1917-19 2¢ Washington
U.S. #500 was the result of an experiment on the flat plate issue of the 2¢ Washington with 11 gauge perforation. Type I master dies were beginning to wear out, so another die was produced by taking a particularly strong impression of a Type I with 10 subjects. A new transfer roll was then created. The result was an increase in pressure that produced a notable difference (see Type 1a below). Quantities of U.S. #500 are scarce – particularly for well-centered stamps.
The increased pressure with the experimental roll made the engraved lines of the designs appear deeper and wider, as if they had been re-cut. Washington’s toga button in particular appears much more defined on Type Ia stamps. The color is a deep rose carmine and centering is frequently quite poor. Overall detail is notably clearer than on Type I stamps.
Flat Plate, Perf. 11
The Bureau continued to use the 10 gauge perforation machines on flat plate stamp sheet even after 11 perf. stamps proved successful. In an effort to save money, they used the perf. 10 wheels until they wore out. Beginning in early 1917, stamps produced on flat plate presses were given 11 gauge perfs.
That marked the beginning of the flat plate perforated 11 Series of 1917-19 stamps. Perf. 12 had proven too flimsy, and perf. 10 was too difficult to separate without damaging the stamp, so perf. 11 became a satisfactory solution.
2¢ Washington, issued to satisfy the first-class mail rate
Earliest Documented Use: December 1919
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Flat plate, using plates of 400 with four panes of 100
Color: Deep rose