The 1899-1905 Eagle issue dies
by Steven Phillips Whitcombe

The 1-centavo green

Introduction:

To the best of my knowledge (which is admittedly not extensive in the area), nothing has been written on the multitude of dies used for this issue.

The following description is based on the examination of 26 post cards (MPS PC-107 and PC-108) and 16 wrappers (MPS W-36). That is a woefully small number of pieces; it would be hard to say that I expect to find no more types. Four easily-identifiable types have been identified thus far.

The die types are not listed (nor numbered) chronologically, but rather are grouped by similar features. There are two groups of types, those with completely separate border dots and those with "almost-connected" dots.

The die descriptions and illustrations are followed by some selected statistics.

I -- Separate dots

Ia

a.
Letters "CENT" of "CENTAVO" are fairly close together and evenly spaced.
Right edge of "O" of "CENTAVO" is above right side of 5th dot from end in outer ring.
"U" of "UN" starts above right edge of 4th dot in outer ring.
"U" and "N" of "UN" quite close together.

Ib

b.
There is a space between "CE" and "NT".
Right edge of "O" of "CENTAVO" is above left side of 4th dot from end in outer ring.
"U" of "UN" starts above right edge of 3rd dot in outer ring.
"U" and "N" of "UN" very close together.

II -- "Almost-Connected" dots

In fact, often no dots touch with consistency. The dots are generally larger than those of the Type I subtypes, and tend to run together.

IIa

a.
Letters "CENT" of "CENTAVO" are fairly close together and aligned across the top.
Right edge of "O" of "CENTAVO" is above right side of 4th dot from end in outer ring.
"U" of "UN" starts above right edge of 3rd dot in outer ring.
"U" and "N" of "UN" far apart.

IIb

b.
"C" of "CENTAVO" farther from "ENT" and raised slightly.
Right edge of "O" of "CENTAVO" is above middle of 4th dot from end in outer ring.
"U" of "UN" starts above left edge of 4th dot in outer ring.
"U" and "N" of "UN" somewhat close together.

Analysis

The types and subtypes listed above were classified based on somewhat arbitrary physical characteristics; it may have been better to have used a different system. In any event, there is no element of chronology included. Following is a chronological list, based on the limited number of examples in the total sampling.

Type Earliest Date Latest Date PC107 PC108 W36
IaApr, 1902Jun, 19045-3
IbDec, 1902Feb, 1905727
IIaApr, 1902Apr, 1904713
IIbOct, 1902Jan, 1905133

A quick glance at the table shows a complete lack of specimens used in 1899, 1900 or 1901. That is unfortunate; it seems reasonable to expect that not all types have been seen at this point. Comment welcome.

Copyright (c)1998 by Steven P. Whitcombe

Last updated 09 January 1998.