Need help with Jefferson

I have a a 10c Jefferson that could be one of several Scott numbers.

It could be #161 because it does have the small semi-circle in the scroll
It is lightly penciled on the back with #187
I don't see a grill and the Perf is 12x12
I have no idea about the secret mark because I don't know what I'm looking for or where that secret mark is located.

If anybody can help to guide me a little I sure would appreciate your time and help.




  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Hi Luree,
    Ok, now you're in my wheel house.
    So, first off, no way it can be a 187 because, as you say "it has the small semi-circle in the scroll" -- that IS the Secret Mark. If it were not there, then it could be a 187, but since it is there, it COULD be a 188. The American Banknote company printed them both with and without. So you might ask, well how do you tell them apart from the the Continental printing?
    This is easy! If you hold the stamp up to a bright light, with the back facing you, hard paper will show the image through clearly, and the paper will be fairly bright. If that's the result, it would be Continental printing (at which case, there is a chance then that it COULD be on ribbed paper, but that's another matter).
    If you hold it up, and it looks a little cloudy, and the areas around the design (especially in the margins), you will see a kind of "weave" or "honeycomb" pattern. When you see this patter, it's SOFT POROUS paper.
    Here is an example of a 161 next to a 188 in the "luminosity test":


    Just looking at yours, the paper type to me, looks like hard paper. (Too white, and I'm not seeing much in the borders that look like soft paper).

    Try holding it up to a light, as I mention, and see if it looks more like the one on the left or right in my image. If it's like the left, it's a 166, if it's like the one at right, it's a 188.

    BTW: The issues with secret marks won't be grilled unless there is a J Grill on the hard white paper. This grill almost always results in some points breaking through the surface of the paper. It was an experimental grill, and they are extremely scarce.

    Also, I've started a series on this. For more information on LBN paper types, check this thread:
  • Thanks for your help. It is hard paper, should have stated that in the request, sorry. So, this would be a #161. My head was reeling from going through these stamps. So much little details. Fortunately, my sister wrote a bunch of notes but didn't actually ID the stamps. Long story, different time.

    Thanks again.
  • Luree,
    Well, you inspired me to finally fix up my LBN (Large Banknote Era) ID Matrix (similar to my FW matrix). I just spent an hour putting the data slicers on top of the table, and it's ready.
    If you, or anyone would like a copy, please email me at and I will send it to you.

    It has a 2nd tab that provides all the identification for the various secret marks. Like the FWs, I'm continually adding and improving (mostly based on user feedback, or when I make new discoveries).
  • Luree,

    Yes from the scan you have it does look like a # 161.
  • Thanks Bill. I am having fun learning. This is what the hobby is all about, eh?
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