Stamps (Philately)/#554 Carmine 2c?




I've inherited a stamp collection from my wife's relation and I think that this stamp is a George Washington 1923 2c Carmine (Scott #554), though I'm not certain (I'm struggling to note the differences).

I'm attaching an image, and wondered if it is this stamp, what it might be worth as I'm seeing conflicting pricing online - $3 vs $10,000.


Hi Robbie,
  This is one of several tricky early US stamps.  The price ranges you are seeing are the result of this stamp coming in "many forms", with the 554 being extremely common (and most likely).

For this design there are 10 varieties:
554 - Flat Plate Print, perf 11
577 - Flat Plate Print imperforate
579 - Rotary Press, Perf 11 x 10 Design size: 19 3/4 x 22 1/4mm
583 - Rotary Press, Perf 10      Design size: 19 1/4 x 22 1/2mm
595 - Rotary Press, Perf 11      Design size: 19 3/4 x 22 1/4mm
599 - Rotary Press, Coil Perf 10 Vertical - Type I
599A - Rotary Press, Coil Perf 10 Vertical - Type II
606 - Rotary Press, Coil Perf 10 Horizontal
634 - Rotary Press, imperforate - Type I
634A - Rotary Press, imperforate - Type II

Type I and Type II can be distinguished by heavier lines cut in the hairline and differences in the scroll work above the right 2.

But we don't need to ascertain either of those in your case.
You will note that of the 10 stamps, 2 are flat plate printing, and 8 are rotary press.
Looking at the back of your stamp tells us immediately that it is flat plate printed.  The "give away" in this case are the small red flecks of ink in the back of the stamp.  This occurs only on flat plate printed stamps.  (Other type of the day, rotary and offset do not result in this side effect).

Since there are only 2 flat plate types, perforate and imperforate, yours is perforate, will "gauge" to perf 11, making it a 554.  Now catalog value for 554 "Never Hinged" is $3.  Your stamp has never been hinged, but it does have other issues.  Pencil marks on the back, and it appears some "flakes" of the gum have come off.  This will have the same impact to value as "hinged" and is refereed to as "Disturbed gum".  The pencil mark may come off with a soft eraser.  But it's not one of the high value examples of this stamp.

Hope that helps,

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Scott Payton


My expertise is in US, but I have a lot of exposure to worldwide, and with wide reference material, I will do what I can to answer questions about global stamps. In US I have extensive experience in all aspects (does include Administrative overprints for Cuba, China, Puerto Rico etc.). Also, Hawaii general issue and Revenue (pre-statehood). Of course still building knowledge but have been collecting since 1980. Air Mail is a favorite area, but not a limitation. Two specialty areas are Large Banknote issues, and Washington/Franklin identification. Strong experience in Carrier & Locals, Private Die (Also known as M&M for "Match & Medicine" but also includes some playing card and perfume stamp issues.) Recently have been building more back-of-book experience, especially around Official, Newspaper, Revenue and tax editions. Some covers, and cancellations, but not my strong suit. Another area I'm recently diving into. What I can't do: Anything non-US, as it's just not an area I focus on.


30+ years of learning the hard way. A lot of passion for collecting and dealing (as I do both). I don't consider it a hobby... I consider it a serious pursuit that I'm able to do in the hours I'm not occupied by annoying things like sleep. I work closely with some of the global leaders in the expertizing and identification field. Have co-authored several papers (with Mr. William Weiss Jr.) related to identification, as well as tool set to help with quickly identifying the more challenging areas of Washington Franklin. Strong experience in paper types and coil validation.

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Thousands and thousands of hours of pouring over hundreds of collections. 30+ years as a collector-to-dealer, avid student of philatelic study. Pre-1900 variation is fascinating, and it seems even after all these years, that I make some discovery every time I look at a new example. APS Summer Session - Fundamentals of Expertizing 2014

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