Parcel Post Plates come one of three ways. Why?
All values of the Parcel Post Stamps were red. This caused complaints from postal clerks as they were generally use to different colors for different denominations of stamps. This allowed a quick glace to understand the denomination. The quick glance for parcel post stamps only revealed "red" and thus, a longer study was needed to determine the denomination of the pane.
The Postmaster General heard these complains and took action. He ordered that the denomination of each stamp value was to be placed in the selvage margin, near the plate number, spelled out in letters, "ONE", "TWO", "THREE", "FOUR", "FIVE", "TEN", "FIFTEEN", "TWENTY-FIVE", "FIFTY", "SEVENTY-FIVE" and "ONE DOLLAR".
This was a simple request but produced a more complex outcome. Stamp images are wider than they are tall.
For the width "ONE", "TWO", "THREE" "FOUR", "FIVE", "TEN", and "FIFTY" fit above one stamp column; "FIFTEEN" fit above one stamp but unless perfect centering of the perforations, part was captured on the perforation tips of one or the other adjacent columns; "TWENTY-FIVE", "SEVENTY-FIVE" and "ONE DOLLAR" took three columns to fit.
For the height, "ONE", "TWO", "FOUR", "FIVE", "TEN" and "FIFTY fit in one row; "THREE", "FIFTEEN", "TWENTY-FIVE", "SEVENTY-FIVE" and "ONE DOLLAR" required three rows.
Placement of the text denomination was always between the plate number and the center of the press sheet of four panes. Thus the placement allowed one to determine if the plate block came from the UL, UR, LL or LR pane be it the horizontal or vertical text.
Some plates were made before the Postmaster General's order and thus had no text denomination (type 1 of my 3), plates made after the order always had the text denomination (type 2 of my 3). Plates made before the order that went back to press had the text denomination added before the next press run (type 3 of my3). So some plate numbers can be found as plate number only, some can be found only as plate number and text and some can be found as just plate number or plate number and text. Durland lists this detailed plate number/text denomination combinations.
As we are working with the Q4, four cent parcel post, I focus on those. In all of my previous illustrations the plate blocks only had the number. Here below are plate blocks with both number and text.
First as normally collected, UL and UR--
Note the inking variety above where only a small portion of the text printed due to lack of ink (not an entry problem)
Now a full strip to allow one to clearly see which is UL and UR--
To the bottom-
Again, note the inking issue (not an entry issue).
Here is a full strip cropped for a full pane.
Now to the side, again cropped form a full pane, the same pane as the image above.
Now just for illustration and comparison, here are multi row or column text examples, both from UL position --
One last difference with Parcel Post Stamps is that while four plates went to press at one time, it was not always four plates of the same denomination. When not, it was usually four different denominations. Such has been recorded and thus the final number of impression for each plate number is known. With regard to Q4, the known with spot/dot and without spot/dot plate numbers, the percentage of stamps produced can be determined for the Spot/dot verse the no spot/dot. There are slightly more no spot/dot examples but that information I had was destroyed by vandals and I have not yet recalculated it.