Identification guide for design numbers on United States stamped envelopes, wrappers, and letter sheets
two cents


There are 39 designs of indicia whose face value is two cents. Six of these designs are distinctive enough that they can be identified by examining the images immediately below. The remaining 33 designs feature a bust of Andrew Jackson (15 designs), a bust of George Washington (16), or a large numeral inside an oval (2).
   For a key to the Jackson designs click here.
   For a key to the Washington designs click here.
   For a key to the large numeral designs click here.

busts of Columbus
and Liberty

design U76
 printed in violet on white paper and diagnostic for Scott #U349; or printed in dark slate (erroneously) on white paper and diagnostic for Scott #U349a.
 
Grant
design US1
 =  Scott #U293 (printed in green on creamy white paper)
 
Liberty Bell
design U94
printed in carmine on white paper and shared by Scott #s U522 (die 1) and U522a (die 2)
 
Mount Vernon
design U95
printed in carmine on white paper and shared by Scott #s U525 (die 1) and U525a (die 2); or printed in carmine on blue paper (erroneously) and diagnostic for Scott #U525b (die 1; rare) - For a guide to identifying the two dies, click here.
 
Star and Pinwheel
"Authorized Non-Profit Organization"

design U124
 =  Scott #U577 (printed in red on white paper)
 
postal savings
design UO25
 =  Scott #UO72

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Key to designs that show a bust of Jackson

Question 1: Do the words "War Dept" appear near the top of the design?
(choose an answer below)

yes (go to Question 14)
 
no  (go to Question 2)

Question 2: What is the shape of the border at the top and bottom?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#1) you answered)

pointed
(go to Question 3)

design U17

design U18

design U19

design U20

rounded (go to Question 6)
design U24

design U36

design U37
design U38

design U39

design U40

design U41

design U42

design U43

Question 3: "Postage" or "Post." above Jackson's head?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#2) you answered)

"Postage"
(go to
Question 4)

design U17

design U18
 
 
"Post." (go to Question 5)
design U19

design U20

Question 4: What is the relationship between the downstroke and the tail of the 2?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#3) you answered)

They merge You have identified design U17, printed in black and shared by Scott #s U46 (buff paper) and W47 (dark manila).
design U17
 
They touch but
do not merge
You have identified design U18, printed in black and shared by Scott #s U48 (buff paper; not regularly issued) and U49 (orange; not regularly issued).
design U18

Question 5: How wide is the design?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#3) you answered)

24–25 mm You have identified design U19, printed in black and shared by Scott #s U50 (buff paper), W51 (buff), U52 (orange), and W53 (dark manila).
design U19
 
 
25.5–26.25 mm You have identified design U20, printed in black and shared by Scott #s U54 (buff paper), W55 (buff), U56 (orange), and W57 (light manila).
design U20

Question 6: Are the numerals "2" enclosed by a circle or oval?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#2) you answered)

circle
(go to Question 6)

design U24

design U36
  oval (go to Question 7)
design U37
design U38
design U39
design U40
design U41
design U42
design U43


Question 7: Is the engraving finely or coarsely done? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#6) you answered)

finely done   You have identified design U24, printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U78 (white paper), U79 (amber), U80 (orange), and W81 (manila).
design U24
 
 
coarsely done You have identified design U36, printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U122 (white paper), U123 (amber), U124 (cream; not regularly issued), U125 (orange), and W126 (manila); or printed in vermilion on manila paper and diagnostic for Scott #W127.
design U36


Question 8: Is there a diagonal line between the upper left part of the "U" of "U. S. Postage" and the outer white oval? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#6) you answered)

     yes   You have identified design U41, printed in vermilion and shared by Scott #s U149 (white paper), U150 (amber), U151 (blue), and U152 (fawn); or printed in pink and shared by Scott #s U149a (white paper) and U151a (blue).
design U41
 
     no  
     (go to Question 8)

design U37

design U38

design U39

design U40

design U42

design U43


Question 9: Does the tail of the left 2 touch the oval? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#8) you answered)

     yes You have identified design U38, printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U132 (white paper), U133 (amber), and U133A (cream; not regularly issued).
design U38
 
 
     no (go to Question 9)
design U37

design U39

design U40

design U42

design U43


Question 10: Is there a diagonal line in the "G" of "POSTAGE" and in the "C" of "CENTS"? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#9) you answered)

     yes You have identified design U39, printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U134 (white paper), U135 (amber), U136 (orange), and W137 (manila); or printed in vermilion and shared by Scott #s U137A (white paper; not regularly issued), U137B (amber; not regularly issued), U137C (orange; not regularly issued), and W138 (manila; not regularly issued).
design U39
 
     no (go to Question 10)
design U37

design U40

design U42

design U43


Question 11: Is the bottom part of the bust curved sharply or gradually? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#10) you answered)

     sharply You have identified design U43, printed in vermilion and shared by Scott #s U156 (white paper), U157 (amber; rare), and W158 (manila).
design U43
 
     gradually (go to Question 11)
design U37

design U40

design U42


Question 12: Is the diagonal stroke of the "N" in "CENTS" the same thickness as the vertical strokes, or is it thicker? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#11) you answered)

     same thickness You have identified design U42, printed in vermilion and shared by Scott #s U153 (white paper), U154 (amber), and W155 (manila).
design U42
 
     thicker (go to Question 12)
design U37

design U40


Question 13: What is the shape of the numerals? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#12) you answered)

     relative tall (and in tall ovals) You have identified design U37, printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U128 (white paper), U129 (amber), U130 (cream; not regularly issued), and W131 (manila).
design U37
 
 
     relatively short (and in short ovals) You have identified design U40, printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U139 (white paper), U140 (amber) and W141 (manilla); or printed in reddish brown on orange paper and diagnostic for Scott #U140A (not regularly issued); or printed in vermilion and shared by Scott #s U142 (white paper), U143 (amber), U144 (cream), U145 (orange; not regularly issued), U146 (blue), U147 (fawn), and W148 (manila); or printed in pink on white paper and diagnostic for Scott #U142a.
design U40


Question 14: Is the top of the front of Jackson's bust angled or rounded? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#1) you answered)

     angled You have identified design UO9, printed in dark red on white paper and diagnostic for UO19; or printed in vermilion and shared by UO32 (white paper) and WO33 (manila).
design UO9
 
 
     rounded You have identified design UO18, printed in red and shared by Scott #s UO47 (white paper), UO48 (amber), UO49 (orange), and WO50 (manila).
design UO18


- - - - -
Key to designs that show a bust of Washington:
Question 1: How many times does the numeral "2" appear on the stamp? (choose an answer below)

     once (go to Question 2)
design U70

design U71

design U72

design U78

design U79

design U80

design U97
 
     twice (go to Question 8)
design U60

design U61

design U62

design U63

design U64

design U65

design U67

design U68

design U86

design U89

design U91

design U93
 


Question 2: What is the numeral "2" enclosed by? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#1) you answered)

     a circle You have identified design U97, printed in carmine on white paper and shared by Scott #s U533 (die 3), U533a (die 1), U533b (die 2), and U533c (die 4).
design U97
 
     a shield (go to Question 3)
design U70

design U71

design U72

design U78

design U79

design U80
 


Question 3: What color is the image? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#2) you answered)

     green (go to Question 4)
design U70

design U71

design U72
 
     carmine (go to Question 6)
design U78

design U79

design U80


Question 4: Does the "G" of "POSTAGE" have a bar, and does the bust point between notches 2 and 3 (vs. between 3 and 4)? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#3) you answered)

     no You have identified design U70, printed in green and shared by Scott #s U305 (white paper), U306 (amber), U307 (oriental buff), U308 (blue), U309 (manila), and U310 (amber manila).
design U70
 
 
     yes (go to Question 5)
design U71

design U72


Question 5: What is the shape of the top part of the head? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#4) you answered)

     more or less pointed
     (also, there is one line each for the ear and at the corner of the mouth)
You have identified design U71, printed in green and shared by Scott #s U311 (white paper), U312 (amber), U313 (oriental buff), U314 (blue), U315 (manila), W316 (manila), and U317 (amber manila); or printed in dark green and shared by Scott #s U311a (white paper), U312b (amber), U313a (oriental buff), U314a (blue), U315a (manila), and U317a (amber manila).
design U71
 
     rounded
     (also, there are two lines each for the ear and at the corner of the mouth)
You have identified design U72, printed in green and shared by Scott #s U318 (white paper), U319 (amber), U320 (oriental buff), U321 (blue), U322 (manila), and U323 (amber manila).
design U72


Question 6: Does the bust point to the first notch of the inner oval or to the middle of the second notch? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#3) you answered)

     first notch You have identified design U78, printed in carmine and shared by Scott #s U358 (white paper), U359 (amber), U360 (oriental buff), and U361 (blue).
design U78
 
 
     middle of the second notch (go to Question 7)
design U79

design U80


Question 7: Does the queue have a ribbon around it? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#6) you answered)

     yes You have identified design U79, printed in carmine and shared by Scott #s U362 (white paper), U363 (amber), U364 (oriental buff), U365 (blue), and W366 (manila); or printed in dark lake on white paper and diagnostic for Scott #U362a.
design U79
 
     no You have identified design U80, printed in carmine and shared by Scott #s U367 (white paper), U368 (amber), U369 (oriental buff), and U370 (blue).
design U80


Question 8: Are the numerals "2" enclosed (by a circle or oval) or not? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#1) you answered)

     yes, they are enclosed (go to Question 9)
design U60

design U61

design U62

design U63

design U64

design U65

design U67

design U68

design U93
 
     no, they are not enclosed (go to Question 17)
design U86

design U89

design U91


Question 9: Are the numerals "2" enclosed in a circle or in an oval? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#8) you answered)

     in a circle (in the lower half of the design) You have identified design U93, printed in carmine on white paper and shared by Scott #s U429 (die 1), U429a (die 2), U429b (die 3), U429c (die 4), U429d (die 5), U429e (die 6), U429f (die 7), U429g (die 8), and U429h (die 9); or printed in green (erroneously) on white paper and diagnostic for Scott #U429i (die 1); or printed in carmine on amber paper and shared by Scott #s U430 (die 1), U430a (die 2), U430b (die 4), U430c (die 5), U430d (die 6), U430e (die 7), U430f (die 8), and U430g (die 9); or printed in carmine on oriental buff paper and shared by Scott #s U431 (die 1), U431a (die 2), U431b (die 4), U431c (die 5), U431d (die 6), and U431e (die 7); or printed in carmine on blue paper and shared by Scott #s U432 (die 1), U432b (die 2), U432c (die 3), U432d (die 4), U432e (die 5), U432f (die 6), U432g (die 7), U432h (die 8), and U432i (die 9); or printed in purple (erroneously) on blue paper and diagnostic for Scott #U432j (die 9); or printed in carmine on manila paper and diagnostic for Scott #U432A (die 7; rare); or printed in carmine on a manila wrapper and diagnostic for Scott #W433 (die 1); or printed in carmine on a glazed brown wrapper and diagnostic for Scott #W434 (die 1); or printed in carmine on an unglazed brown wrapper and diagnostic for Scott #W435 (die 1).
design U93
 
 
     in an oval (at midheight of the design)
     (go to Question 10)

design U60

design U61

design U62

design U63

design U64

design U65

design U67

design U68


Question 10: Are the letters of "U.S. POSTAGE" in outline form, or are the letters solid? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#9) you answered)

     outline You have identified design U60, printed in red and shared by Scott #s U227 (white paper), U228 (amber), U229 (blue), and U230 (fawn); or printed in brown (erroneously) on white paper and diagnostic for Scott #U227a.
design U60
 
 
     solid (go to Question 11)
design U61

design U62

design U63

design U64

design U65

design U67

design U68


Question 11: How many wavy lines (total above and below "U.S. Postage") inside the oval? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#10) you answered)

     four (go to Question 12)
design U61

design U62

design U63

design U64

design U65
 
     two (go to Question 16)
design U67

design U68


Question 12: Are the wavy lines fine and clear, or are they thick and blurred? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#11) you answered)

     fine and clear You have identified design U61, printed in red and shared by Scott #s U231 (white paper), U232 (amber), U233 (blue), U234 (fawn), and W235 (manila); or printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U260 (white paper), U261 (amber), U262 (blue), U263 (fawn), and W264 (manila).
design U61
 
     thick and blurred (go to Question 13)
design U62

design U63

design U64

design U65


Question 13: Is the "O" in "TWO" round or is it oval? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#12) you answered)

     round You have identified design U65, printed in red and shared by Scott #s U247 (white paper), U248 (amber), and U249 (fawn); or printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U273 (white paper), U274 (amber), U275 (blue), and U276 (fawn).
design U65
 
 
     oval (go to Question 14)
design U62

design U63

design U64


Question 14: How many links are over the left "2"? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#13) you answered)

     31/2 You have identified design U63, printed in red and shared by Scott #s U240 (white paper), U241 (amber), and U242 (fawn).
design U63
 
 
     21/2 (go to Question 15)
design U62

design U64


Question 15: How many links are below the right "2"? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#14) you answered)

     21/2 You have identified design U62, printed in red and shared by Scott #s U236 (white paper), U237 (amber), U238 (blue), and U239 (fawn); or printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U265 (white paper), U266 (amber), U267 (blue), U268 (fawn), and W269 (manila).
design U62
 
     2 You have identified design U64, printed in red and shared by Scott #s U243 (white paper), U244 (amber), U245 (blue), and U246 (fawn); or printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U270 (white paper), U271 (amber), and U272 (fawn).
design U64


Question 16: Is the bottom right part of the bust pointed or rounded? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#11) you answered)

     pointed You have identified design U67, printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U277 (white paper), U278 (amber), U279 (oriental buff), U280 (blue), U281 (fawn), U282 (manila), W283 (manila), and U284 (amber manila); or printed in brown-lake and shared by Scott #s U277a (die 1, white paper) and U278a (amber); or printed in red and shared by Scott #s U285 (white paper; not regularly issued), U286 (blue; not regularly issued), and W287 (manila).
design U67
 
     rounded You have identified design U68, printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U288 (white paper), U289 (amber), U290 (blue), U291 (fawn), and W292 (manila).
design U68


Question 17: Are there birth and death dates (i.e., 1732 and 1799)? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#8) you answered)

     no You have identified design U91, printed in brown-red on white paper and shared by Scott #s U406 (die 1), U406a (die 2), and U406b (die 3); or printed in brown-red on amber paper and shared by Scott #s U407 (die 1), U407a (die 2), and U407b (die 3); or printed in brown-red on oriental buff paper and shared by Scott #s U408 (die 1), U408a (die 2), and U408b (die 3); or printed in brown-red on blue paper and shared by Scott #s U409 (die 1), U409a (die 2), and U409b (die 3); or printed in brown-red on a manila wrapper and diagnostic for Scott #W410 (die 1); or printed in carmine on white paper and shared by Scott #s U411 (die 1), U411a (die 2), U411b (die 3), U411c (die 4), U411d (die 5), U411e (die 6), U411f (die 7), and U411g (die 8); or printed in carmine on amber paper and shared by Scott #s U412 (die 1), U412a (die 2), U412b (die 3), U412c (die 4), U412d (die 5), U412e (die 6), and U412f (die 7); or printed in carmine on oriental buff paper and shared by Scott #s U413 (die 1), U413a (die 2), U413b (die 3), U413c (die 4), U413d (die 5), U413e (die 6), U413f (die 7), and U413g (die 8); or printed in carmine on blue paper and shared by Scott #s U414 (die 1), U414a (die 2), U414b (die 3), U414c (die 4), U414d (die 5), U414e (die 6), U414f (die 7), and U414g (die 8); or printed in carmine on a manila wrapper and shared by Scott #s W415 (die 1), W415a (die 2), W415b (die 5), and W415c (die 7).
design U91
 
 
     yes (go to Question 18)
design U86

design U89


Question 18: How many shading lines inside the right end of the bottom scroll? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#17) you answered) (Note: Sometimes the printing of an envelope is not strong. Then it is helpful to look at the letter "D" in "UNITED". If the right edge of the "D" is relatively straight and parallel with the left side of the "D", you have design U86. If the right side of the "D" is rounded, you have design U89.)

     21/2 You have identified design U86, printed in carmine and shared by Scott #s U385 (white paper), U386 (amber), U387 (oriental buff), U388 (blue), and W389 (manila); or printed in pink and shared by Scott #s U385a (white paper), U386a (amber), U387a (oriental buff), and U388a (blue); or printed in red and shared by Scott #s U385b (white paper), U386b (amber), U387b (oriental buff), and U388b (blue).
design U86
 
     3 You have identified design U89, printed in carmine and shared by Scott #s U395 (white paper), U396 (amber), U397 (oriental buff), U398 (blue), and W399 (manila); or printed in pink and shared by Scott #s U395a (white paper), U396a (amber), U397a (oriental buff), U398a (blue), and W399a (manila).
design U89


- - - - -
Key to designs that show a large numeral in an oval:
Question 1: How high is the numeral 2? (choose an answer below)

     9 mm You have identified design UO1, printed in black on lemon paper, and diagnostic for Scott # UO1.
design UO1
 
     91/4 mm You have identified design UO4, printed in black and shared by Scott #s UO4 (lemon paper) and UO5 (white).
design UO4

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