This time we tackle two red and green imprints, varieties of one of the Joseph R. Carpenter designs. L's were the last type of imprint that Carpenter introduced, probably in June of 1874. Fifteen months later all imprints were provided by the Graphic Company of New York.
Type L is known in eight colors, and a variety of shades. In the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps & Covers light green is listed under green for L4 with no minor letter, but with a price differential of several hundred dollars in favor of green, both unused and used. L10 is given as red and L19a as violet red, but prices are the same.
The shades of green used for L4 vary from the dark greens on the Pawtucket, Rhode Island drafts to the lighter color of the imprints on the Plattsburgh, New York checks. The Oxford, Pennsylvania checks bear bluish-green imprints, too green to be called turquoise but quite distinct from the other light greens. The handsome Erie, Pennsylvania checks have the imprint mostly on a red background making it difficult to distinguish the color, but scanning it and blowing up a portion against a white section shows it to be a very dark green, at least on my monitor.
An Erie merchant's check with a dark green imprint. To my knowledge, all copies have the signature area cut out.
The reds of L10 range from the pink end, through the darker imprints on the Lewisburg checks, to the dark, violet reds of the Philadelphia Trust Safe Deposit and Insurance Company check imprints, some of which almost look brown.
The L10 imprints range in a different way as well. Examples are known from Preston, Kean & Company in Chicago, and, West of the Mississippi, Holden, Missouri. Carpenter did not have much of a market in the West. A gray L is known from Colorado, an orange one from Kirksville, Missouri, and blue and turquoise ones (plus greenish shades) from Denison, Texas. Are there others?
A copy of the Missouri L10.
To see the L4 and L10 lists, use this inventory index..