Stamps (Philately)/Black Hardings...


Hello! Thank you in advance for your time...

I think I could have a Scott #613. I have gone from end to end on this with no knowledge what so ever as of 2 months ago, to an abundance of information overload within the last 48hrs. I have a box (pretty big one) of 19th Century stamps. I spent the first few months sifting searching and setting aside. Until this point I thought of selling the box whole to the highest bidder but a few days ago in my sifting I ran into a Black Harding 2 cent stamp. Now... I have done measurements but in my research it says the design is 19.25 mm wide by 22.5 mm. high. Now my understanding is that the others are 22.25 mm high (please correct me if im wrong) So I'm almost 100% positive I have a 22.5. Also it has a cancellation stamp across it. I have measured, remeasured, and measure again.I should also add that its perforated on only 3 sides with one straight edge on the right side of the stamp.(almost for sure machine cut) My question is what do I do with it? How much does it cost to appraise? Do I have to send it away by mail for appraisal? Could I have a possible $45,000 stamp?

Hi Denise,
Thanks for the question,
Denise, I understand how frustrating it can be, but if it will make you feel any better, many other have wondered the same thing. Unfortunately there really is no easy answer, but these are extremely scarce.
Here is the technical specs (hopefully it is not to confusing), which you seem to have correct. As you say the rare #613 is supposed to measure 19.25mm x 22.5mm printed from rotary press sheet waste this is also perf 11 (you did not mention if yours is also perf 11). The more common stamp with the same dimensions #612 is perf 10. The other common stamp of this design #610 is also perf 11 but was printed using flat plate printing and measures 19.25mm x 22.25mm. So as you see the only difference between the common perf 11 and the rare variety is the minute 1/4mm difference in the height of the design. Again because of the small difference it is very difficult to measure, a better way is to compare the size to the other 2 varieties #610 & #612. If you don't have any, it would be cheaper (at first) to buy cheap damaged copies cut them vertically and use them as your measuring guide.
After this, if you still believe yours is the rare #613 it would have to be sent in for a certificate of authenticity to be considered genuine. Unfortunately these are not that cheap, and start at about $30-$35 or so for a certificate and can run significantly higher for valuable stamps (I believe some services give a partial refund if it is found to be the common variety). Below is a list of some Expertization Services, if you want to follow through.

The American Philatelic Society has a service
Professional Stamp Experts
The Philatelic Foundation
William Weiss

Thanks again for the question,

Stamps (Philately)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Mike Stern


My specialty is United States Errors, but I can answer most questions on United States stamps (except covers). I have been collecting U.S. stamps for about 35 years, and U.S. Errors for approximately 25 years. I have been selling both online for about 4 years. I am also a member of the APS (American Philatelic Society)


As I said above, I have been collecting U.S. stamps for about 35 years, and U.S. Errors for approximately 25 years. I have been selling both online for about 4 years, mostly on Ebay and

I am a 25+ year member of the APS

I went to 2 years of college at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, and received a degree in Applied Science

©2016 All rights reserved.