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US Stamps

General Issues of 1908-1910


Definitive US stamps went through an astounding transition during 1908.

Let's take a look at the following scenario ...

Let's say we will completely get rid of the beautiful definitive postage stamp issues of 1902-1903.  Now, we can replace them all with a brand new series of definitive postage stamps, ranging in denominations from the 1 Cent through the 1 Dollar.  We will make the stamps different colors, but they will all have identical frames and vignettes containing the same left-facing portrait busts of either George Washington or Benjamin Franklin.  Then, we can spend the next 14 years, putting these monotonous looking stamps through so many production permeations that philatelists a hundred years from now will hardly ever be able to decipher them all.  All this sounds too insane to ever happen.  Right?  But, it did!


These definitive US stamp issues of 1908-1922, printed by the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing, are referred to by stamp collectors and philatelists as the Third Bureau Series.  They are also frequently called the Washington-Franklin Issues.

The easy way to break these down is to separate the major varieties into groups, and that is the way they will be presented in the Modern US Stamps section of this website.  The four groups, by perforation types, are as follows:

  • Group 1 - Stamps printed on double-lined USPS watermarked paper that are all perforated 12.
  • Group 2 - Stamps printed on single-lined USPS watermarked paper that are either perforated 12 or perforated 8-1/2 (on some coils).
  • Group 3 - Stamps printed on either watermarked or unwatermarked paper that are perforated 10, with the exception of some coils that are perforated 8-1/2.
  • Group 4 - Stamps printed on unwatermarked paper that are perforated 11 (with some exceptions).

This webpage will focus on the US stamps in Group 1 above.

Describing the stamps individually, as done in previous pages in this section, would be repetitious and unnecessary.  For this page, and the other pages about the Third Bureau Series, the different stamp issues and varieties will either be described with text or by the aid of tables containing their technical attributes.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Double-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Panes of 100.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 12
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine), 3 Cent (Violet), 4 Cent (Orange Brown), 5 Cent (Blue), 6 Cent (Red Orange), 8 Cent (Olive Green), 10 Cent (Yellow), 13 Cent (Blue Green), 15 Cent (Pale Ultramarine), 50 Cent (Violet), 1 Dollar (Violet Brown).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin (1 Cent), George Washington (all other denominations).
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  331-342.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Double-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Panes of 100.
  • Separation Type:  Imperforate
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine), 3 Cent (Violet), 4 Cent (Orange Brown), 5 Cent (Blue).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin (1 Cent), George Washington (all other denominations).
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  343-347.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Double-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Vertical Coils.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 12 Horizontally
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine), 4 Cent (Orange Brown), 5 Cent (Blue).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin (1 Cent), George Washington (all other denominations).
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  348-351.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Double-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Horizontal Coils.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 12 Vertically
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine), 4 Cent (Orange Brown), 5 Cent (Blue), 10 Cent (Yellow).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin (1 Cent), George Washington (all other denominations).
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  352-356.

These early coil stamps can be very expensive.  As a result, forgeries made from jumbo margin perforated 12 stamps and imperforated stamps are abundant.  Buying certified examples of the higher priced coil stamps is recommended.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  Blued (Grayish Blue) 35% Rag Stock, Double-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Panes of 100.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 12.
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine), 3 Cent (Violet), 4 Cent (Orange Brown), 5 Cent (Blue), 6 Cent (Red Orange), 8 Cent (Olive Green), 10 Cent (Yellow), 13 Cent (Blue Green), 15 Cent (Pale Ultramarine).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin (1 Cent), George Washington (all other denominations).
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  357-366.  Not all are shown in the scan above.

With the exception of the 1 Cent and 2 Cent denominations, all of these so-called bluish paper varieties are very rare, with some of them costing in the tens of thousands of dollars.  Absolutely DO NOT buy any of these stamps that are not authenticated.



eBay Auction and Store Links

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The affiliated eBay seller auction lots provided by eBay, Inc. are not the responsibility of the management of this website.  On high priced material, make sure the lots you are buying are properly authenticated.






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General Issues of 1908-1910






SBI!