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In 1921 Warren G. Harding’s election brought about extensive personnel changes in the Post Office Department. Will Hays, chairman of the Republican National Committee, was appointed Postmaster General, and a new issue of postage stamps was planned. The Washington-Franklin series, which had intentionally been produced with uniform designs since 1908, came to an end with the 1922 Issue.
On October 1, 1922, newspapers published the following official report on the new stamp designs:
“The subjects were selected with careful regard to their suitability. The portraits include Washington and Jefferson as fathers of our institutions; Franklin as first Postmaster General; Martha Washington to commemorate the pioneer womanhood of America; Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley as the ‘Martyr Presidents’; Monroe to mark the foreign policy associated with his name; with Grant, Hayes, Cleveland and Roosevelt carrying on the historical line to a recent date.”
Stamps in 25 denominations were eventually issued, including some depicting items of national interest such as the Golden Gate, Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol. The stamps were released over a period of time rather than all at once. Most were issued on dates of historical significance relating to their subject. The most complete reference work on these issues is United States Stamps 1922–26 by Gary Griffith and published by Linn’s.
Some of the more interesting and extremely rare varieties of twentieth century philately can be found among the 1922 Issue stamps. In 1934, twelve years after the stamp was issued, a block of eight of the 25¢ was discovered with one vertical row of perforations gauge 10 and all other sides gauge 11. Prior to the discovery of this unique multiple, it was thought that Perf 10 at Top or Bottom varieties on the earlier 1917 Issue were somehow caused during the Bureau’s transition from Perf 10 to 11. Hugh M. Southgate explains the significance of this block in an article in the December 1934 Bureau Specialist, as reproduced in Johl:
“When the first pair showed up it was assumed that the oddity was made about the time the change from perf 10 to perf 11 but the location of plate blocks and the 1922 series item apparently makes it certain that the perforating was done much later and that all items showing but one row perf 10’s with the rest perf 11 are from sheets perforated with the same perforator and that the explanation of the oddity will only be found with the answer as to how the odd perf 10 holes come into the picture.
“The answer apparently is that in all these cases, in the set up of one flat bed perforator a perf 10 wheel was incorrectly mounted with a perf 11 wheel…”
The error occurs on the side of the 25¢ stamp, which is produced in a horizontal format, and on either top or bottom of four additional values from the set: the 2¢, 4¢, 5¢, and 10¢. Only two examples are recorded of the 10¢.
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