American Stamps and coinage use to be a standard of the strength of our country,and the subject matter used to be a serious and well deserved honor. Now just about anything ends up on stamps.
The hand engraved stamps are a lost art, we no longer make stamps that are a strong symbol of America. The printing methods are no longer what they were when our stamps had quality. They were engraved and contained many varieties and color variations, types, and some had secret marks in the engraving. The presses were different styles, and varieties included different perferations or some were issued without perferations, different kinds of papers, etc. Most are peel and stick like labels now, and the subject matter has gone to Novelties. They are popped out with modern printing and are just junk now.
Because of the old types of methods, collectors had to jusdge the grade of a stamp which was mainly how a design ended up centered in relation to the perferations. Some were known to be way off center, depending how the sheet fed into the press. perfectly centered stamps were a premium price vs. a design that was clearly off center. Todays presses and lazer alignments, I'm sure off centered stamps are a thing of the past. From a collectors standpoint, no 2 were ever alike, and upgrading to a better copy was always part of collecting and trading. Now everything is produced nearly exact and without variety, which was part of the hand made quality of our older stamps.
I attented a class one time about modern manufacturing, and sorry I never spoke up. the idea the the quartz crystal made japanese watchmaking something that kept perfect time, didn;t have all those moving parts, and was cheaper, therefore a much better way. They compared it to a fine made swiss watch. I thought and kept quiet, that this is the price for sacraficing another lost art in this world. we no longer need watchmakers, all we need is someone tp operate a machine that is automated to build the quartz crystals 100 time faster. Our stamps have gone the same way. We no longer have engravers, and hand operated printing processes to make what used to be an art.