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Newly recognized shade of a Scott 381 postmarked on May 12, 1912

The following article written by Kevin G. Lowther was recently published in the United States Stamp Society.
Three Authenticated Washington-Franklin Shades To Be Listed in Scott’s 2023 Specialized Catalogue

by Kevin G. Lowther

Collectors of Washington-Franklin shades have three newly-listed varieties to hunt: Scott 381a, 474a and 512c. The first is previously unknown; the second is scarce; and the latter is common, but has languished for a century without proper identification. All will appear in Scott’s 2023 Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps & Covers.

Scott 381a is the latest brown-yellow 10c Washington-Franklin whose ink has been analyzed by forensic philatelist Harry G. Brittain. The stamp was used on a May 12, 1912 cover (Figure 1) authenticated in 2022 by Philatelic Stamp Authentication and Grading. The registered cover was mailed in Provincetown, Mass., by a Navy doctor to his wife in the Boston suburb of Dorchester.

Figure 1. The discovery example of the brown-yellow variety of Scott 381 was found on this 1912 cover posted in Provincetown, Massachusetts. USSS member Harry G. Brittain analyzed the ink on the 10c stamp. PSAG issued a certificate of authentication in April 2022.

Brown-yellow varieties in my collection also have been authenticated recently, on cover, for Scott 338, 416, 433, 510 and now 381. The shade had been unknown, on or off cover, for Scott 338, 381 and 433.

Scott 474a (Figure 2) is a distinct copper red in contrast with the common claret brown shade. This was described as a scarce, unlisted shade when I obtained it in a 1971 Siegel auction. The American Philatelic Expertizing Service concurred in 2021 that the stamp is copper red. (Jim Kloetzel, Scott’s emeritus editor who oversees U. S. listings, also has copper red shades in his reference collection.)

Figure 2. The scarce copper red shade of Scott 474, shown on the right along with the normal claret brown color, is now recognized by Scott as 474a. The stamp was authenticated in 2021 by the American Philatelic Expertizing Service.

Scott 512c covers a range of claret reds, which had never been recognized in Scott. When I shared a gallery of Scott 512 claret reds (Figure 3) with Kloetzel, he agreed that they merit a small-letter designation. The claret reds now keep company with the claret browns (Scott 512) and brown carmines (Scott 512a). Scott 512b is already allocated to the ultra-rare perf 10 at top or bottom.

Figure 3. Scott 512 and 512a are long-standing listings for the claret brown and carmine brown shades of the perf 11 12c stamp, respectively. This block of four, in a claret red shade, was among claret red stamps presented by the author to Scott’s Jim Kloetzel to support designation of a small-letter Scott listing. The common claret reds are now listed as 512c.

Kloetzel, it should be noted, encourages collectors who believe they have found something new to have it authenticated. If provided a scan of the certificate, he will issue a number.


PSAG Would Be Happy to Work With You

If you think you might have a Scott 381 with this new shade of Brown Yellow, submit to PSAG and we will have it chemically analyzed for the proper shade annotation. Once the 2023 Scott Catalog is issued, the new catalog number will be a Scott 381a; if determined to be the newly identified shade of Brown Yellow.

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