Types of the 3¢ Offset Washington
Types III and IV

Five Areas that Distinguish Types III and IV

Only the offset printings of the 3c Washington have the following types. If your stamp is rotary or flat plate, you are on the wrong page and should go here: Types of the 3¢ Rotary and Flat Plate Washington







Area on Map Part of Design What to Look For

1

Toga Button

Type III:the line through the center dot in the button appears broken Type IV: the line through the center dot in the button appears to be solid

2

"P" and "O" of "POSTAGE"

Type III:"P" and "O" of  "POSTAGE" are clearly distinct 
Type IV: "P" and "O" of  "POSTAGE" appear to be joined 

3 Toga Rope

Type III: top line of toga rope is thin or broken, 
the rope lines are wider at the bottom than top, 
the 2nd line from right is short or missing 
Type IV:
top line of toga rope is solid and thicker, 
the rope lines are consistent top to bottom, 
the 2nd line from right is intact 

4 Shape of Nose

Type III: the upward curving line of the nose is strong
Type IV:
the upward curving line of the nose 
is weaker than Type III

5 Oval Frame

Type III: oval frame appears weak or broken
Type IV:
oval frame appears
solid

Methods of Printing for the Washington Franklin Stamps

The key to identifying these stamps is to examine the toga button and the letters "P" and "O" in "POSTAGE". The Type III has a broken line through the center of the toga button and the Type IV has a solid line in the button. In the Type III the "P" and "O" of "POSTAGE" appear to be joined and in the Type IV the "P" and "O" of "POSTAGE" are clearly distinct. In the case of a cancellation covering the identifying area, if the ink is light, or you simply have a faded copy, you will need to examine many of the areas. In particular, if you think the stamp is a scarcer variety, you should examine all of the areas for positive identification. A powerful magnifying glass, microscope, or a high resolution scan (600 to 1200 dpi) will greatly aid in identifying the type.

Toga Button
Type III

The line through the center dot in the toga button appears broken. Sometimes it may be so weak, as in this case, as to not give a definitive identification. However, when compared to the Type IV at right, the distinction becomes clearer.

Toga Button
Type IV

The line through the center dot in the toga button appears to be solid. This is usually quite apparent.

"P" and "O" of "POSTAGE"
Type III

The "P" and "O" of "POSTAGE" are clearly distinct and separated by a solid line of color.

"P" and "O" of "POSTAGE"
Type IV

The "P" and "O" of "POSTAGE" appear to be joined. This may be the most recognizable differentiating feature of the Type III and IV stamps.

Toga Rope
Type III

The top line of the toga rope is thin or broken, the rope lines are wider at the bottom than top, and the second line from the right is short or missing entirely. In this example many of the lines are missing, but the base of the lines inside the rope are discernibly thicker than the top of the lines.

Toga Rope
Type IV

The top line of the toga rope is solid and thicker than the Type III. The rope lines are consistent top to bottom, and the second line from the right is intact.

Shape of Nose
Type III

The upward curving line of the nostril is strong relative to the other shading of the nose. This is a weak, yet typical, example of the Type III, it is the relative nature of the shading that counts.

Shape of Nose
Type IV

The upward curving line of the nostril is similar relative to the rest of the shading of the nose.

Oval Frame
Type III

The outline of the inner portrait oval from about the toga button to the point at which the hair braid meets the oval is solid and complete. Again, this is a weak, typical example of the Type III, yet the inner portrait oval line is stronger than the Type IV at right.

Oval Frame
Type IV

The outline of the inner portrait oval from about the toga button to the point at which the hair braid meets the oval is weak and often incomplete.