Flag Ship of Columbus
3¢ - Green, dull green or dark green
Scott #232


Used: $1-$3
No postmark with gum (MH): $6-$15
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $15-$60


Issued:The 3¢ 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.

Plate Size: Sheets of 100 subjects (2 panes of 50)

A pane of 50 of #232

Printer: 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

Watermark: None

Color: Green, dull green or dark green.

Quantity Issued: 11,051,250

Common use: The stamp was used in combination with other values as there was no 3¢ rate at the time.

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. There was no postal rate for the 3¢ stamp, it was printed for use as a make up stamp for other postal rates so it is a less commonly found than the 1¢ and 2¢ values.

230 fdc
1¢ to 10¢ values on cover, all postmarked
January 1st, 1893 in New York, N.Y.

Although January 2nd was the official release date, there are a very few covers with a January 1st postmark. This set of six, known as the 'Burger Covers' is a full set of the six values that had the January 2nd strike.

How come Jan 1st is so rare? Jan 1st, 1893 was a Sunday and at that time the Post Office had only one branch open on a Sunday, this was located in New York City. Hence the origination of these covers.

#232 on canceled on the last day of the Columbian Exhibition

Occasionally postmarks from states that had tiny amounts of mail in this year 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 vignette depicts the Santa Maria, the flagship of Christopher Columbus. The image was taken from an engraving that was last seen located in Spain in 1938, it was lost to history after the Spanish Civil War in 1939 and no copy exists.

Varieties to look for

The stamps color ranges from green through to dull green and dark green with little variation. Other than the occasional double entry there is not much in the way of variety.

One imperforate copy was issued at the time of printing.


The Essay's and Proofs

232 essay

An incomplete design on thick cardboard

Essay for the 3¢ (232-E2b)


Plate proof on thin card

The Exterior of the Transportation Building