This page last updated: 7 October 2001


::: BOSTON LITHOGRAPH - Quantities and Shades :::

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QUANTITIES AND SHADES

We know the order placed was for 5000 sheets of 25 stamps each, or 125,000 stamps. If there was a second printing, which is doubtful, it was quite small, no more than about 12,500 stamps. Regardless of how many printings there were, no record exists of how many were printed with the laid lines running vertically and how many with the laid lines running horizontally. Further, no record exists of the number of stamps attributable to any of the shades. Shades present a special problem because there is a considerable range beyond the shades listed in the catalogues.

One must extrapolate a quantity analysis from the number of surviving stamps. This method is handicapped because the intermediate and darker stamps apparently were first placed in use in 1863, after stamp collecting had begun in earnest. Most of the known multiples are from the intermediate shades and in the darker shades unused stamps outnumber used stamps by a fair margin. These points suggest the stamps were being collected. The reverse is true of the paler shades. Few multiples exist and the used stamps outnumber the unused by a fair margin. Some arbitrary weighting must therefore be assigned to the pale shades because of the presumably lower survival rate.

If we are dealing only with a single printing of 125,000 stamps, the quantities seem to be about:


Pale carmine rose and light rose, Scott Nos. 27 (30,000) and 28 (12,500)

Scott No. 27 pale carmine rose
Scott No. 27 grill detail

Scott 27 pale carmine rose

Scott 27 grill detail

Scott No. 28 light rose
Scott No. 28 grill of light rose

Scott 28 light rose

Scott 28 grill of light rose

By my observation, the light shade Scott No. 27 outnumbers the light shade Scott No. 28 by about 2:1. Used stamps of the light shade (either Scott No.) outnumber unused by about 3:1.

Medium carmine rose and medium rose, Scott Nos. 27 (5,000) and 28 (65,000)

Scott No. 27 medium carmine rose
Scott No. 27 detail

Scott 27 medium carmine rose

Scott 27 detail

Scott No. 28 medium rose
Scott No. 28 grill detail

Scott 28 medium rose

Scott 28 grill detail

In the medium shade, I estimate Scott No. 28 outnumbers Scott No. 27 by more than 10:1. Used and unused seem about the same. Used and unused of both stamps are about equal.

Truly dark carmine rose and dark rose, Scott Nos. 27a and 28a: 2,500 of 27a and 10,000 of 28a

Scott No. 27a dark carmine rose
Scott No. 27a detail

Scott 27a dark carmine rose

Scott 27a detail

Scott No. 28a dark rose
Scott No. 28a detail

Scott 28a dark rose

Scott 28a detail


In the dark shades, Scott No. 28a outnumbers Scott No. 27a by about 5:1 and unused stamps outnumber used stamps by about 3:1.

By this analysis, the totals printed were:

35,000 Scott No. 27
77,500 Scott No. 28
  2,500 Scott No. 27a
10,000 Scott No. 28a

If there was a second printing, it was necessarily small, probably no more than 12,500 stamps. In this scenario, the medium shades, particularly with laid lines running vertically, need to be increased but the pale and dark shades should remain about the same. I would increase No. 28 in the medium shade to 77,500, giving a total printing for the lithograph stamps of 137,500.

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