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Spotlight on the1923 Harding Memorial issue

The Harding Memorial stamps were issued less than a month after the death of President Harding. Despite the commemorative nature of the stamp as a memorial issue, many collectors consider these stamps part of the Fourth Bureau Issue due to the design similarities. The same portrait and general design were used immediately afterwards for the 1-1/2¢ values in the series, before being replaced by a more full-faced portrait in 1930.

Scott 610, 2¢ flat plate, perforated, plate number 15164

Scott 610 var, 2¢ flat plate, perforated, plate number 14988 B (LR) with extra 8.

Image courtesy of Lawrence H. Cohen

Scott 610, 2¢ flat plate, perforated, showing different positioning of bottom plate numbers from LL plate 14857 ("left" or Type I) and LR plate 14857 ("centered" or Type II). For most flat plate Harding Memorial stamps, it is possible to determine which plate was used based on plate number position and other characteristics.

Images courtesy of Lawrence H. Cohen.

Scott 610 var, imperforate error. A single UL imperforate error pane of Scott 610 was discovered, before Scott 611 was issued. The plate number was 14870, which was not used to print Scott 611. The only way to tell the difference between intentional imperforate 2¢ Hardings (Scott 611) and the error imperforate 2¢ Hardings is through the plate number. A left plate block of 6 and top plate block of 6 are known. Individual imperforate Scott 610's cannot be distinguished from Scott 611's without the plate number; as a result, Scott does not assign a minor catalog number to the error.

Scott 610 var, paper fold before printing and perforating, plate number 14994

Scott 611, 2¢ flat plate imperforate, plate number 15027

Scott 611 var, 2¢ flat plate imperforate, local precancel, plate number 15019

Scott 611 var, 2¢ flat plate, imperforate, with Schermack Type III oblong perforations, plate number 15025

Scott 612, 2¢ rotary press, perforated 10, plate number 14866

Scott 612 var, 2¢ rotary press, Bureau precancel, plate number 14901

Scott 612 var, gutter snipe, plate number 14866

Image courtesy of Bill Langs

Scott 612, misperfed horizontally and vertically, plate number 14995

Scott 613, 2¢ rotary press, perforated 11: It is not known which of the eight rotary press plates was used to print Scott 613. Only 45 copies are known, 41 singles and two pairs. (The Philatelic Foundation web site illustrates a used strip of 3, but it is believed to have been broken up.) None has a plate number.


Related links:

Fourth Bureau Series - Rotary Press issues

1920s commemoratives


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This page last updated May 29, 2021.


Opinions expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of the APNSS, its officers or members.