by Leonard H. Hartmann
All rights reserved, copyright © 1999, L. H. Hartmann
To Appear in the CHRONICLE, Whole No. 184
In starting this series my intention was to cover new material; in essence information that was not previously published in detail, improperly interpreted, or had appeared in some obscure source. Naturally I hoped that something major would come up but I really wasn't expecting it. Over the last 45 years I have examined several thousand CSA lithographed stamps and the basic printing, stones, etc. seemed pretty straight forward, the only thing new was to define the actual printing plates.
This year Mr. Billy Matz of Memphis, Tennessee send an old photograph that he thinks came from a mixed lot that he purchased at a Sylvester Colby auction many years ago. It is a remarkable, remarkable unpublished item and has not been integrated into our bank of knowledge of the CSA lithographs; a completely new and different Printing Plate with ten true Misplaced Transfers!
The print is an old glossy black and white image, about 6.25 x 8.25 inches, the black has taken on a bit of a golden tone, the paper is brittle, and there is no indication of the photographer or the processor. I would say that it dates at least from the 1950's and perhaps older. The print is full size with respect to the stamps. It is of a portion of an album page that states "Knapp Collection - 1925 -". It could well date from 1925. I do not think is from the 1941-1942 Knapp sales held by Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York.
In the last article, CHRONICLE 182, I quoted from an article by Curtis, Kappa and Pratt titled "Lithographs of the Confederate States of America" that appeared in the November, 1929 issue of "Scott's Monthly Journal" with respect to "Misplaced Transfer":
....To show the real rarity of these, we would say, that during our studies covering the last ten years, we have found less than a score of these from Stone 2 (both colors).
The remark of less than a score (twenty) seemed excessive for I knew of only two different positions; Stone 2 in green position 1 in place of 10 (two examples known) and blue position 2 in plate of 9 (one example known). Everything else is in the normal Transfer Stone positions.
The photograph correctly plates and states 10 Misplaced Transfers, Stone 2 however they are from a plate that is not a previously known Printing Plate and is completely different. However the subjects are from the well established Stone 2 Transfer stone. These stamps are completely unknown and unique to the best of my knowledge. The print shows two blocks, positions:
If you check CHRONICLE 180 for the relative positions for the Transfer Stone and the known Printing Stones you will see that these two blocks can not be cut from either the Printing Stone or the Transfer Stone. In addition no form of Print and Turn printing, etc.. could yield such relative positions.
The plate positions are all well defined and without question from Transfer Stone 2 thus they were made up from the normal Transfer Stone and not from the original Master Image, ie Die. They could also have been taken one of the three known Stone 2 Printing Stone.
These two blocks were evidently printed from the same printing surface with positions 3, 4 and 5 being common to both blocks. This gives us at least a printing unit of 18 stamps, probably more and that at least two impressions were printed.
In making this plate two strips were laid down, the upper from the top of the Transfer Stone and the lower from the bottom, no. 10 was replaced by no. 40.
Our new Stone 2 Printing Stone can be easily identified, even from poor illustrations in auction catalogs. The top row of Transfer Stone 2, subjects 1-10, show a peculiar alignment with the row below, subjects 11-20. Subjects 1-10 are spaced together a bit closer than the rest of the Transfer Stone, subjects 11-50. When this Transfer Stone was laid down the top row was centered with respect to the lower rows(or the lower rows were centered with respect to the upper); on the left the top row is shifted slightly to the right and on the right they are shifted slightly to the right thus splitting the difference. Our new Printing Stone shows the upper right corner to be in excellent alignment with the lower stamp, ie position 40 above 50. To simplify, if you have a 5¢ lithograph in blue, upper right corner and the two right vertical stamps are in reasonably proper alignment you have something worth examining further, it is either Stone 3 or our new mystery printing stone.
The top margin of the larger block is 5 mm, large enough to indicate a sheet or gutter margin based on all of the previously known lithographed stamps. The right paper margin of the larger block is exceptionally large measuring 28 mm. The largest left sheet margin that I know of is only 16 mm on a 5¢ and 23 mm on a 10¢. The Gordon McHenry and Douglas B. Ball articles on the Paterson printings in the November-December, 1982, whole no. 210, issue of "The Confederate Philatelist" speculates on the size of the Confederate plates and paper used for stamps and paper money. This article mentions side margins of from 6 to 9.3 mm and indicates it is probably closer to 14.5 mm. Paper and or the printing stone size was a definite limitation for the CSA stamps, the sheet margin between the Left and Right panes are all quite narrow, circa 5 mm. This 28 mm right margin is definitely large enough to indicate something is different.
Unfortunately, over the years many collectors and dealers have trimmed sheet margins to give a more balanced image or to remove defects. The above mentioned 16 mm margin stamp and 23 mm one are from stamps that are still on the original covers.
In August Dietz's magnificent 1929 book "The Postal Service of the Confederate States of America" he quotes his notes from interviewing four men that had worked with Hoyer & Ludwig during the Confederacy. Dietz emphasized these men were "far advanced in years" at the time of the interviews, in part from pages 96-98.
But we are concerned alone with the printers of Confederate stamps, and on this September afternoon we will sit awhile on "Uncle Dick" Hendrick's front porch, and let him tell us of the work at Hoyer & Ludwig's.
I started to tell you about George Hall, the foreman. After the war George had a small lithographic stone upon which he had put down transfers of a strip of Confederate stamps. He often made prints from this stone and sold 'em to a man who came from the North. George wasn't 'perticular' about what color he used either. I can't remember which they were-five or ten-cent stamps, but he printed 'em at night, in Simons & Keiningham's shop, and sold them to a party who stopped at Rueger's Hotel.
I have always taken the above remarks as a bit of fantasy or perhaps George was printing fakes of which numerous examples were made during and soon after the war. My distrust of this statement is based on the fact that no authentic CSA lithographs are known in other than the issued colors (the 5¢ design exist as common and evident fakes printed in green, blue and a bogus red). Until this new plate came to my attention nothing that would suggest printing from anything except the normal 100 subject pane, 2 panes for a sheet of 200 subject.
Strange things did happen, knowingly or not in 1895 R. H. Glass, CSA Postmaster of Lynchburg, Virginia during the Confederacy was involved with selling a fraudulent die of his wartime provisional, "Confederate Philatelist", May-June, 1970, whole no. 135.
The plating of each subject proves that it was made up after the Transfer Stone 2 was laid down and is not an intermediate stage in laying down the Transfer Stone. The arrangement of subjects indicates considerable cutting of the transfer impression suggesting the master impression or impressions were not in good condition. The photograph suggest the stamps are not well printed but I emphasize the word "suggests" for the photograph is quite old and the actual stamps are not available for examination.
Perhaps Hoyer and Ludwig had a spare small Printing Stone and some small size paper stock and wanted to utilize it for normal stamp production during the war. Lithography stones and paper were scarce in the Confederacy and they always seemed to be a shortage of stamps.
Perhaps George Hall did have a small printing stone and made some impressions on his own, either during or after the war. Perhaps it is something else!
To emphasize the mystery I would like to name this new Printing Stone; Stone 2, Plate X.
I would like to give special thanks to J.S. Palazolo, M.C. O'Reilly and J. Molesworth for there help on this article.