Identification guide for design numbers of United States stamped envelopes, wrappers, and letter sheets
three cents



There are 21 designs of indicia whose face value is three cents. One of these designs is distinctive enough that it can be identified by examining the image immediately below. The remaining 20 designs feature a bust of George Washington (16 designs), a pony express rider and a train (2), or a large numeral inside an oval (2).
   For a key to the Pony Express rider and train designs click here.
   For a key to the Washington designs click here.
   For a key to the large numeral designs click here.

Mount Vernon
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design U95
= Scott #U526 (printed in violet on white paper)




Key to designs that show a pony express rider and train

Question 1: How many lines immediately below the word "Postage"?
(choose an answer below)

one
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design U57
You have identified design U57, printed in red on white paper and diagnostic for Scott #U218, or printed in green on white paper and diagnostic for Scott #219.
 
two
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design U58
You have identified design U58, printed in red on white paper and diagnostic for Scott #U220 (not regularly issued), or printed in green on white paper and diagnostic for Scott #221.



Key to designs that show a bust of Washington

Question 1: Do the words "War Dept" appear near the top of the design?

(choose an answer below)

yes (go to Question 15)    no (go to Question 2)

Question 2: How does the face value of the envelope appear?
(choose an answer below or return to the question 1 thatyou answered.

only as the words "three cents"
(go to Question 3)
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design U1
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design U2
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design U3
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design U4
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design U5
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design U12
 
as the numeral "3" (either once or twice) and sometimes as the words "three cents" also
(go to Question 8)
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design U13
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design U21
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design U25
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design U44
 
  stamp image
design U45
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design U46
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design U93
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design U97
 


Question 3: Are the words "three cents" enclosed in a "label"?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#2) you answered)

no
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design U12
You have identified design U12, printed in red and shared by Scott #s U26 (white paper) and U27 (buff).
 
yes
(go to Question 4)
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design U1
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design U2
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design U3
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design U4
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design U5
 


Question 4: Does the label have smoothly curved ends?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#3) you answered)

yes
(go to Question 5)
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design U1
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design U5
 
no, they are straight or angled
(go to Question 6)
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design U2
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design U3
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design U4


Question 5: Do the ends of the labels enclose the words "three" and "cents" tightly?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#4) you answered)

yes
the words almost touch the ends of the labels
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design U1
You have identified design U1, printed in red and shared by Scott #s U1 (white paper) and U2 (buff).  
 
no
there is as much space between the words and the ends of the labels as there is between the letters
stamp image
design U5
You have identified design U5, printed in red and shared by Scott #s U9 (white paper) and U10 (buff).  


Question 6: What is the shape of the ends of the label?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#4) you answered)

straight
(go to Question 7)
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design U2
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design U4
 
angled
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design U3
You have identified design U3, printed in red and shared by Scott #s U5 (white paper) and U6 (buff).


Question 7: Do the ends of the labels enclose the words "three" and "cents" tightly?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#6) you answered)

yes
the words almost touch the ends of the labels
stamp image
design U2
You have identified design U2, printed in red and shared by Scott #s U3 (white paper) and U4 (buff).  
 
no
there is at least as much space between the words and the ends of the labels as there is between the letters
stamp image
design U4
You have identified design U4, printed in red and shared by Scott #s U7 (white paper) and U8 (buff).  


Question 8: How many times does the numeral "3" appear?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#2) you answered)

once
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design U97
You have identified design U97, printed in dark violet and shared by Scott #s U534 (die 4), U534a (die 1), U534b (die 2), U534c (die 3), and U534d (die 5).
 
twice
(go to Question 9)
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design U13
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design U21
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design U25
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design U44
 
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design U45
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design U46
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design U93


Question 9: Are the numerals "3" enclosed (by a circle or oval) or not?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#8) you answered)

yes, they are enclosed
(go to Question 10)
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design U13
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design U25
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design U44
 
  stamp image
design U45
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design U46
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design U93
 
no
they are not enclosed
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design U21
You have identified design U21, printed in pink and shared by Scott #s U58 (white paper) and U59 (buff), or printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U60 (white paper) and U61 (buff).


Question 10: Are the numerals "3" enclosed in a circle or in an oval?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#9) you answered)

in a circle
(go to Question 11)
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design U13
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design U25
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design U93
 
in an oval
(go to Question 13)
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design U44
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design U45
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design U46


Question 11: Where are the circles located?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#10) you answered)

in the lower half of the design
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design U93
You have identified design U93, printed in purple on white paper and shared by Scott #s U436 (die 1), U436e (die 7), and U436f (die 9); or printed in dark violet on white paper and shared by Scott #s U436a (die 1), U436b (die 5), U436c (die 6), and U436d (die 7); or printed in carmine (erroneously) and shared by Scott #s U436g (die 1) and U436h (die 5); or printed in purple on amber paper and shared by Scott #s U437 (die 1), U437e (die 7), and U437f (die 9); or printed in dark violet on amber paper and shared by Scott #s U437a (die 1), U437b (die 5), U437c (die 6), and U437d (die 7); or printed in carmine (erroneously) on amber paper and diagnostic for Scott #U437g (die 5); or printed in black (erroneously) on amber paper and diagnostic for Scott #U437h (die 1); or printed in dark violet on oriental buff paper and shared by Scott #s U438 (die 1), U438a (die 5), U438b (die 6), and U438c (die 7); or printed in purple on blue paper and shared by Scott #s U439 (die 1), U439e (die 7), and U439f (die 9); or printed in dark violet on blue paper and shared by Scott #s U439a (die 1), U439b (die 5), U439c (die 6), and U439d (die 7); or printed in carmine (erroneously) on blue paper and diagnostic for Scott #U439g (die 5).  
 
halfway between the top and bottom of the design (go to Question 12) stamp image
design U13
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design U25


Question 12: Is the design printed in green or pink?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#11) you answered)

green
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design U25
You have identified design U25, printed in green and shared by Scott #s U82 (white paper), U83 (amber), and U84 (cream), or printed in brown (erroneously) on white paper and diagnostic for Scott #U82a.  
 
pink
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design U13
You have identified design U13, printed in pink and shared by Scott #s U34 (white paper), U35 (buff), U36 (blue), and U37 (orange; not regularly issued).  


Question 13: Are the two crescent-shaped portions of the numeral "3" relatively thin or thick?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#10) you answered)

thin
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design U44
You have identified design U44, printed in green and shared by Scott #s U159 (white paper), U160 (amber), U161 (cream), and U162 (blue; not regularly issued).
 
thick
(go to Question 14)stamp image
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design U45
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design U46


Question 14: Does the knot on the queue at the back of the neck project as a triangle?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#13) you answered)

yes
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design U46
You have identified design U46, printed in green and shared by Scott #s U168 (white paper), U169 (amber), U170 (blue; rare), and U171 (fawn; rare).  
 
no
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design U45
You have identified design U45, printed in green and shared by Scott #s U163 (white paper), U164 (amber), U165 (cream), U166 (blue), and U167 (fawn).  


Question 15: Does the queue project below the bust?
(choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#1) you answered)

yes
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design UO10
You have identified design UO10, printed in dark red and shared by Scott #s UO20 (white paper), UO21 (amber), and UO22 (cream), or printed in vermilion and shared by Scott #s UO34 (white paper), UO35 (amber), and UO36 (cream).  
 
no
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design UO19
You have identified design UO19, printed in red and shared by Scott #s UO51 (white paper), UO52 (amber), UO53 (cream), UO54 (blue), and UO55 (fawn).  




Key to designs that show a large numeral in an oval

Question 1: How high is the numeral 3?
(choose an answer below)


9 mm
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design UO2
You have identified design UO2, printed in black and shared by Scott #s UO2 (lemon paper) and UO3 (white).
 
91/4 mm
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design UO5
You have identified design UO5, printed in black and shared by Scott #s UO7 (lemon paper), UO8 (white), UO9 (amber), and U10 (blue), or printed in blue and diagnostic for UO11 (blue paper).

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