suspect is a genuine #546, reperforated at the top and possibly at the bottom.  I'll be sending this stamp to the A.P.S. Expertizing service soon and will post the results when I get them.

Reference material used:

  • The Expert's Book. A practical guide to the authentication of United States stamps. By Paul W. Schmid.

As always comments and suggestions are always welcome.

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Mike Girard - Owner / Operator / Web Master: g1rardmn1099@comcast.net


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