Card Proofs of the
19th Century

By Greg Waldecker

Presented to the Tidewater Virginia Stamp Club
February 10, 2015

Scott 205-209

A new design for the five cent stamp was adopted in 1882 following the assassination of President James A. Garfield. Prior to that, the plates for the one, three, six and ten cent stamp were deepened to allow for stronger impressions and easier wiping of the plates.38  The stamps from this group would have been included in all printings except the one in 1879, which preceded the release of these stamps.

The following information applies to this series:

Scott Number Denomination Color
205P4 Five cents Yellow Brown
206P4 One cent Blue
207P4 Three cents Blue Green
208P4 Six cents Rose
209P4 Ten cents Brown
Scott 205P4 
Yellow Brown
Scott 206P4 
Scott 207P4 
Blue Green
Scott 208P4 
Scott 209P4 
Scott 210-211

On March 3, 1883, Congress approved a reduction in the letter rate, stipulating that it would now be two cents for the first half ounce with each half ounce thereafter being charged the same rate. In October, 1883, the USPOD directed that Washington’s portrait be used on the two cent stamp and instructed that Andrew Jackson be used on a new four cent stamp which would meet the double rate requirement. These Scott 210 and 211, respectively39 .

These stamps would have had card proofs prepared for the last four printings. Determination of printing is made by measurement of the card stock used.

Scott Number Denomination Color
210P4 Two cents Red Brown
211P4 Four cents Green
Scott 210P4 
Red Brown
Scott 211P4 
Scott 212-218

In 1887, a new design was issued for the one cent stamp. Additionally, the USPOD decreed new colors for the two cent, four cent, five cent, thirty cent and ninety cent stamps. 40 

The one cent is extremely rare as a card proof and is the key to a collection. It is sometimes offered as a card proof but is in reality a hybrid, being an India proof mounted on card. 41 

The following listing provides the basic information about this series:

Scott Number Denomination Color
212P4 One cent Ultramarine
213P4 Two cents Green
214P4 Three cents Vermillion
215P4 Four cents Carmine
216P4 Five cents Indigo
217P4 Thirty cents Orange Brown
218P4 Ninety cents Purple
Scott 212P4 
Scott 213P4 
Scott 214P4 
Scott 215P4 
Scott 216P4 
Scott 217P4 
Orange Brown
Scott 218P4 
1890-93 Issues
The Small Bank Note Series
American Bank Note Company (ABNC)

In 1889, the USPOD put out for bid the new contract with more stringent requirements, specifying the colors to be used for each denomination and requesting large size stamps, as were currently being used, and a new smaller size, which ultimately would be adopted. After a failure by the original contract winner to meet requirements, a second request for bids was made and would ultimately be awarded the ABNC as their price was substantially under that of the only other bidder. At the end of the day, the USPOD decided to go with the smaller size stamps as that offered further savings. 42 

The following information is germane to this issue:

Scott Number Denomination Color
219P4 One cent Ultramarine
219DP4 Two cents Lake
220P4 Two cents Carmine
221P4 Three cents Purple
222P4 Four cents Dark Brown
223P4 Five cents Chocolate
224P4 Six cents Brown Red
225P4 Eight cents Lilac
226P4 Ten cents Green
227P4 Fifteen cents Indigo
228P4 Thirty cents Black
229P4 Ninety cents Orange
Scott 219P4 
Scott 219DP4 
Scott 220P4 
Scott 221P4 
Scott 222DP4 
Dark Brown
Scott 223P4 
Scott 224P4 
Brown Red
Scott 225DP4 
Scott 226P4 
Scott 227P4 
Scott 228DP4 
Scott 229P4 

38 Luff, 109-110; Brookman, Vol. III, p. 17
39  Luff, p. 112; Brookman, Vol. III, pp. 5, 11
40  Luff, p. 114
41 Snee, p. 759

Next Page