The 1893 Columbians
The Value of the Stamp
$4 - Crimson lake
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
This shade requires a certificate
Issued: The $4 Columbian was officially was issued on January, 1st 1893, a Sunday, and at Post Offices the following day.
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100). There are no plates or sheets left in existence.
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
Color: Crimson lake and rose-carmine.
Usage: 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.
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.
What you should look for
PRONE TO FADING!
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.
Varieties to look for
The color ranges from Crimson Lake to pale Analine Rose to Rose Carmine. The stamp fades easily so try and avoid purchasing the dull carmine copies as this was not the original color. There are the occasional double transfers.
The Essay's and Proofs
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.