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United States of America
stamppages : free online postage stamp catalogue : United States of America 1851
|1851: The federal government purchased the western claims of Texas. New Mexico Territory was organized from the part of this land east of the Rio Grande, along with the remaining unorganized territory from the Mexican Cession. New Mexico Territory included all of the area that had been governed under the Kearny Code.|
1853: Washington Territory was organized from the half of Oregon Territory north of 46°N and the Columbia River.
1854: Kansas Territory was organized from unorganized territory north of 37°N, and Nebraska Territory was organized north of 40°N. Much of the remaining unorganized territory, east of 100°W, became known as Indian Territory, designated as a place to resettle Indian tribes. A small strip between the Texas Panhandle and Kansas Territory was unclaimed, due to falling south of Kansas Territory's border but north of 36°30'N established in the Missouri Compromise as the northern limit of slavery, and thus Texas could not have it. This became known as the Public Land Strip, or sometimes No Man's Land. The United States purchased a large parcel from Mexico known as the Gadsden Purchase, as it offered a much better route for a southern transcontinental railroad. It was assigned to New Mexico Territory. This resolved the border dispute, since the disputed land was included in the purchase.
1856: Baker Island and Jarvis Island were claimed under the Guano Islands Act.
On March 3, 1851, Congress passed a postal reform act that reduced the five-cent letter rate to three cents for pre-paid letters (the general practice at that time was to send mail 'collect'). At that time, only the 5-cent and 10-cent denominations were available at the time, so a 3-cent stamp was required to accommodate the rate reduction. Since it paid the basic letter rate, the 3-cent stamp is the most common stamp found in the 1851-1857 Issue. For a decade, Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co., a private engraving company located in Philadelphia, printed the stamp in varying shades of orange and red. Minor design changes appeared over those years. Between July 1, 1851, and December 31, 1855, prepayment of postage could be made either in cash or with stamps. On January 1, 1856, the Post Office Department eliminated the cash option, thus mandating use of stamps. The option to send letters collect (at the 5-cent rate) had been abolished on April 1, 1855. These changes precipitated increased use of the 3-cent stamp.
On 1 July 1851, the stamps of the 1847 Issue were demonetized. They could not, therefore, be used to pre-pay postage. New and lower postage rates went into effect. Americas first 1-cent stamp was issued on that date to pre-pay certain categories of mail, including circulars. The 1-cent stamp was printed in blue, and features a central portrait of our first postmaster general, Benjamin Franklin, in profile facing right. Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co. designed and printed the stamp, which was issued by the Post Office Department over the next ten years. The 1-cent stamp was engraved, and it was printed from steel plates of two hundred stamps. Twelve plates were made to print 1-cent stamps during this ten-year period. The stamps were issued without perforations until 1857, when perforations were introduced. The printers encountered significant technical difficulties making the plates, causing incompleteness of the stamp design, primarily at top and bottom. Stamp collectors assign different types to the 1-cent stamp, which depend largely on the completeness of the ornate edges.
The 12c was released in mid-1851. The Washington portrait was derived from the Gilbert Stuart painting. At the time of its printing it was the highest US denomination ever issued. It did not fulfill a single-weight rate. Rather, it paid the over-3,000-mile, double-weight rate or the quadruple-weight rate for a letter sent under 3,000 miles. The stamp was often used to pay the twenty-four-cent, single-weight rate to England. There are many known bisects of this stamp that paid the six-cent single-weight rate. This usage was banned by the Post Office Department. If apprehended for an illegal use, the letter was considered unpaid, leaving a ten-cent unpaid fee for the recipient to cover. All imperforate stamps dating from 1857 were printed from plate 1. From late 1859 to early 1860, another plate (plate 3) was used. At some point a plate 2 is assumed to have been created that had additional space between stamp designs for perforations, but there are no known stamps from this plate. The perforated plate 3 stamps can be distinguished from plate 1 stamps by the broken lines in the design's outer frame lines. Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co. printed approximately 2,500,000 imperforate stamps and 5,800,000 perforated stamps of the 12-cent issue.
In April 1855 the fee for over 3,000 mile rate increased from 6 to 10c. There was then an immediate need for a 10-cent stamp. It may have been the short notice, but Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co. reused the vignette of the 12-cent George Washington (1851 Issue) for this new 10-cent stamp. Henry Earle engraved the frame and lettering. He had worked with Charles Toppan since 1840. Earle engraved all the lettering for the 1851-1861 Issue, and then he left the company. The stamps of the 10-cent 1855 issue are of four types, which are differentiated by certain lines and recuts on the sides of the stamps. All four types appeared on each sheet of two hundred stamps: twenty stamps were Type I; ninety-three, Type II; seventy-nine, Type III; and eight stamps, Type IV. These same proportions were repeated when the sheets were perforated in 1857. In 1859 an entirely new plate was created. Its stamps would be known as Type V and would only be released in a perforated format. The design on this plate was slightly cut away at the sides so that it was more uniform and would fit onto the sheet. These cuts, though slight, were greater than those performed on most of the previous four types. The stamp typically paid the half-ounce, over-3,000-mile rate, but it was also used, in combination with other denominations, to pay a plethora of rates to foreign destinations. Approximately 5,025,000 imperforate stamps and 16-18 million perforate stamps of the 10-cent issue were printed by Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co.
The first U.S. stamp not depicting Benjamin Franklin or George Washington, this breakaway 5-cent stamp of the 1851-1861 Issue depicts Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third president. Designed and engraved by Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co., Gilbert Stuart's portrait of Jefferson inspired the issue. The last imperforate stamp released by Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co., it was in use from spring 1856 to summer 1857. When issued in 1856, the stamp served almost no purpose for domestic mail except payment of multiple-weight rates or, in a few cases, the registered mail fee. It was used primarily on mail to foreign destinations, especially France, since it fulfilled the several different rates. While Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co. printed the imperforate 5-cent Jefferson in only one color (red brown), the perforated issues the firm produced by mid-1857 were printed in at least six major colors. These color varieties of the perforate 5-cent 1856-1861 Issue expose a level of sophistication and degree of difficulty unique to Toppan, Carpenter issues. It is also important to note that the perforated issues were printed with two types of frames. The first, as in the imperforate stamp, has full projections at the top and bottom; the second, which only appears on perforated stamps, has those projections cut away. These later perforated issues fulfilled the same rates. Approximately 150,000 imperforate stamps and 2,310,000 perforated stamps of the 5-cent Jefferson were printed by Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co.
1858: The eastern half of Minnesota Territory was admitted as the 32nd state, Minnesota. The remainder became unorganized territory. Navassa Island (Caribbean) and Howland Island (Pacific) were claimed under the Guano Islands Act.