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Article #11 for CHRONICLE No. 198

The 10 Hoyer and Ludwig Printing Plates and Imprints

by Leonard H. Hartmann

All rights reserved, copyright 2003, Leonard H. Hartmann

Hoyer and Ludwig of Richmond created the original image and printed the first general issue stamps for the Confederate States of America starting in November 1861. Their early prints were well executed and relatively free of sloppy workmanship; plate layout and printing are normally quite well done. This is true for Scott's No. 1, the 5 Green from Stone A-B and Stone 1, in addition to Scott's No. 2, the 10 Blue and Scott's No. 3 the 2 Green. This observation is especially true for the 10 Blue as the stamps are quite evenly spaced on both the transfer and printing stones and the color is almost always a clear deep blue with sharp impressions.

I never paid much attention to the production of the 10 Hoyer and Ludwig stamps; they are a bit difficult to plate because of the excellent workmanship. Everything was as it should be, there was no indications of significant plate damage, misplaced transfers, or of more than one printing stone. An extremely attractive but dull stamp to study.

With the CSA lithographs there seems to be a continuing discovery of new information. The Schuyler Rumsey sale of December 4-6, 2002 was a revelation with respect to the 10 Hoyer and Ludwig stamps. Lot 2328 is a nicely margined, well printed block of four of the 10 Lithograph in Blue that is definitely the Hoyer & Ludwig printing however at first glance it was a surprise (figure 1). Evidently noticeable, the upper and lower horizontal stamps nearly touch unlike the normal even margins for this stamp.

The basic plating of this block is normal with respect to the transfer stone positions. The top pair represents positions 41-42 and the lower positions 1-2. Positions 41-42 show a slight tilting, unusual for Hoyer and Ludwig. However it originates on the transfer stone and is thus normal for these positions. It is seen in all four transfer stone units on the printing plate. We have a gutter block consisting of the upper and lower transfer units. The almost overlapping of these stamps between the two transfer units is decidedly unusual. The only surviving pane of 100 of the 10c Hoyer and Ludwig is from the Right Pane, in Blue and is illustrated in August Dietz's "The Postal Service of the Confederate States of America", page 118. These positions are closer than normal but are not nearly as close as our block. Thus it is definitely not from this Right Pane.

A search for the Left Pane initially proved elusive. A section turned up in the Hall sale only to uncover another problem. A half pane, lower setting of the 10 Hoyer was in the R. A. Siegel sale of the Hall collection, December 17, 2001, lot 151. It is well illustrated in the catalog and I was able to examine it before the auction. It is evidently the Left Pane as it has a more than ample left sheet margin and even shows the left edge of the printing stone. By left and right I am referring to the printed stamps, the actual printing stone would be the reverse. This block shows upper margins for positions 1-2 that are not possible with our subject block of four. We thus now have a second printing stone for the 10 Hoyer as it does not match these right and left sections. A misplaced transfer for our block of four is unlikely though possible. At least one pair would have to be re-entered and the spacing is extremely close.

The Hall block of 50 was described as being the Right Pane and not the Left which leads us to the second part of this study. Scott Trepel advised that they described this block as the Right Pane because of the position of the imprint. In the 1929 Dietz book, Left and Right imprints are illustrated and described on page 116 (figure 2). The full right pane is also illustrated on page 118. Dietz properly attributed the position of the Right Pane imprint. The imprint "LITH. OF HOYER & LUDWIG, RICHMOND, VA." in the full right pane has the "G" of Ludwig between positions 95 and 96. Dietz shows another imprint that has this "G" under the center of position 96, a most evident difference. One can assume Dietz had not seen the Hall block of 50 and thus deduced the other imprint was from the Left Pane. I do not think Dietz realized the existance of multiple printing stones for a given issue. He also concluded the imprints were drawn by hand on the printing plate as the two imprints are different, the Dietz's Left one is about 10% longer than the Right, 42 mm versus 37 mm. We illustrate the Right Pane imprint in Blue (figure 3) and in Red (figure 4). An example of the Right 10 Red imprint that appears to show a portion of "Richmond" erased or perhaps a poorly inked impression is show, figure 5. To speculate on this last stamp at this time would be without basis but it is being shown should another similar example be reported.

A search of the imprints for the Hoyer & Ludwig 10 in both the Blue and Red printings has only found the positioning for the one described as the Right Pane, all examples known to the author are identical. For the Right pane there are at least four unused examples in Red and a few more in Blue along with a larger number of used Red singles but only a few used Blue singles.

The identical positioning of the imprint for the lower settings of the left and right pane is easily explained by the imprint being on the transfer stone. For the upper setting the margin was cut off when the printing plate was laid down.

In conclusion the commonly found printings for the 10 Hoyer and Ludwig in both Blue and Red appear to be from one printing stone, the Left and Right imprints are identical. A second printing stone with a slightly different imprint and position of the imprint in addition to the poor spacing between the upper and lower transfer stone units evidently exists, at least for the Blue printing. We assume these two deviations from the norm are on the same printing stone but this may or may not be the case. We need to look for other examples that suggest a second printing stone. Remember, the 5 Stone 2 stamps were printed from at least three different printing stones without considering the misplaced transfers that may well represent another stone or stones.

The imprint that Dietz attributed to the Left pane has not been seen by your author. If any one owns or has seen an example showing the Left imprint please advise, the information would be most appreciated. At least one must have existed.

A special thanks to Jerry S. Palazolo, Scott Trepel, Schuyler J. Rumsey, Jack E. Molesworth, M. C. O'Reilly and S. Y. Trimble V for their assistance in this article.

Leonard H. Hartmann, PO Box 36006, Louisville, Ky 40233, Leonard@pbbooks.net

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