This stamp honors Benjamin Franklin. It’s the lowest value in the 1861-1866 series which is what you could call the first set of United States postage stamps.
The government created this series of stamps because it had declared all previous stamps invalid for postal use. The reason for this act was related to the Civil War. The Federal Government didn’t want the Confederacy to be able to use existing stamps to fund their war effort, so they produced the new series that were similar enough to the older designs to be familiar yet easily distinguishable from the devalued ones.
The example shown here has a pen cancel. In other words, a postal worker took a pen and scribbled over the face of the stamp to indicate that in had been used.
The 1861 1c Franklin doesn’t have quite the variety of the 1851 3c Washington, but it does have a book dedicated to it. Look for Don Evans’ The United States 1¢ Franklin 1861-1867 which was published by Linn’s Stamp News in 1997.
Cataloging the 1861 Franklin 1c
This stamp has a few paper varieties and types of grills applied, as well as a special printing, but all of them are still the same basic blue stamp, so the Minimalist Catalog gives it the one number USC 11. Other catalogs use at least five major and several minor numbers to cover all the variations.
|Benjamin Franklin 1c Statistics|
|8/17/1861||James Macdonough and Joseph I. Pease||National Bank Note Company||138,000,000|