Custom Search


US Stamps

General Issues of 1910-1914


Definitive US stamps of the Third Bureau Series went through a number of changes in the period from 1910 through 1914.

In October 1910 the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing changed the type of watermark on the paper used for the production of postage stamps. 

The new watermarked paper contained the initials USPS in single-lined capital lettersUSPS, at this time, was the abbreviation for "United States Postage Stamp".  The illustration here shows what the single-lined watermark looks like within a pane of 100 postage stamps. 

Aside from being lightly impressed into the paper, these single-lined  letters are smaller and thinner than the letters used in the former double-lined watermarked paper.  They were not evenly aligned with each of the stamps, thus portions of these single-lined letters could fall between two stamps, on the far edges of a stamp, or just a small area of a stamp, causing the letter to be very difficult to locate, even with the use of a watermark tray and watermark fluid.

The easy way to break down the Third Bureau Series of 1908-1922 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 2 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.

The separation gauge of these stamps remained at Perforation 12 (Perforation 8-1/2 for some coils) throughout the 1910-1912 period.  With the introduction of the new single-lined watermarked paper in 1910 though, the current definitive postage stamps, up to the 15 Cent denomination, had to be re-issued.  They are shown directly below.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Single-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), 15 Cent (Pale Ultramarine).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin (1 Cent), George Washington (all other denominations).
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  374-382.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Single-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Panes of 100.
  • Separation Type:  Imperforate
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin (1 Cent), George Washington (2 Cent).
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  383-384.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Single-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Vertical Coils.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 12 Horizontally
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin (1 Cent), George Washington (2 Cent).
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  385-386.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Single-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Horizontal Coils.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 12 Vertically
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine), 3 Cent (Dark Violet).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin (1 Cent), George Washington (all other denominations).
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  387-389.

The used condition 3 Cent stamp shown at the right side of the scan above, along with the perforated 8-1/2 variety, are the first instances of the 3 Cent denomination being issued in coil format.  This stamp, single-line watermarked and perforated 12 vertically, is famously known as the Orangeburg Coil.

Only a small supply of these coils were sent to the post office at Orangeburg, N.Y., and very few of them were used.  From what I have read, I believe that only one mint pair and a small number of used condition examples exist today.  With the five-figure and six-figure price realizations these examples occasionally bring at major public auction firms, they are far beyond the reach of most collectors of US stamps today.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Single-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Vertical Coils.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 8-1/2 Horizontally
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin (1 Cent), George Washington (2 Cent).
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  390-391.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Single-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Horizontal Coils.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 8-1/2 Vertically
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine), 3 Cent (Dark Violet), 4 Cent (Orange Brown), 5 Cent (Blue).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin (1 Cent), George Washington (all other denominations).
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  392-396.

In 1912, it was decided to change the portrait on the 1 Cent denomination to that of George Washington, and to change the value tablets at the bottom of the design of the 1 Cent and 2 Cent denominations to express the value in numerals, instead of words.  This was apparently done to achieve more uniformity with the lower denominations of the Third Bureau Series of US Stamps.

Of course, this change required the re-issue of all the 1 Cent and 2 Cent denomination US stamps in all their current formats.

In 1914, the new 7 Cent denomination was added to the Third Bureau Series of US Stamps.  It is shown in the scan directly below.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Single-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Panes of 100.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 12
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine), 7 Cent (Black).
  • Designs: George Washington.
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  405-407.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Single-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Panes of 100.
  • Separation Type:  Imperforate
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine).
  • Designs: George Washington.
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  408-409.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Single-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Vertical Coils.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 8-1/2 Horizontally
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine).
  • Designs: George Washington.
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  410-411.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Single-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Horizontal Coils.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 8-1/2 Vertically.
  • Denominations:  1 Cent (Green), 2 Cent (Carmine).
  • Designs: George Washington.
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  412-413.

In early 1912, it was decided to replace the portrait of Washington on the higher denominations with that of Benjamin Franklin.  The portrait of George Washington would now be used for all the denominations from the 1 Cent through the 7 Cent, and that of Benjamin Franklin would be used on all the denominations from the 8 Cent through the 1 Dollar.

What now?  Issue MORE definitive US stamps with Benjamin Franklin's portrait to replace the former denominations with George Washington's portrait!


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Single-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Panes of 100.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 12
  • Denominations: 8 Cent (Olive Green), 9 Cent (Salmon Red, Rose Red), 10 Cent (Orange Yellow, Brown Yellow), 12 Cent (Claret Brown), 15 Cent (Gray), 20 Cent (Ultramarine), 30 Cent (Orange Red), 50 Cent (Violet).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin.
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  414-421.


  • Press Type:  Flat Plate
  • Printing Type:  Engraved
  • Paper Type:  White, Double-line USPS watermark.
  • Format Type:  Panes of 100.
  • Separation Type:  Perforated 12
  • Denominations: 50 Cent (Violet), 1 Dollar (Violet Brown).
  • Designs: Benjamin Franklin.
  • Scott Catalog Numbers:  422-423.




eBay Auction and Store Links

USA

The following link(s) feature category-focused affiliated seller listings on various eBay sites worldwide. They may enable visitors to shop for and to buy specific items for the particular collecting subject they've just read about. 

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.






Return to Modern US Stamps from
General Issues of 1910-1914






SBI!