Stamps (Philately)/scott # 613


QUESTION: Ok, my dad collected stamps for a long time before he died and was always picking up stamp books in who knows where. He's been dead for a long time but was going thru old storage boxes and found a number of old scotts stamp alblums  ( so old they only went to 1935). I remember it from when i was a kid and i'm 56 now and i thought all this stuff was gone.
 In the 613 spot there is a harding, with written notes surrounding it stating it is or it is believed to be a 613. ( I remember the notes always being in the book and the only 2 people in this book to my knowledge  in the last 70 years was my dad and me, and we didn't write anything, until i recently showed it at a few stamp places). I took it to a few stamp places and it was measured and looked at and i was told the perforations matched up, it was a bit off center and  some thought it may be, others said no but all said they are not really sure.  To be honest i don't think they even knew what they were looking for and just excited  to check it out.  Some say send it away to be looked at , others say don't waste your money because the chances are so remote.  Any suggestions on my next step

ANSWER: Hi Mark,
 One quick and simple question, is the stamp cancelled or mint?

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

QUESTION: cancelled.

Ah, I see my mistake.  You were answering my question. :)
Haha.  Sorry for the misinterpretation.

Ok, so cancelled is one step in the right direction.

Obviously, the stamp has to be perf 11, but there were plenty of the 610's that are also perf 11.
So the only other identifying feature is the physical print width of the stamp.  All of the Hardings are 19 1/4mm height, but their width at 22 1/4mm (Flat plate printings) vs 22 1/2mm which is indicative of rotary press method (elongates either height or width depending on how the stamp is printed), and in this case its a width issue.

The possibility of a fake exists as well, with reperfing of perf 10's to appear as perf 11 in the rotary print.  That should be reasonably obvious though.

It all comes down to measurement of the image.  This requires a precision measuring method, and a reference stamp (the 610 in this case).  This is done by taking 3 precision measurements from left to right of the stamp image (image only, not including any gap from perf to image).  The measurement itself is actually easy, so long as you have the right instruments by which to do so.  What we use is a loop with an embedded mm gauge measurement indicator, which has 1/10th mm marks within it.  Very hard to find, in fact I got the one we're using from Bill Weiss (very close personal friend) before he passed away last year.

One thing you could try, if you have a high precision scanner, is scanning a 610 or 611 stamp and then scanning your target, use an image editor and compare the width of the image only (like Photoshop).  If you don't have the imaging software, but can scan (at least 600dpi) the 2 images, I am happy to give it a best efforts look, and at least advise if you should pursue the cost of certing it.  As I'm out of the country (my usual country is Japan, but I'm currently in the Middle East), it's not practical to have you send it to me as I will be away for several months.

But if you can scan the images at high resolution, side-by-side so they have the same overall pitch, I should be able to tell if there is reason enough to seek further.
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.

Member of APS #222356.

1870 - 1879 Large Banknote Issues - Easy Identification (co-authored with William Weiss Jr). Washington-Franklin - Easy Identification (co-authored with William Weiss Jr.) Detecting Fakes, Alterations and Counterfeits (APS Summer Session Expertizing Session materials with William Weiss Jr.)

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

Past/Present Clients
100's too numerous to mention.

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