The 1893 Columbians
5¢ - Chocolate, pale brown, dark chocolate of yellow brown
No postmark with gum (MH): $8-$20
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $25-$90
The 5¢ 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.
Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100)
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
The 5¢ Colombian paid the ½oz UPU international postal rate,
which was the lowest and most used international postal rate, hence this
tamp is quite common.
Chocolate, pale brown, dark chocolate of yellow brown.
The more desirable town cancel
The less desirable heavy cancel, commonly used
on parcel post and commercial mail is shown above.
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. There
was no postal rate for the 3¢ stamp, it was printed for
use as a make up stamp for other postal rates so it is a less
commonly found than the 1¢ and 2¢ values.
1¢ to 10¢ values on cover, all postmarked
January 1st, 1893 in New York, N.Y.
Although January 2nd was the official release date, there are a very few
covers with a January 1st postmark. This set of six, known as the 'Burger
Covers' is a full set of the six values that had the January 2nd strike.
Why is Jan 1st is so rare? Jan 1st, 1893 was a
Sunday and at that time the Post Office had only one
branch open on a Sunday, this was located in New York
City. Hence the origination of these covers.
3¢ Columbian tied to Exposition Postal Card
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 Inspiration for the Design
The design was created by Alfred S. Major. The frame was engraved by Douglas P. Ronaldson,
the image is from a painting by the Czech painter Václav Brožík.
The engraving of the picture (or vignette) was created by Charles Skinner.
Interestingly this is the only Columbian stamp issued
whilst the artist was still alive. The painting
was created in 1884 and is now located in the dining room
of the Hotel Manoir Richelieu in Quebec, Canada.
Douglas S. Ronaldson was born in 1825 in England, died in 1902. He came
in 1840 to Philadelphia and worked there until 1858 as an engraver.
From the ABNC, he was employed in 1860 and remained even after the merger
there until 1897. At that time he joined the US Bureau of Engraving and
Printing, and worked there until his death.
Charles Skinner, was born in 1841 and died on 14th March 1932. In the early 60s
he worked as a book illustrator in New York City. He joined the ABNC in 1864 and
then moved in 1874 to the Continental BNCo and stayed there until retirement in June
The original painting by Václav Broží
The picture can now be found in the dining room of the
Hotel Manoir Richelieu in Quebec, Canada.
The painting can be seen on the far wall.
Photograph courtesy of the Hotel Manior Richelieu
All rights reserved
The Essay's and Proofs
engraved vignette mounted on watercolor drawing
Block sunk on thick card
Columbian Large Die Essay on India
Die Sunk on Card
Columbian large die proof die sunk on 110x101mm card
Small die proof on india, mounted on card
Proof on thin card
Plate proof on card stock
Large Die Trial Color Proofs on India
Printed on card