$4 - Crimson lake
Scott #244


Used: $390-$500
No postmark with gum (MH): $750-$1,250
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $1,500-$3,000

$4 - Rose carmine
Scott #244a
This shade requires a certificate


The $4 Columbian was officially was issued on January, 1st 1893,
a Sunday, and at Post Offices the following day.

244 cover US stamps
Earliest known cover, March 24th, 1893

Plate Size:
Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100).
There are no plates or sheets left in existence.

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


Crimson lake and rose-carmine.

Quantity Issued:

The $4 Columbian is often seen on its own on covers, mostly for philatelic
use, it is rarely seen in combination with other values. It is also frequently
seen with the registered fee cancel.

243 cover
Philatelic use of the $4 Columbian

243 cover
The $4 Columbian on a registered cover

The Inspiration for the Design

The design for Isabella was derived, or should I say adapted, from a 1497 Oil painting by
Bartolomé Bermejo. Columbus was derived from a 1512 portrait by Lorenzo Lotto
and is a little less stylized than Isabella's portrait.

243 cover

What you should look for

This stamp is very prone to fading, keep out of direct sunlight.
Most examples are faded and this will detract from the value.

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.

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.

Essays and Proofs


Columbian large die proof die sunk on 110x101mm card

244 P1 (var)
Large die proof on india die sunk on card

Plate Proof on India

For 179 days the World's Columbian Exposition created the illusion of a beautiful, orderly White City.
The gleam of the fair buildings was due to a plasterlike coating called staff.