Green, dull green or dark green
Subject: Flag Ship of Columbus
Number issued: 11,051,250
Scott #: 232
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.
$1 - £3
No postmark with gum (MH)
$5 - $14
Full perfect gum, no postmark
no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH)
$23 - $50
Stamps with a Columbian Exposition postmark, or even better, on mail from the Exposition have a significant price premium. The latter can command prices in the $100 to $300 range.
A Tudor Carrack, the Mary Rose, depicted on the 'Anthony Roll' circa 1530. There are no visual records of the Santa Maria, a Spanish Carrack, all paintings and depictions will be based on contemporary resources such as this.
A Tudor Carrack, the Mary Rose, as it is now. Visitors to the Mary Rose will get an idea of the size and nature of the Santa Maria, which at the time was a fast sailing ship.
A slightly later depiction of Carracks. A print by Frans Huys circa 1560.
A pane of 100 of #232, there are two panes to a sheet of 200
A forgery of #232
Very few 3¢ stamps were used for first class mail, as a consequence town cancels (an example is shown on the right) are uncommon. The more usual cancel is heavy and blurred.
One sheet of #232 was issued without perforations, an example of a pair from that sheet is shown above
While the central design is said to be after a Spanish engraving, and is so stated by Luff and in the descriptive book printed by the Post Office Department, there have been doubts raised about this. The ship featured is the Santa Maria, flagship of Christopher Columbus
The same design used on #232 was also used on this Newfoundland 10c. Notice the ship has been given a different name and attributed to a different expedition.
#232 was issued with the following plate #'s
L56 , L57 , R75 , R76
An incomplete design on thick cardboard
Plate proof on thin card
Large die proof die sunk on card
An American Bank Note Company set of proofs mounted on card and signed by the engravers
On the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the Landing of Columbus the largest Exposition ever held on US soil was held in Chicago. The Post Office was determined not to miss out on this and proposed a series of stamps to commemorate the event. The purpose behind this was three fold
1) To encourage the purchase of stamps by the public
2) To stimulate the hobby of stamp collecting
3) To make a tidy profit
It was estimated that 3 Billion stamps would be sold and between September and the end of December 1892 work progressed on their production.
The Post Office's plan of their exhibition space at the Chicago Exposition
At the Exposition the Post Office was in the US Government Building and had been given a vast amount of display space. The display cases showcased stamps from the very earliest days of stamps to 1892 both in the US and around the world. Postal cards were sold in every building and of course one could purchase the new Columbian series stamps.
The US Government building at the World's Columbian Exposition
The Post Office Dept. informed all post offices that they would not be able to order the new series on an 'as needed' basis as was the normal procedure. Instead they would be sent an amount the powers to be deemed sufficient. Plus the department would not accept any returns and they would not be issued any other stamps until they had run out the new series. This caused much complaining by the post office owners, complaints were coming in that these stamps were too big, being twice the size of current issue (this was done to accommodate the expansive designs).
The Post Office display space at the World's Fair
The post offices need not have worried. The stamps proved to be immensely popular. So much so that Post Offices refused to sell the higher values for fear of running out. The price of these skyrocketed as a result. Companies instructed their offices to use the higher values on internal parcels so they could benefit from their sale when delivered to their branch offices. US travellers in Europe were accosted for them, they were even traded on bourses.
And then like all bubbles, it collapsed. Before you knew it the $5 stamps were being sold at a steep discount. Being totally useless for letters, and with a world glut the price dropped like a stone, at one point stamp dealers would only offer 30% of the face value for them.