The 1893 Columbians
8¢ - Magenta, dark magenta or light magenta
No postmark with gum (MH): $9-$27
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $35-$100
Issued: The stamp was issued on March 1st 1893. Note that this was issued three months after the rest of the Columbian series. This was issued as it was planned to have an 8¢ rate for registered letters. It is the first 8¢ stamp issued by the Post Office.
Plate Size: Sheets of 100 subjects (2 panes of 100)
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
Quantity Issued: 10,656,550
Usage: Paid the 8¢ registry fee so therefore quite common, you will see a lot of registry target cancels on this issue.
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. Any stamp is more desirable with a clean cancel, preferably a town cancel, heavy cancels can detract from the value. As this value was used for the registered mail rate expect to see a lot of target cancels when looking for a copy.
The Inspiration for the Design
The design is a reproduction of Francisco Jover y Casanova’s painting “The Affectionate Reception of Columbus by Ferdinand and Isabella”, now located at Valladolid University, Valladolid, Spain.
Varieties to look for
The only variety known are examples from one sheet that was printed on both sides.
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 Essay's and Proofs
A map of the Columbian Exposition, 1893
Below is a fairly extensive history of the fair, done by students
the result is informative