US postal - Philatelic Research

    Study guide: The US 1851-57, 3 Washington Issue

          (book by jpcohen)

  3 Washington Die Essay

Steel engraving & printing die

F3c Essay

Steel Die, Scott 11-E2

Description: Original engraved steel die for the 1851 essay (Scott Catalogue 11-E2). 

Philatelist Clarence W. Brazier attributed this die to the original engraving/printing firm federally contracted to produce postage stamps, Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson. But correspondence between that firm and Postmaster General N. K. Hall confirms that this was not the case.

Research by Roy Weber et al. concludes that Henry Benner of Washington, D.C. was the actual engraver. He was one of the seven competitors for the 1851 contract cited in John Marron's 1857 documentation of the bidding process.

Not only does Benner stand out as the obvious candidate because the background shading was produced by a ruling machine, rather than the typical geometric lathe used by bank note engravers. [The remaining competitors were all bank note engraving firms whose work never featured this vignette of George Washington and whose archives  especially that of the American Bank Note Company never held the die.] But meticulous genealogical research has proved the family relationship of all names associated with this collection of objects [Henry and Edwin Benner, Samuel Tiller] and the provenance of the die.

Scott Catalogue USA: 11-E2

Date: May 13, 1918
Medium: paper; ink (carmine rose and blue)/ engraving; adhesive
Museum ID: 0.217665.1
Collection: National Postal Museum (SI) (
a Smithsonian Institution museum)

The artifacts shown on this page are owned by the US public as part of the National Postal Museum : The National Postal Museum, a Smithsonian Institution museum, is located in the old Post Office building next to Union Station in Washington, D.C. The Museum was created by an agreement between the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Postal Service in 1990 and opened to the public in 1993.

 JPCohen - 3 1851 stamp project: We continue Dr. Chase's work on the 1851 3 Washington stamp; offering a fresh look at this important US postal issue. This is perhaps the most collected US stamp ever issued. Currently we have over 3000 reference items in my personal research library, with a goal is to make them reviewable here at this site. We have two plate reconstructions in progress plate 2 and 3. If you have any singles from these plates contact us today, we would like to consider an acquisition or your gift in kind. UPDATE! You can now download a free sample copy of our book, before its even published!

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last updated:06/04/12. APS #210296, USPCS #4353, GRSC #618Richmond Virtual Village ( logo

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