A philatelist should always check the paper tint of a stamp

This article deals with the Green on Blue 5c stamp (Y&T #35 and Sc. #24) and also of the need for a collector to check the paper tint of a stamp.

1 – A rapid consumption of 5 centimes stamps

2 – A rare offer of paper after the war of 1870

3 – The 5c Green on Bluish paper

1 – A rapid consumption of 5 centimes stamps

After the war of 1870, the rate of sending a normal letter was increased as it was necessary to replenish the French coffers. On 1st September 1871, the rate increased from 20c to 25c for a domestic letter and 10c to 15c for a local letter. The 25c Cérès type started to become available but as the public still had a large quantity of 10c & 20c, it was necessary to add a 5c stamp to pay for either the local or domestic rate.

October 1871, new rate of 25c for domestic letter applied for this letter of Béthune to Grasse.

The use of 5 centimes stamps increased rapidly and the postal administration quickly ran out of the paper used to print the 5c Napoleon stamp.

 2 – A rare offer of paper after the war of 1870

During this period, the French postal administration used a paper tinted in the same color as the stamp. It was necessary to manage stocks of paper as a function of the supply and demand of postage stamps.

Paper was ordered from a depleted private industry which, as a result of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871, had little to offer. 

Anatole Hulot (1811-1891).

Having exhausted the stocks of pale green tinted paper, Anatole Hulot, who ran the business of manufacturing France's first postage stamps from 1848 to 1876, requested in November 1871, permission to use, for a while, the stocks of paper (blue tinted) used for printing the 1 centime Napoléon Laureate. 

Pair of 5 centimes Napoléon stamps printed on blue paper.

 3 – The 5c Green on Bluish paper

Listed as Y&T #35 and Sc. #24, this stamp was printed on 18th December 1871 with blue tinted paper used for the 1c Napoleon Laureate. The printing continued until the end of this month and 1 million stamps were printed.

On observation of the reverse is fundamental in order to not confuse with the 5c Napoléon Y&T #20, Sc. #23 issued in 1862 which is yellow green on greenish (can be seen as white) or deep green on greenish (and absolutely not blue !).

The tint of the blue paper is not obvious but it is at least different from
the tint of the paper of the stamps issued in 1862 (top and bottom, issues of 1862).

The price difference is worth dwelling on the color of the paper knowing that both issues are often confused. I admit all the same that it takes a minimum of expertise. I recommend buying from a recognized seller a stamp printed on blue tinted paper that will serve as a reference for you to perhaps do good business by unearthing #35 sold as mere #20.

Y&T 35 (1871 - Bluish paper) Price : mint 4600 euros, used 230 euros (catalogue Yvert & Tellier 2022)

Y&T20 (1862 -  Greenish paper) Price : mint 350 euros, used 10 euros (catalogue Yvert & Tellier 2022)

This stamp was replaced later by the 5c Cérès type, printed in May 1872. The first issues of this stamp were printed on blue tinted paper and later on white and greenish.

1872: Cérès, 5 centimes, Yellow green on pale blue, Y&T #53, Sc. #53