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Study of the 3c green bank notes 1870-1881

I am in the process of writing up my research notes on the 3c bank notes and realize that I have undertaken a monumental task. The journey started some years back when I started collecting fancy cancels. One day I happened across a nice double transfer and decided I wanted to get more information about it. I started reading books, communicating with knowledgeable individuals, and obtaining as many articles as I could find. I was once told by a very knowledgeable collector that everything had been written about and that you just had to dig deep enough to find it. Nothing had been written about this double transfer. To make a long story short, I started looking very close at the stamps and started finding other varieties I could find no previous writing for. I frequently communicate with Ron Burns, the current leading scholar of the 3c bank notes, and sent him copies of what I was finding. There were a large number of items he had not seen before or had in his collection but never recognized before. Over the last several years we have been building a rather nice collection and finding examples on cover that helped us identify the time frame they were printed.

When I started the actual writing process, I was thinking I would have about 40 or 50 varieties to write up. I am just finishing a part of a chapter that deals with distinct double transfers and minor (common) double transfers and have a total of 46 of these alone. I still have to write up the transfer roll varieties (relief breaks) and the confirmed plate varieties. This will be the first time a person has assembled all the information, added additional information, and placed it into one writing to be shared with others.

This is my current world in stamps and I am loving it. How many ways can you collect one stamp? I don't have an exact answer but if you consider all the plate and printing varieties, papers, color, cancels, and postal uses on cover the number should extend into the thousands, enough to keep one person busy for a life time.


  • Well you are way ahead of me in my dabbling in the 2c 1st bureau issues. I did get a response back from Ken Diehl though, I'm not even sure there will be anyone to study these seriously after he is gone. I'm not sure of his age currently, but I hope he will be around for a long time. He was responsible for the adding of the 279B type IV variety to the Scott catalog, as well as the fairly newly listed watermark varieties of 279Be. He also created a really nice color guide for the 2c's.

    Anyway regarding your 3c studies:you should post some scans of the double transfers as well as other interesting varieties you have discovered. I know this will garner more interest. I always check out a thread if I see lots of stamps photos. If I were a little more prolific with nice sharp scans I'd probably post more myself. HMMM I will have to do that, although my color variations are hard to show online unless they have a comparative example of a different shade.

    With the 279B's I think there are still other shades that deserve their own Sc #'s but there are so many in between shades. Everyone sees differently too which complicates the matter even more. I will say the Rose Carmine shade is very distinctive, and I have only found 2 examples that I'm sure of . I have NEVER seen the Orange Brown shade(279Bi). Ken has noted it is probably rarer than the Rose Carmine. I believe it!
  • I'll work at coming up with some scans that will show some detail and attempt to get them posted.

    I am just as much interested in what you are doing with one stamp. Certainly, besides color differences, the 279 must have printing and plate varieties. I have stayed away from the bureaus but I can certainly see it as an interesting area to look at. I was on the USPCS web site and found some information about the 279. I don't know if your a member but if not I will get what I can and pass it on to you.
  • Are you talking about the 1c (279) or the 2c (279B varieties)? I don't know much about the 1c or the varieties other than the watermak variation that is found on both.
  • I am sorry. The 279B. It was a .pdf file of all the EDU/EKUs for numbers 1-700.
  • Is that the Alan Berkun list?
  • Yes.
  • I thought so, I have some earlier dates on some stuff but I never get around to sending it for certs(my name is actually mentioned on the Berkun list, here and there, if you look).
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