The 1893 Columbians
Flag Ship of Columbus
3¢ Green, dull green or dark green
No postmark with gum (MH): $6-$15
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $15-$60
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.
Sheets of 100 subjects (2 panes of 50)
A pane of 50 of #232
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
Green, dull green or dark green.
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.
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.
A Newfoundland 10¢ with the same vignette
engraving as the Columbian 3¢
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.
One imperforate sheet was accidentaly issued at the time of printing.
The Essay's and Proofs
An incomplete design on thick cardboard
Essay for the 3¢ (232-E2b)
Large die proof die sunk on card (232-P1)
Plate proof on thin card
The Exterior of the Transportation Building