The 1893 Columbians
The Value of the Stamp
$1 - Salmon or dark salmon
No postmark with gum (MH): $240-$500
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $1,350-$1,600
Issued: Jan 2nd 1893 but first placed on sale at the Columbian Exposition on Jan 3rd 1893
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100)
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.
Quantity Issued: 55,050.
Color: Salmon or dark salmon.
Common use: The $1 Columbian is often seen on its own on covers, mostly for philatelic use, it is rarely seen in combination with other values. The genuine uses are for paying the registered fee on higher rate foreign destinations.
The Inspiration for the Design
The design is a based on a painting of Isabella Presenting her Jewels by Munoz Degrain, the painting now hangs in one of the legislative chambers at Madrid.
King Ferdinand objected to the expense required to fit out a fleet for Columbus, because the treasury had been exhausted by the war with the Moors. With a woman's enthusiasm, Isabella exclaimed: "I will undertake the enterprise for my own Crown of Castile, and will pledge my jewels to raise the necessary funds!"
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. The ink was not very stable and this stamp loses it vibrancy easily, particularly used copies, see below.
Varieties to look for
The color ranges from Salmon to Dark Salmon. 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
President William McKinley was assinated in the Music Building whilst visiting the expo. An excellent entry on this event can be found here in Wikipedia.