50¢ -Slate blue or dull slate blue
Scott #240


Used: $20-$60
No postmark with gum (MH): $80-$175
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $350-$600


Issued: The 50¢ was officially was issued on January, 1st 1893, a Sunday, and at Post Offices the following day.

Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100)

240 pane

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: Slate blue or dull slate blue.

Usage: The stamp was most commonly used in combination with other values to pay heavyweight foreign rates.


240 cover

Quantity Issued: 243,750

The Inspiration for the Design

The design is a copy of A.G. Heaton's 1882 oil 'The Recall of Columbus' This painting is now located in the US Senate. A.G. Heaton also painted "Western Cattle in a Storm' used on the 1898 $1

What you should look for

As with all the values of this issue, look for Columbian Expo cancels or on a Columbian Expo cover, 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 and are common on this value.

Expo cancel SON

Varieties to look for

The color ranges from Slate Blue to Dull Slate Blue. There are the occasional double transfers.

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

240 P4 US Proof Stamp

240 P4

Plate Proof on Card Stock

Large multiples, such as the one above, are rare in this value

The Columbus Expo was not all about large exhibition halls and grand boulevards. In between
on a street called the 'Midway' were scores of smaller booths, tents and the like. Shown
above is the Submarine Diving Exhibit, sans water.