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The Great Americans series

The Great Americans series began in 1980 with the 19¢ Sequoyah stamp, and continued through 2002 with the 78¢ Alice Paul self-adhesive stamp. This was a period of changing printing technology, with several long-used BEP rotary presses being replaced by more modern presses, and ultimately, by private security printers. It is possible to follow the complete transition just through the stamps in this series.

The 1¢ Dix, 6¢, 7¢, 9¢, 10¢ Russell, 14¢ Lewis and 22¢ issues were printed by presses which used a "floating" plate number. The plate numbers, usually "1", appear only in the left and right margins, and there is no corner selvage as with other stamps in the Great Americans series. In addition, some of the early 20¢ Truman, 30¢, 39¢ and 40¢ Gilbreth stamps were printed with floating plate numbers, while later printings of the same stamps utilized standard plate layouts.

Scott 1844, 1¢ Dorothea Dix, bulls-eye perf 11.2, plate number 1

Scott 1844c, 1¢ Dix, "L" perf 10.9, small block tagging, plate number 1

Scott 1844c var, 1¢ Dix, "L" perf 10.9, small block tagging, local precancel, plate number 1

Scott 1844d, 1¢ Dix, "L" perf 10.9, large block tagging, plate number 2

Scott 1844d var, 1¢ Dix, misperfed horizontally, plate number 2

Scott 1844b, 1¢ Dix, imperf horizontally between error, plate number 2

Scott 2168, 1¢ Margaret Mitchell, brownish vermilion, plate number 1

Scott 2168b var, 1¢ Mitchell, red brown, local precancel, plate number 1

Scott 1845, 2¢ Igor Stravinsky, plate number 4

Scott 1845 var, 2¢ Stravinsky, local precancel, plate number 2

Scott 1845 var, 2¢ Stravinsky, misperfed vertically, captured plate number 3

Scott 2169, 2¢ Mary Lyon, large block tagging, plate number 1

Scott 2169 var, 2¢ Mary Lyon, local precancel, plate number 1

Scott 2169 var, 2¢ Mary Lyon, misperfed due to paper fold, plate number 1

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 2169a, 2¢ Mary Lyon, untagged, plate number 3

Scott 2169b, 2¢ Mary Lyon, tagging omitted error, plate number 1

Scott 1846, 3¢ Henry Clay, plate number 1

Scott 1846 var, 3¢ Clay, misperfed vertically, captured plate number 2

Scott 2170, 3¢ Dr. Paul Dudley White, large block tagging, plate number 1

Scott 2170 var, 3¢ White, large block tagging, misperfed horizontally, plate number 1

Scott 2170 var, 3¢ White, under-inked, plate number 2

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 2170a, 3¢ Dr. Paul Dudley White, untagged, plate number 4

Scott 2170a var, 3¢ White, untagged, underinked error, plate number 3

Scott 2170a var, 3¢ White, gummed over underinked printing, plate number 3

Scott 1847, 4¢ Carl Schurz, plate number 4

Scott 1847 var, 4¢ Schurz, misperfed vertically, captured plate number 1

Scott 1847 var, 4¢ Schurz, misperfed vertically, plate number 2

Scott 2171, 4¢ Father Flanagan, blue violet, large block tagging, plate number 1

Scott 2171 var, 4¢ Flanagan, blue violet, large block tagging, misperfed horizontally, plate number 1

Scott 2171a, 4¢ Flanagan, grayish violet, untagged, plate number 2

Scott 1848, 5¢ Pearl Buck, plate number 3

Scott 1848 var, misperfed vertically, captured plate number 1

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 1848 var, misperfed horizontally, plate number 2

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 2172, 5¢ Hugo L. Black, plate number 1

Scott 2172 var, 5¢ Black, misperfed horizontally, plate number 1

Scott 2173, 5¢ Luis Muñoz Marin, plate number 2

Scott 1849, 6¢ Walter Lippmann, plate number 1

Scott 1850, 7¢ Abraham Baldwin, plate number 1

Scott 1851, 8¢ Henry Knox, plate number 6

Scott 1852, 9¢ Sylvanus Thayer, plate number 1

Scott 1853, 10¢ Richard Russell, plate number 1

Scott 2175, 10¢ Red Cloud, lake, plate number 1. The block tagging can be seen in this image.

Scott 2175 var, 10¢ Red Cloud, local precancel, plate number 1

Scott 2175 var, 10¢ Red Cloud, lake, miscut (wide gutter, only 90 stamps in the pane), plate number 1

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 2175a, 10¢ Red Cloud, lake, plate number 1. The overall tagging can be seen in this image.

Scott 2175c, 10¢ Red Cloud, lake, prephosphored coated paper, dull gum, plate number 2

Scott 2175d, 10¢ Red Cloud, lake, prephosphored uncoated paper, shiny gum, plate number 2

Scott 2175e, 10¢ Red Cloud, carmine, prephosphored uncoated paper, shiny gum, plate number 2

Scott 1854, 11¢ Alden Partridge, plate number 5

Scott 1854 var, 11¢ Partridge, misperfed horizontally, plate number 4

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 1855, 13¢ Crazy Horse, plate number 1

Scott 1855 var, 13¢ Crazy Horse, misperfed vertically, captured plate number 2

Scott 1856, 14¢ Sinclair Lewis, small block tagging, plate number 1

Scott 1856 var, 14¢ Sinclair Lewis, misperfed horizontally, plate number 1

Scott 1856a, 14¢ Sinclair Lewis, large block tagging, plate number 1

Scott 1856b, 14¢ Lewis, imperforate horizontally error, plate number 1

Scott 2176, 14¢ Julia Ward Howe, plate number 2

Scott 2177, 15¢ Buffalo Bill Cody, prephosphored tagging, plate number 2

Scott 2177a, 15¢ Cody, overall tagging, plate number 2

Scott 1857, 17¢ Rachel Carson, plate number 15

Scott 1857 var, 17¢ Rachel Carson, misperfed vertically, captured plate number 13

Scott 2178, 17¢ Belva Ann Lockwood, plate number 1

Scott 2178 var, 17¢ Belva Ann Lockwood, misperfed horizontally, plate number 1

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 1858, 18¢ George Mason, plate number 2

Scott 1858 var, 18¢ Mason, misperfed vertically, plate number 6

Scott 1858 var, 18¢, misperfed horizontally and miscut, plate numbers 3 and 4 from different panes

Scott 1859, 19¢ Sequoyah, plate number 39529

This was the only stamp in the Great Americans series printed with the traditional 5-digit plate number. The transition to "representative" plate numbers started shortly after it was issued. Other stamps in this series usually started with plate number 1 for each issue.

Scott 1860, 20¢ Ralph Bunche, plate number 10

Scott 1860 var, 20¢, misperfed vertically, plate number 3

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 1860 var, 20¢ Bunche, misperfed due to foldover, plate number 6

Scott 1861, 20¢ Thomas H. Gallaudet, plate number 1

Scott 1861 var, 20¢ Thomas H. Gallaudet, misperfed vertically, captured plate number 2

Scott 1861 var, 20¢ Gallaudet, misperfed horizontally, plate number 1

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 1861 var, 20¢ Gallaudet, plate number 1, showing chrome stain in lower margin caused by pitting of the chrome plating when the plates are cleaned.

Scott 1862, 20¢ Harry S Truman, perf 10.9, block tagged, plate number 1

Scott 1862a, 20¢ Harry S Truman, large block tagged, plate number 3

Scott 1862b, 20¢ Harry S Truman, bulls-eye perf 11.2, overall tagged, plate number 2

Scott 1862d, 20¢ Harry S Truman, bulls-eye perf 11.2, prephosphored, plate number 4

Scott 2179, 20¢ Virginia Apgar, red brown, plate number B3

Scott 2179a, 20¢ Virginia Apgar, orange brown, plate number B2

Not only is the color of Scott 2179a slightly different, but the plate layout, selvage size, and plate number font were also changed.

Scott 2180, 21¢, plate number 1

Scott 1863, 22¢ Audubon, small block tagging, perf 11, plate number 1

Scott 1863b, 22¢ Audubon, large block tagging, perf 11.2, plate number 3

Scott 1863d, 22¢ Audubon, imperf horizontally between error, plate number 1

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 2181, 23¢ Mary Cassatt, plate number 1

Scott 2182, 25¢ Jack London, large block tagging, plate number 1

Scott 2182 var, 25¢ London, large block tagging, miscut, plate number 1

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 2182 var, 25¢ London, perf 11, from booklet pane of 10 (Scott 2182a), plate number 1

Scott 2182 var, 25¢ London, perf 11, untagged error from booklet pane of 10 (Scott 2182b), plate number 3

Scott 2197, 25¢ London, large block tagging, perf 10 (from booklet pane of 6 (Scott 2197a), plate number 1

Scott 2183, 28¢ Sitting Bull, plate number 1

Scott 2184, 29¢ Earl Warren, plate number S2

Scott 2185, 29¢ Jefferson, plate number S1

Scott 1864, 30¢ Frank Laubach, perf 11, small block tagging, plate number 1

Scott 1864a, 30¢ Laubach, bulls-eye perf 11.2, large block tagging, plate number 2

Scott 1864b, 30¢ Laubach, bulls-eye perf 11.2, overall tagging, plate number 2

Scott 2933, 32¢ Milton S. Hershey, plate number B2

Scott 2934, 32¢ Cal Farley, plate number B1

Scott 2935, 32¢ Henry R. Luce, plate number B1

Scott 2936, 32¢ Lila and DeWitt Wallace, plate number P1

Scott 1865, 35¢ Dr. Charles Drew, plate number 2

Scott 2186, 35¢ Dennis Chavez, plate number S1

Scott 1866, 37¢ Robert Millikan, plate number 2

Scott 1866 var, 37¢ Millikan, misperfed vertically, plate number 1

Scott 1866 var, 37¢ Millikan, misperfed vertically, captured plate number 3

Scott 1867, 39¢ Grenville Clark, perf 10.9, small block tagging, plate number 1

Scott 1867, 39¢ Clark, perf 10.9, small block tagging, misperfed vertically, captured plate number 1

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 1867 var, 39¢ Clark, misperfed horizontally, plate number 1

Scott 1867 var, 39¢ Clark, misperfed horizontally, plate number 1

Scott 1867d, 39¢ Clark, bulls-eye perf 11.2, large block tagging, plate number 2

Scott 1868, 40¢ Lillian M. Gilbreth, perf 10.9, small block tagging, plate number 1

Scott 1868a, 40¢ Lillian M. Gilbreth, bulls-eye perf 11.2, large block tagging, plate number 2

Scott 2187, 40¢ Claire Chennault, plate number 2

Scott 2188, 45¢ Harvey Cushing, bright blue, block tagging, plate number 1

Scott 2188a, 45¢ Cushing, blue, overall tagging, plate number 1

Scott 2938, 46¢ Ruth Benedict, plate number 1

Scott 1869, 50¢ Chester W. Nimitz, plate number 4

Scott 1869 var, 50¢ Chester W. Nimitz, misperfed horizontally at bottom, plate number 3

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 1869 var, 50¢ Chester W. Nimitz, misperfed horizontally at top, plate number 4

Image courtesy of Stuart Katz

Scott 1869a, 50¢ Nimitz, bullseye perf, plate number 1

Scott 2189, 52¢ Hubert Humphrey, uniform prephosphored, plate number 1

Scott 2189a, 52¢ Humphrey, mottled prephosphored, plate number 2

Scott 2940, 55¢ Dr. Alice Hamilton, plate number B3

Scott 2940a, 55¢ Hamilton, imperforate error, plate number B2

Scott 2941, 55¢ Justin Morrill, plate number B1

Scott 2190, 56¢ John Harvard, plate number 1

Scott 2191, 65¢ Hap Arnold, plate number 1

Scott 2192, 75¢ Wendell Willkie, plate number 1

Scott 2942, 77¢, plate number B1

Scott 2943, 78¢, bright violet, plate number B1

Scott 2943 var, 78¢, bright violet, plate number B1 showing unusual reverse offset from a previously printed pane

Scott 2943a, 78¢, dull violet, plate number B1

Scott 2943b, 78¢, pale violet, plate number B1

Scott 2193, $1 Bernard Revel, plate number 1

Scott 2194, $1 Johns Hopkins, plate number 1

Scott 2194 var, $1 Johns Hopkins, misperfed horizontally, plate number 1

Scott 2194 var, $1 Johns Hopkins, misperfed horizontally, plate number 1

Scott 2194 var, $1 Johns Hopkins, local precancel, plate number 1

Scott 2194f, $1 Johns Hopkins, plate number 2

Scott 2195, $2, plate number 2

Scott 2196, $5, plate number 1

Scott 2196 var, $5 local precancel, plate number 1

Scott 2196b, $5, solid tagging, plate number 2

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This page last updated September 12, 2019.