Warren G. Harding was the 29th President of the US. Born Nov 2, 1865, he served as President from 1921 until his death on Aug 2, 1923 in San Francisco, CA. Harding died from a heart attack while in office. He was succeeded by Vice President Calvin Coolidge.

In response to his death, the USPOD designed an issued a memorial stamp. The stamp is in the same small size as other definitive stamps. However, it is considered a commemorative stamp. The stamp was printed in black ink. There are four varieties of this stamp.

Scott #610 was printed on flat plate printing presses and perforated 11. The stamp is common.

There are two errors known on Scott #610. One is #610a, a horizontal pair that is imperf between. It has a catalog value of $1750.

The second error is a little more interesting. It is an imperforate plate block of 6 with plate number 14870. The catalog value is $25,000.You are going to ask two things. Why is the plate number important? How can it be imperforate, isnít Scott #611 the imperforate version?

Plate #14870 was not used to print the imperforate issue, Scott #611. Thatís why #610b has to be a plate block. The plate number proves that it was sheet stamps intended to be perforated. Ordinary imperforate stamps removed from this pane are indistinguishable from Scott #611.

The second variety is Scott #611 which is imperforate. It too was printed by the flat plate printing press. It has a catalog value of about $4 for mint (hinged) or used. It is still pretty common.

Scott #612 is perforated 10. It was printed on the rotary printing press. The catalog value is about $15 mint (hinged) or $1.75 used. Itís still a common stamp.

Scott #613 is the rare one of the bunch. Only a few used copies are known. It is printed on the rotary printing press too and also perforated 11. A used single has a $45,000 catalog value in the grade of Fine because all of the known #613 stamps are off center.

The difference between #610 and #613 is the design size. On #610, the flat plate printing, the design is 19.25 mm wide by 22.25 mm. high. On #613, the design is 19.25 mm wide by 22.5 mm. high. Thatís because the rotary printing plates stretch the stamp design slightly in the direction of the curvature of the printing plate. #613 is only ľ mm higher so itís not something that is easily noticeable. Check the height of the stamp design to be sure. If you think you have a #613, a certificate of authenticity from any recognized expertizing service is in order.

The chances of finding a #613 are extremely small, but not zero. If you decide to hunt for one, good luck!

One last note about the Black Hardings. This issue was also popular with precancel stamp collectors. However, the black ink for the stamp doesnít provide a good background for the black ink of the precancel. It makes many precancels hard to read. In 1983, the Precancel Stamp Society published ďThe Two Cent Black Harding Precancel CatalogĒ by Col Henry Rogers and David Hanschen. Although interest in Black Harding precancels isnít as strong as it once was, they are still popular items sought after by precancel collectors. In some cases, these precancels are scarce and/or rare and precancel collectors will pay larger prices for what would ordinarily be a common stamp. This catalog is long out of print, but you can still find it on eBay or sometimes through philatelic literature dealers.

It takes an understanding of precancels to know if you have a Black Harding that is more valuable. But thatís part of the fun Ė learning about precancels that you may not know much about.

Scott # Printing Press Perforation Design Size
610 Flat Plate 11 19.25 by 22.25
611 Flat Plate Imperforate 19.25 by 22.25
612 Rotary 10 19.25 by 22.50
613 Rotary 11 19.25 by 22.50