2¢ - Brown violet, gray violet or dark brown violet
Scott #231 -1893


Used: $0.25
No postmark with gum (MH): $2-$6
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $6-$25

Triple values if broken hat variety below. Used broken hat = $1


The 2¢ was officially issued on January, 1st 1893, a Sunday,
and at Post Offices the following day. There are a couple of
examples postmarked in New York, N.Y., on January 1st, 1893
(see image below).

Plate Size:
Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100) and, because the ABNC
company ran out of the plates an additional 45 plates were made
in sheets of 100 (2 panes of 50).

A half pane of 50 of #231

The American Bank Note Company, thereafter,
with one exception of the Overun stamps of 1943 all stamps have since
been printed by the Bureau of Engraving


Quantity Issued

Brown violet, gray violet or dark brown violet.

The stamp paid the domestic letter rate making it the most commonly used Columbian value.

What you should look for

As with all the values of this issue, look for Columbian Expo cancels,
they increase the value of the stamp or cover.

A rare R.P.O. World's Columbian Exposotion cancel

Occasionally postmarks from states that had tiny amounts of mail in
the years 1893-1894 can add to the value. This is particularly true of
Alaska and the Territories. For a list of the number of stamps issued
by each state in the year ending 30th June 1894 click here.

The Inspiration for the Design

The design originated from a painting titled ‘Columbus Landing at
Guanahani’ by John Vanderlyn. Now located inside the Rotunda of
the Washington Capitol Building.

It is worth noting that Columbus is clean shaven whilst
sighting land on the one cent stamp, whilst this two cent
value depicts Columbus during the landing sporting a full beard.
This was the subject of much derision at the time of issue.

Varieties to look for

The 'Broken Hat' variety

The best known variety of the Columbian series is the
“broken hat”, it´s probably the result of a
small crack caused by a weakening of the metal on the transfer roll.
The image below right illustrates the flaw.


2¢ - Brown violet, gray violet or dark brown violet
Broken hat Variety - image shows broken hat area
Scott #231 var


The “broken frame line” was also caused by a defective transfer roll and
occurs near the base outer right vertical frame line and extends for about
one-eighth of an inch. Another small transfer break, which is known in two
different stages, occurs on the botton line in the lower right corner of the 2¢ stamp.


2¢ - Brown violet
1 sheet of 50 issued - Scott #231b Imperf - 1893
Auction price - $4,000
Created from printers waste.

There are some minor varieties that can be found, an example of which is shown below.

A Columbian 2¢ with no perforations
between the design and the selvedge

The Essay's and Proofs

Essay of the 2¢ (231-E7b)

Large die proof die sunk on card (231-P1)

Despite the popularity of the Columbian series
there are very few essays and proofs on the market.