- The Washington 3 cent stamp purple, produced from coil waste, is a reflection of the U.S Post Office Department’s frugality.
- The stamp’s value varies depending on its condition – unused hinged, used, or never-hinged.
- Despite the catalog value, the actual market value of the stamp can be influenced by its centering and condition.
- An unusual first-class letter rate drop in 1919 lends added historic significance to this stamp.
Delving into the History of the Washington 3 Cent Stamp Purple
The Washington 3 cent stamp purple (Scott 541) is a fascinating piece of philatelic history, bearing the visage of one of America’s most iconic leaders, George Washington. The stamp, made from coil waste, was a testament to the frugal practices of the U.S Post Office Department. The rotary press stamps were printed on unwatermarked paper, perforated gauge 11 by 10, and issued in panes of 170.
Assessing the Washington 3 Cent Stamp Purple Value
In the realm of philately, the condition of a stamp plays a crucial role in determining its value. According to the 2017 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers, the Washington 3 cent stamp purple is valued at $40 in unused hinged condition. The stamp in a used condition fetches around $32.50, and when in a never-hinged condition, its value appreciates to $100.
However, these catalog values serve as a mere guide, and the actual market value of the stamp can vary depending on several factors such as its centering, the rarity of its condition, and the demand among collectors.
Understanding the Impact of Centering on Value
The majority of the Washington 3 cent stamp purple issue is not well-centered. This was a result of the haphazard perforation process of the unusual 170-stamp panes, where little consideration was given to centering. Consequently, stamps graded as very fine or better were often accidental.
Unused hinged stamps in the grade of very fine are typically a good purchase in the $30-$40 range. The never-hinged examples are more valuable, fetching prices between $80 and $100. Used examples, while cataloged at a lower value, can often sell in the $40-$50 range due to their relative rarity, proving that they may be undervalued.
A Historic Rate Drop and Its Significance
An intriguing aspect of the Washington 3 cent stamp purple’s history is its issue date of June 14, 1919, and the subsequent drop in the first-class letter rate to 2¢ on July 1, 1919. This was only the second instance in U.S. history that the first-class letter rate dropped, the first being in 1883, and the most recent in 2016.
This historic rate drop lends an added layer of significance to the Washington 3 cent stamp purple. As such, the Scott U.S. Specialized catalog value of $100 for a single franking used on first-class mail may be quite low, considering this unique historical context.
The Philatelic Appeal of the Washington 3 Cent Stamp Purple
For philatelists and history buffs alike, the Washington 3 cent stamp purple offers a tantalizing combination of historical significance, production rarity, and market intrigue. Its value reflects not just its physical condition but also the fascinating history it encapsulates. Whether for investment or personal collection, this stamp remains a compelling piece of philatelic and American history.