Marginal Markings Committee

 

Craftsmen's Initials

 

 

 

 

Design Elements

 

Three groups of craftsmen were involved with the handling of engraved printing plates.  The first were the siderographers, or transferrers. who transferred the engraved master die to a transfer roll and, subsequently, plate containing the appropriate geometric arrangement of a large number of replicated stamp images.  Next were the plate finishers, or cleaners, who touched up the images, and burnished and hardened the plates.  And finally, there were the machine operators, or printers, who mounted the plated on the press, made the production run, and then removed and stored the plates.  The use of these craftsmens' initials gave a record of accountability.

 

Siderographer initials F.P.L. (Frank P. Lauderback),  plate finisher initials A.C.N. (Arthur C. Noble) and a string of printer's initials on the 2˘ Washington.  All three types of initials could be found on a single plate for a short time (1908-1912).

 

A siderographer at the BEP operated a transfer press, used to transfer the stamp design from a die to a roll and then enter the impressions on a steel plate.  Upon completion of a plate, the siderographers used the press to enter their initials in the margin of the plate.   These initials are known from 1906 until 1928.

 

 

Siderographer initials G.L.D. (George L. Dant) on the 7˘ Washington and H.M.C (Harvey L. Coté) on the 10˘ Franklin.

 

 

Siderographers Clyde Volchester De Binder (C.V.DeB.) and Andrew Black (A.B.) initialed the frame and vignette, respectively, of these 5˘Norse American plates.

 

Siderographer Bernard Michael Connelly (B.M.C.) initialed the 1˘ Postage Due issue.  Initials can be found on air post, special delivery, special handling, parcel post and U.S possession issues, as well as commemoratives and definitives.

 

After a plate was finished by the siderographer, a plate finisher burnished out any marks or scratches in the plate’s surface.  Their initials were entered in the margin once they had finished this task.  Since the plate finishers did not have a press, they used a punch which, with the blow of a hammer, left an impression on the plate.  These initials are known from 1908 until 1928.

 

Plate finisher initials J.P.L. (Joseph P. Lennon) and A.W.L. (Albert W. Leger) on a 2˘ Washington.  Multiple finishers initials are often found.  The first set of initials is thought to belong to the more experienced craftsman.

 

 

Plate finisher initials W.E.S. (Walter E. Spring) on a 10˘ air post issue and R.J.L. (Robert J. Little) and W.W.M. (William W. Malone) on a 20˘ special delivery issue.

 

Once the plate went to press, printers entered their initials each time they checked out the plate.  This provided for long strings of printers initials extending the length of the plate, and, in some cases, a second string was started once the bottom of the plate was reached with the first string.  These initials are known from the early 1890's until 1911 or 1912.

 

A string of printer's initials in the UL selvage of the 1˘ Franklin Issue, with plate finisher initials J.S.S. (Jake S. Seitz).

 

Printer's initials in the LR selvage of the 2˘ Pan-American Issue.

 

With plate 11329 (Scott #528), initials again began to appear on offset Washington Franklins.  However, they took a different form.  Otto A. Myers (OAM) inscribed his initials directly above the upper left top plate number.    From May through July, 1920, various printer’s initials were intermittently inscribed on at least thirty (30) different plates, producing Scott 528, 528A and 534.

 

OAM monogram on plate 11329.

  

 

Plate Identification

 

Production Markings

 

Inscriptions

 

 

 

                                                

SUBJECT REFERENCES

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers", The United States Specialist,  Vol 39, October 1968, pg. 354-355, 369.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers", The United States Specialist,  Vol 39, November 1968, pg. 406-408.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers", The United States Specialist,  Vol 39, December 1968, pg. 447-449.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers", The United States Specialist,  Vol 40, January 1968, pg. 40-41.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers", The United States Specialist,  Vol 40, February 1969, pg. 66-68.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers, The Three punches of J.J. McDonald", The United States Specialist,  Vol 44, February 1973, pg. 77-78.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers, Additions and Corrections to Previous Lists", The United States Specialist,  Vol 44, September 1973, pg. 431-437.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers, Positions of Siderographer Initials", The United States Specialist,  Vol 44, November 1973, pg. 514-520.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers, The Craft and Its Union", The United States Specialist,  Vol 44, December 1973, pg. 583-588.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers", The United States Specialist,  Vol 45, February 1974, pg. 88-90.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers, The Eight Sample Steel Plates", The United States Specialist,  Vol 45, March 1974, pg. 183-186.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers, The First Plate Finisher Initials, Part I", The United States Specialist,  Vol 45, August 1974, pg. 368-370, 394.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials of Siderographers and Plate Finishers, Transferrer’s Initials on Booklet Panes", The United States Specialist,  Vol 45, October 1974, pg. 460-461.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials on the Aeronautics Issue”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 49, 1978, pg. 110.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials on the Valley Forge Commemorative Issue”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 49, 1978, pg. 166.

 

John S. Meek, "The Special Handling Stamps”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 49, 1978, pg. 254.

 

John S. Meek, "The Postal Savings Stamps”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 49, 1978, pg. 304.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials on the Battle of White Plains Commemorative”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 49, 1978, pg. 380.

 

John S. Meek, "Initials on the Sesqueicentennial Issue", The United States Specialist,  Vol 49, October 1978, pg. 464-466.

 

John S. Meek, "The Norse American Issue", The United States Specialist,  Vol 49, December 1978, pg. 560-564.

 

John S. Meek, "The Huguenot-Walloon Issue of 1924”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 50, February 1979, pg. 94-98.

 

John S. Meek, "The Harding Memorial Issue”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 50, March 1979, pg. 142-146.

 

John S. Meek, "The Pilgrim Tercentenary Issue”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 50, April 1979, pg. 197-199.

 

John S. Meek, "The Victory Issue”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 50, May 1979, pg. 256-259.

 

John S. Meek, "The Panama-Pacific Commemorative Series”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 50, June 1979, pg. 302-305.

 

John S. Meek, "The 1909 Commemoratives”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 50, July 1979, pg. 360-366.

 

John S. Meek, "The Jamestown Exposition Series of 1907”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 50, August 1979, pg. 420-425.

 

John S. Meek, "The Louisiana Purchase Issue”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 50, September 1979, pg. 479-483.

 

John S. Meek, "The Pan-American Issue, Part III, Plate Printers Initials”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 50, December 1979, pg. 626-633.

 

John S. Meek, "The Vermont Sesquicentennial Issue”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 51, January 1980, pg. 44-47.

 

John S. Meek, "The Air Mail Stamps of 1918”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 51, March 1980, pg. 152-156.

 

John S. Meek, "The Air Mail Stamps of 1923”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 51, April 1980, pg. 197-198.

 

John S. Meek, "The 1926-27 Air Mail Stamps”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 51, May 1980, pg. 274-278.

 

John S. Meek, "The Lindbergh Issue of 1927”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 51, June 1980, pg. 320-322.

 

John S. Meek, "The Flat Plate Definitives 1922-26”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 51, July 1980, pg. 342-346.

 

John S. Meek, "The Arlington Amphitheater Issue”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 51, August 1980, pg. 394-395.

 

John S. Meek, "Scott 569 – The 1922 Issue 30˘ Value”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 51, September 1980, pg. 449-451.

 

John S. Meek, "The 25˘ Niagara Falls Stamp, Scott 568”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 51, October 1980, pg. 519-520.

 

John S. Meek, "The 20˘ Golden Gate Stamp, Scott 567”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 51, November 1980, pg. 550-554.

 

John S. Meek, "The 17˘ Wilson Stamp, Scott 623”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 51, December 1980, pg. 592-598.

 

John S. Meek, "The Statue of Liberty, Scott 566”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 52, January 1981, pg. 18-21.

 

John S. Meek, "The 14˘ American Indian Stamp, Scott 565”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 52, Febuary 1981, pg. 99-102.

 

John S. Meek, "The 13˘ Harrison Issue, Scott 622”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 52, March 1981, pg. 140-146.

 

John S. Meek, "The 12˘ Cleveland Stamp, Scott 564”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 52, April 1981, pg. 194-198.

 

John S. Meek, "The 11˘ Rutherford Hayes, Scott 563”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 52, May 1981, pg. 235-238.

 

John S. Meek, "The 10˘ Monroe Stamp, Scott 562”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 52, June 1981, pg. 337-342.

 

John S. Meek, "The 9˘ Jefferson, Scott 561”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 52, July 1981, pg. 366-368.

 

John S. Meek, "The 8˘ Grant, Scott 560”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 52, August 1981, pg. 420-423.

 

John S. Meek, "The 7˘ McKinley, Scott 559”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 52, September 1981, pg. 468-471.

 

John S. Meek, "The 6˘ Garfield, Scott 558”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 52, October 1981, pg. 516-518.

 

John S. Meek, "The 5˘ Theodore Roosevelt, Scott 557”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 52, December 1981, pg. 601-605.

 

John S. Meek, "The 2˘ Washington (Part I), Scott 554 and 577”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 53, May 1982, pg. 202-209.

 

John S. Meek, "The 2˘ Washington (Part II), Scott 554 and 577”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 53, July 1982, pg. 295-305.

 

John S. Meek, "The 2˘ Washington (Part III), Scott 554 and 577, The Star Plates”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 53, August 1982, pg. 342-350.

 

John S. Meek, "The 1˝˘ Harding, Scott 553 and 576”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 53, December 1982, pg. 558-560.

 

John S. Meek, "The 4˘ Martha Washington, Scott 556”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 54, February 1983, pg. 67-69.

 

John S. Meek, "The ˝˘ Nathan Hale, Scott 551 and CZ 70”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 54, March 1983, pg. 130-132.

 

John S. Meek, "The 1˘ Franklin, Series of 1922, Scott 552, 575, CZ 71 and CZ J15”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 54, April 1983, pg. 171-176.

 

John S. Meek, "The 1˘ Benjamin Franklin, Series of 1902, Scott 300, and 314, Part I”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 54, August 1983, pg. 333-335.

 

John S. Meek, "The 1˘ Benjamin Franklin, Series of 1902, Scott 300, and 314, Part II”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 54, September 1983, pg. 407-411.

 

John S. Meek, "The 1˘ Benjamin Franklin, Series of 1902, Scott 300, and 314, Part III”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 54, November 1983, pg. 481-484.

 

John S. Meek, "The Two-Cent Stamps of the Series of 1902, Part I”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 54, December 1983, pg. 534-538.

 

John S. Meek, "The 1˘ Shield Die II Plates, Scott 319 and 320”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 55, January 1984, pg. 11-13.

 

John S. Meek, "The Three, Four, Five and Six Cent Stamps of the 1902 Series”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 55, February 1984, pg. 63-67.

 

John S. Meek, "The Higher Values of the 1902 Series”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 55, May 1984, pg. 207-210.

 

John S. Meek, "Washington-Franklin Stamps I”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 55, June 1984, pg. 277-278.

 

Larry S. Weiss, "Pressmen's Initials on Offset Printing Plates", The United States Specialist, Vol 55, December 1984, pg 539-548.

 

Larry S. Weiss, "Offset Plates Pressmen's Initials – A Newly Reported Item", The United States Specialist, Vol 56, June 1985, pg 259-260.

 

John S. Meek, "Washington-Franklin Stamps II”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 56, September 1985, pg. 391-400.


John S. Meek, "Washington-Franklin Stamps III – The Early One Cent Plates”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 56, October 1985, pg. 432-435.

 

John S. Meek, "Washington-Franklin Stamps IV”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 56, November 1985, pg. 461-465.

 

John S. Meek, "Scott E6 and E7”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 57, May 1986, pg. 197-204.

 

John S. Meek, "Washington-Franklin Stamps V, Two Cent Solid Star Plates”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 57, 1987, pg. 535.

 

John S. Meek, "Washington-Franklin Stamps VI, One Cent Open Star Plates Without Plate Finisher Initials”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 58, October 1987, pg. 432-435.

 

Col.  Edward J. Mathias, “Collection Presentation”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 58, November 1987, pg. 484-491.

 

W. Wallace Cleland, BIA Plate Number Checklist, 1-20000, Bureau Issues Association, Inc., 1990.

 

Gene Hessler, The Engraver's Line, An Encyclopedia of Paper Money & Postage Stamp Art, BNR Press, 1994.

 

John S. Meek, "The Three-, Four- and Five-Cent Battleship Documentary Stamps and the Eight-Cent Plates”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 68, January 1997, pg. 21-22.

 

Myron Hyman and Roger S. Brody, "Marginal Markings on the 2˘ Shield Booklet Pane”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 70, February 1999, pg. 75-78.

 

Doug D’Avino, "An Initial Mystery: Who is ‘GL’?”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 73, July 2002, pg. 296-298.

 

Doug D’Avino, "An Initial Mystery: #461 or Not #461?”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 73, August 2002, pg. 351-353.

 

Doug D’Avino, "An Initial Mystery: Was Scott #394 Printed by Plate 6048?”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 74, February 2003, pg. 56-57.

 

Doug D’Avino, "Initials on Washington Franklins", http://home.earthlink.net/~davinod/Initials.htm, 2003.

 

Rodney A. Juell, "Misidentification of Siderographer and Plate Finisher Initials”, The United States Specialist,  Vol 74, December 2003, pg. 547-549.

 

Doug D’Avino, The Encyclopedia of United States Stamp Collecting:  Marginal Markings, The United States Specialist, Vol 75, September 2004, pg 389-406. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOME

 

ABOUT THE SITE

Send comments to: marginal_markings@usstamps.org

 

 

l