When Is A Nine A T-E-N? Similar Designs Examined

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How to recognize a T-E-N CENTS Confederate stamp and tell it from a 10 CENTS Confederate stamp and various reproductions are the topics of this guide.  The Dietz 9 , also Scott #9 is the second most elusive of the Confederate engraved issues. In many respects it has a strong resemblance to the much more common, and less costly, numbers 11 and 12.  The characteristics of the #9 that set it apart are easy to spot once you know what they are. This guide will illustrate those characteristics and compare them to the two similar designs of the Southern Confederacy. 

      Dietz #9.                                               Dietz #11AD                                   Dietz #12KB

Denomination of Stamp

The #9 has the value of the stamp expressed as "TEN CENTS". Numbers 10, 11 and 12 have the value of the stamp expressed as "10 CENTS". This is the most readily visible detail in determining if you have a #9 or something else.

In this illustration the #9 is at the bottom,
the #11 is in the middle and the #12 is
at the top. An example of #10 would
very closely resemble that of #11.

Portrait Oval

From time to time a stamp is offered where the tablet of value is not visible. It may be too heavily canceled to read, it may be covered by additional postage, it might be missing. So, I offer alternative detail to the usually definitive expression of value for determining if what you have is a #9.
  • The horizontal lines connecting the cross hatched area to the portrait oval are very light and are easily missed. The horizontal lines in #11 and #12 are readily apparent. Also, the non-crosshatched area is roughly half the width in the #9 when compared to #11 or #12.
  • Additionally, the portrait is a little bit higher in the oval in the Number 9. The top of the illustration below is along a horizontal line between the "a" and "t" of "States". Notice that the #11 and #12 show forehead above the eyebrow below this imaginary, and arbitrary, line. Using the same positioning the portrait in the #9 includes no eyebrow and no forehead.
  • A look at the bottom of the #9 portrait also shows that the rear point of the bust extends to the edge of the background. On numbers 10, 11 and 12 the rear point of the bust ends short of the edge of the crosshatching.

Detail of #9, #11 and #12. Note the
absence of  horizontal lines between

the portrait background and the oval
frame of the portrait in the leftmost,
# 9 example. The middle and right
examples are #11 and #12.


Another area of concern with this design relates to reproductions. The three best known reproductions are the Sperati forgery, the " Toothless Old Man" forgery and the Springfield Reproductions.


There are two types of T-E-N Sperati counterfeits. Type A has a small colorless dot that appears in the dark area between "Confederate" and "POSTAGE"; a second colorless flaw appears just after the "E" of "POSTAGE"; and the "e" of "The" is missing the dot which serves as a cross-bar. Type B is similar to type A, but the colorless flaw between "Confederate" and "POSTAGE" is missing. The "T" and "E" of "TEN" appear to be joined at the top. "T" and "A" of "POSTAGE" are slightly closer together, with the bottom serifs touching or almost touching.

Toothless Old Man

The "Toothless Old Man" forgery has a portrait background of only vertical lines. The lower jaw juts out relative to the lips. The hairline in front of the ear is heavily drawn and dark. The front point of the bust is thicker than on the genuine stamp. Below the ear on line with the jaw line is a small dot of color that is not present on the original.

The Springfield Facsimile

The yellowish paper of the Springfield reproduction is of a different texture of the genuine stamp. Frequently this difference is apparent in the images used on eBay. There is a distinct woven texture that is not present on the genuine stamp. The face of the stamp is not a clear printing as would be expected from a copper engraved plate printing. Detail present in the original is lacking in the flat looking reproduction. These will often be backed stamped in either white or gray ink.

Note: Thank you to Trish Kaufmann for her suggestions and corrections to this guide, especially her expansion and correction of the Sperati forgery information.

If you feel this guide has not been helpful please contact me with your comments about its deficiencies so I may consider addressing them in future revisions. Robert Chambers (CSA #3505)

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