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Distinguishing the 1847 First Issues from the 1875 Reprints

To publicize the 1876 Philadelphia Exposition celebrating 100 years of American independence, the Post Office Department planned to sell examples of the first U.S. stamps issued. But much to its dismay, the printing plates for U.S. #1 and #2 could not be found. Subtle design differences on the authorized reprints sold at the Centennial Expo distinguish #3 and #4 from the 1847 originals.


1847 5¢ Franklin (#1) vs 1875 5¢ Franklin (#3)
US #1   US #3
US #1 - 5¢ Franklin, the white shirt frill touches the oval between the "F" and "I" in "FIVE", well below the level of the reprint.   US #3 - 5¢ Franklin reprint, the white shirt frill touches the oval about on a level with the top of the figure "5". On the original, it touches the oval on a level with the top of the "F" of "FIVE".


1847 10¢ Washington (#2) vs 1875 10¢ Washington (#4)
US #2   US #4
US #2 - 10¢ Washington - On the original, the neckline of coat points to the "T" of "TEN".   US #4 - 10¢ Washington reprint, the neckline of the coat touches the oval above "X". The eyes have a sleepy look and the line of the mouth is straighter.