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1867-1871 Grilled Issues

By 1867, the Post Office Department had become concerned that money was being lost every time someone washed the cancellation from a stamp and reused it. To thwart that practice, a grilling process was applied to certain U.S. stamps between 1867 and 1871.

A grill is an embossed impression created by a miniature "waffle iron" that breaks the paper fibers of the stamp. In theory, these broken fibers would absorb the ink cancellation and prevent reuse. In practice, the grills weakened the stamps - making them prone to tearing where the grill marks were implanted. The use of grills was discontinued in 1871 when more permanent canceling inks were developed. The U.S. was the first country to issue grilled stamps.

1869-1871 Grilled Issue

Grills exist in a variety of sizes, some are much scarcer than others.

Z Grill - 11 mm x 14 mm (13 to 14 x 17 to 18 points)
E Grill - 11 mm x 13 mm (14 x 15 to 17 points)
F Grill - 9 mm x 13 mm (11 to 12 x 15 to 17 points)
G Grill - 9.5 mm x 9 mm (12 x 11 to 11½ points)
H Grill - 10 mm x 12 mm (11 to 13 x 14 to 16 points)
I Grill - 8.5 mm x 10 mm (10 to 11 x 10 to 13 points)