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Stamps (Philately)/Dept of State stamps


QUESTION: I acquired these stamps with a collection that was last active in 1957.  Can you help me identify these stamps and give me a rough idea about their value?


Those are card proofs of the high value denominations from the 1873 Official issues.  They are, in left to right order, Scott numbers O69P4, O70P4 and O71P4.  Fault-free, eye-appealing examples of these proofs have current catalog (retail) values of $35 each.  Water damaged as yours appear, their collectible value is greatly diminished.  They may be worth a couple of dollars apiece to a collector.

-Mark Leon

I deal in United States Stamps
American Art Glass
and Halloween Costumes!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your prompt response... I'm sorry I haven't responded quicker, I've been having email problems. As this is a learning process for me and as others may benefit from this discussion, could you elaborate on the process and logic that enables you to identify these stamps?

Bull   :)


Sure.  The actual high denomination Department of State officials (as opposed to proofs) were not issued imperforate.  The lack of perforations was the immediate giveaway that they were proofs.  

An interesting side note is that because the proofs are so much more common that the actual stamps, some unscrupulous individuals have taken card proofs, shaved them down to match the thin paper of the actual stamps, and then added perforations all around in order to pass them off as the rarities.  But shaved and perforated proofs are quickly spotted by experienced philatelists because the proofs are "too clean".  Proofs were printed from original plates onto high quality paper, so the printed design is far more vivid than on the actual stamps printed on regular stamp paper.

-Mark Leon

I deal in United States Stamps
American Art Glass
and Halloween Costumes!

Stamps (Philately)

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Mark Leon


I am a collector of United States postage stamps, and also a stamp dealer. I`m a member of the American Philatelic Society (APS). My principle area of interest and expertise is in United States Stamps.


I've been selling stamps on the internet since early 1996. I maintain a stamp web page that concentrates on mint US stamps issued generally between 1890 and 2009. I'm an active seller on since 1996, under the user id "mleon". You can find my web page at

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, 1984.

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