U.S. # 4787-88b
2013 46¢ Civil War: 1863 Imperforate
Civil War Sesquicentennial
Although the Civil War would continue for nearly two years, the Confederacy suffered two stunning blows in as many days in 1863.
In the first battle, the South struck deep into enemy territory before suffering devastating losses at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. During the three-day battle, Robert E. Lee’s full strength was concentrated against the Army of the Potomac. Although they breached the Union line on July 3, Confederate troops were unable to withstand withering artillery during “Pickett’s Charge.” Nearly one third of Lee’s army was casualties. During their retreat, their train of wounded Confederate soldiers stretched for more than fourteen miles.
In the West, Grant’s army had laid siege to Vicksburg, a key town along the Mississippi River. His men tried to battle their way into the fortified town in early spring, but the obstacles were insurmountable. Grant then tried to tunnel his army in, but that failed as well. The Union general then had his troops surround the town, cutting off its supply line, and begin a daily artillery assault. On July 4, after a 47-day siege, Confederate General John C. Pemberton surrendered. With its victory, the Union took control of the Mississippi River and severed the Confederacy in half.
Designed by art director Phil Jordan, the 2013 Civil War stamps feature the same format as previous issues, including traditional artwork. The Gettysburg stamp pictures an 1887 chromolithograph by Thure de Thustrup while the Vicksburg image was taken from an 1863 Currier and Ives lithograph. The selvage on the front of the pane pictures a Matthew Brady photo of Confederate prisoners at Gettysburg. There are also quotes from battlefield nurse Clara Barton, President Abraham Lincoln, Rufus Dawes, and William Tunnard (solders from each of the honored battles). The back of the pane tells the story of the two battles.
Value: 46¢ 1-ounce first-class letter rate
Issued: May 23, 2013
First Day City: Gettysburg, PA and Vicksburg, MS
Type of Stamp: Commemorative
Printed by: Ashton Potter USA Ltd.
Method: Photogravure printing in sheets of 72 in 6 panes of 12 (60 on one side, 12 on the other)
These stamps were the third set in the five-year series commemorating the Civil War’s major battles. Each year, two significant battles from 150 years prior were honored with sheets similar to this one.
Scarce Modern Imperforates
The modern imperforate stamps are one of the hottest stories around. In 2012, the U.S. Postal Service released some issues as press sheets. The sheets with die cut perforations were issued in limited quantities.
To the surprise of many collectors, officials then issued a small number of press sheets without perforations. The uncut sheets were only available in Kansas City, Missouri, yet most sold out immediately. In an instant, the imperforate stamp sheets became modern rarities. For example, only 75,000 Baseball All-Star se-tenant sheets were issued compared to 118,000 Bugs Bunny sheets with the 10th stamp imperforate.
In a controversial move, the editors of Scott Catalogue announced they would not list or give numbers to these stamps because they did not fit Scott guidelines. This decision was strongly debated since the imperforate stamps are valid for postage. They eventually decided to give the stamps minor numbers and have continued issuing imperforates in the years since.
Because they were issued in such limited quantities, these scarce modern imperforates can be difficult to find. Luckily Mystic purchased a small number of each imperforate stamp issued so you can add these modern rarities to your collection. Be one of the lucky few – order today.