'Western Cattle in Storm'
$1 - Black
Scott #292 - 1898

Used: $265-$500
No postmark with gum (MH): $600-$1,100
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $1,700-$3,000


Introduced on June 17th, 1890. Earliest documented use,
a first day cover from June 17th 1898

Plate Size:
Sheets of 100 subjects (2 panes of 50). Brookman illustates
a full sheet from a 1947 sale, although since that time there
has been no trace of it and it has to be presumed that it was broken up.

The Bureau of Printing and Engraving

Double lined USPS watermark.

Quantity Issued:

What you should look for

Light cancels

The $1 was used mostly for heavy letters. As a result it rarely had
the first class mail cancel, it is more likely it had a heavy killer
cancel or registry cancel, and most $1 Trans-Mississippi stamps are
marred with an ugly blurred cancel such as the one shown below.

292 Heavy Cancel Scotts - US Postage Stamps
A typical heavy cancel

The Inspiration for the Design

The inspiration for the design was a James McWhirter painting depicting
cattle in a winter storm in the West Highlands of Scotland. This painting
was copied, without the permission of the owner, Lord Blythswood, by an
American Cattle Company as a sort of trademark. This said trademark came
to the attention of the Bureau designers and it was adopted for the $1
vignette design. Little did the designer know, at the time, that the scene
depicted was in Scotland, not the Western US as was supposed. A full
apology was issued to the owner of the painting.

Considered by many, and myself, to be the most beautiful American stamp
issued it occupies a special place in the hearts of most serious collectors.

292 McWhirter Painting Western Cattle in a Storm
From an 1887 James McWhirter Painting entitled "The Vanguard"

Western Cattle in the Storm
A later Dillon Engraving

Western Cattle Drive
A cattle drive from this period in history

In the early days of western expansion, the primary economic activity was
cattle ranching, on the seemingly endless plains of the west, which were
ideally suited for cattle. Bison were driven off and killed to the point of
extinction. This bonanza was to end with:
1) the onset of agriculture, where public land was being fenced off by
those who wanted to grow crops and
2) the overgrazing of the avialable land that was left.
Bankruptcy soon followed and the days of open cattle ranging were a
memory of the old west.

Cattle Ranching trials of the old west
The trails of the old west, originated in Texas, the bulk of which ended in the
stockyards of Omaha (the largest) and Chicago, from where the meat was distrubuted
by the rail networks.

The Essay's and Proofs

Vignette design
Die essay on india
Die sunk on card

#292 E5
The original bi-color design (green and black)
Die sunk on card
The bi-color design had to be dropped as the bi-color printing process
was taxed to the max printing revenue stamps for the Spanish-American
war that had broken out.

292-E6 Scotts - US Postage Stamps
292-E6 Detail
Die essay on india
Die sunk on card

292-E8 US Postage Stamp Proof

Large die essay proof pulled on
India paper and die sunk on card

US stamps

Large die proof on card