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

(updated 13 December 2014)



There are 17 designs of indicia whose face value is five cents. Eight of these designs are distinctive enough that they can be identified by examining the images immediately below. The remaining 9 designs feature a bust of Ulysses S. Grant (3 designs), a bust or head of Abraham Lincoln (2), a bust of George Washington (2), or an airplane with one propeller.
   For a key to the Grant designs click here.
   For a key to the Lincoln designs click here.
   For a key to the Washington designs click here
   For a key to the airplane designs click here.

Columbus and Liberty
design U76
 printed in chocolate on white paper and diagnostic for Scott #U350, or printed in slate-brown (erroneously) and diagnostic for Scott #U350a.
 
Mount Vernon
design U95
 =  Scott #U528 (printed in dark blue on white paper)
 
New York World's Fair
design U103
 =  Scott #U546 (printed in maroon on white paper)
 
Eagle head
design U106
 =  Scott #U550 (printed in bright purple on white paper)
Zachary Taylor
design U47
 printed in blue and shared by Scott #s U172 (die 1, white paper), U173 (die 1, amber), U174 (die 1, cream), U175 (die 1, blue), U176 (die 1, fawn), U177 (die 2, white), U178 (die 2, amber), U178A (die 2, cream; not regularly issued), U179 (die 2, blue), and U180 (die 2, fawn).
 
James A. Garfield
design U59
 printed in brown and shared by Scott #s U222 (white paper), U223 (amber), U224 (oriental buff; not regularly issued), U225 (blue; not regularly issued), and U226 (fawn).
 
DC-4 Skymaster
design UC3
 printed in carmine on white paper and shared by Scott #s UC14 (die 1) and UC15 (die 2).
 
heads of Washington and Franklin,
and methods of mail transportation

design UC5
 printed in carmine on white paper and shared by Scott #s UC17 (without revaluation) and UC23 (with revaluation to 6 cents).


- - - - -
Key to designs that show a bust of Ulysses S. Grant:
Question 1: On the starburst pattern on each side of the design, are the rays clearly separate from the central dot or do the rays touch or nearly touch the central dot? (choose an answer below)

     clearly separate (go to Question 2)
design U74

design U75
 
     touch or nearly touch You have identified design U84, printed in blue and shared by Scott #s U377 (white paper) and U378 (amber).
design U84

Question 2: Is there a space between Grant's beard and his collar? (choose an answer below or return to the previous question (#1) you answered)

     yes You have identified design U74, printed in blue and shared by Scott #s U330 (white paper), U331 (amber), U332 (oriental buff), and U333 (blue).
design U74
 
     no You have identified design U75, printed in blue and shared by Scott #s U334 (white paper) and U335 (amber).
design U75


- - - - -
Key to designs that show a bust of Abraham Lincoln:
Question 1: Are Lincoln's birth and death dates present? (choose an answer below)

     yes You have identified design U88, printed in blue and shared by Scott #s U393 (white paper) and W394 (amber).
design U88
 
     no You have identified design U102, printed in dark blue on white paper and shared by Scott #s U544 (die 2), U544a (die 1), and U544b (die 3).
design U102


- - - - -
Key to designs that show a bust of George Washington:
Question 1: Are the numerals at the midheight of the design? (choose an answer below)

     yes You have identified design U91, printed in blue on white paper and shared by Scott #s U418 (die 2) and U418a (die 1); or printed in blue on buff paper (erroneously) and diagnostic for Scott #U418b (die 2); or printed in blue on blue paper (erroneously) and shared by Scott #s U418c (die 2) and U418d (die 1); or printed in blue on amber paper and shared by Scott #s U419 (die 2) and U419a (die 1).
design U91
 
     no You have identified design U93, printed in blue and shared by Scott #s U443 (white paper; die 1), U444 (amber; die 1), and U445 (blue; die 1).
design U93


- - - - -
Key to designs that show a single-propellered airplane:
Question 1: Does the vertical rudder slope down to the left, or is it semicircular? (choose an answer below)

     slopes downward to the left You have identified design UC1, printed in blue on white paper, and diagnostic for UC1.
design UC1
 
     semicircular You have identified design UC2, printed in blue on white paper, and diagnostic for UC2.
design UC2

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