The 11c Hayes Die Proofs

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The Bureau of Engraving and Printing made 89 large die proofs from the die used for the production of the eleven cent Rutherford B. Hayes stamp of 1922. At least 14 of these die proofs, contrary to official policy, left the confines of the U.S. Government and probably ended up in philatelic ownership. This article will identify the wayward proofs and explain how they came to be.

A considerable portion of the information being presented was gathered by author Gary Griffith, then a member of the Fourth Bureau Issue Committee of the United States Stamp Society. This committee, under the leadership of Jay Stotts, continues to solicit new information about the proofs of the Fourth Bureau Issue.


The victory of Warren G. Harding in the 1920 U.S. presidential election ushered in a new Republican administration. Among the new appointees in the Post Office Department was Third Assistant Postmaster General W. Irving Glover. His duties would include the responsibilities for postage stamps. Glover was a savvy politician and businessman from New Jersey whose wife and political friends were serious stamp collectors.  He quickly recognized that if the Post Office Department catered to stamp collectors, both entities could benefit from the relationship.

Among Glover’s early actions was his revamping of the nation’s postage stamps. The first stamp to receive this attention was the current special delivery stamp whose bicycle messenger design had been in use since 1902. The new design would show a motorcycle messenger to reflect the fact that the post office was mechanizing. Glover also sought to publicize the release of each new stamp. The practice of releasing new stamps on a specified date and at a specific place began with this issue. It was announced that it would be made available to collectors and dealers on July 12, 1922 at the Philatelic Stamp Agency in Washington, DC. Glover also hyped the new stamp in a number of other ways. He arranged to have the press catch Postmaster General Hubert Work being the first person in line at the Philatelic Stamp Agency to buy the new stamp. It was also announced that Work “will present the stamp he bought to the President along with a die proof prepared from the master die.”

While it was once the policy of the Post Office Department to distribute die proofs of the nation’s stamps to collectors and others who requested them, the practice ended in January 1905 at the direction of President Theodore Roosevelt. The increasing demand and the criticism of unfairness in distribution apparently resulted in the end of the policy. Glover was well aware of his breach of the current policy, but he was also aware that his office and that of the Postmaster General were highly political ones and that the gift of a proof of a new postage stamp to the right individuals could have a positive influence on their operations.

The Fourth Bureau Issue

The Report of the Postmaster General for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1922 mentioned that a new series of ordinary postage stamps would replace the current Washington and Franklin ordinary postage stamps. This series would eventually become known as the Fourth Bureau Issue. The new designs would include portraits of individuals of prominence in the history of our country as well as views of national interest. Selected for the design of the eleven cent stamp was Rutherford B. Hayes, the nineteenth President of the United States. Much of what is to be said of the Hayes die proof holds true for the other stamps in the new series.

The Hayes Die Proof

This article is further partitioned into the following sections:

Section 1:…What is a die proof?

Section 2:…The Hayes Die Proof: Part 1 – In the Beginning

Section 3:…The Hayes Die Proof: Part 2 – PMG New

Section 4:…The Hayes Die Proof: Part 3 – More Die Proofs

Hayes Die Proof Tables:

Table 1:…The Fourth Bureau Issue Dies

Table 2:…The 89 Hayes Die Proofs

Table 3:…The 14 Wayward Hayes Die Proofs

Table 4:…Known Fourth Bureau Issue Proof Sets

Hayes Die Proof Images:

image…Color Approval Die Essay

image…Fremont Die Proof

image…1922 Die Proof

image…Joynson-Hicks Die Proof

image…1925 Color Revision

image…1929 Die Proof

image…FDR Die Proof

image…Eissler Die Proof

image…Black Die Essay

image…Index Card

image…Control Number Examples


portrait…Mathew Brady Portrait

model…Approved Stamp Model

exhibit…1923 London Exhibit

comments…Comments and References

This post is one of five related posts:

The FDCs of the 11c Hayes Stamp of 1922

The Die Proofs of the 11c Hayes Stamp of 1922

The Plates and Panes of the 11c Hayes Stamp of 1922

The Color Varieties of the 11c Hayes Stamp of 1922

Postal History of the 11c Hayes Stamp of 1922
Jerry A. Katz (11/12/2011)