Benjamin Franklin (biography)

1¢ - Dark blue, blue or bright blue
Triangles in corner
Scott #247 - Un-watermarked - 1894

Value

Used: $0.25
No postmark with gum (MH): $7-$15
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $27-$35

Used stamps are worth less than $1

Issued: 10th October 1894, earliest recorded example 5th November1894
Plate Size: Sheets of 400 subjects (4 panes of 100)
Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving, their first contract
Quantity Issued: 340,000,000

As this was the Bureau of Printing and Engraving contract a small triangle was cut into
the design at top left and top right. This distinguishes it from the earlier 1890 series.

The ultramarine ink used on #247 proved unsatisfactory, although it had worked well in New York,
it did not like the humidity that Washington D.C. residents endure every summer. Consequently
after a short run of only 67 million stamps the Ultramarine was changed to a more stable, seen
in this issue. So successfull was it that 340 million were issued in this color.

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.

Shown below is a fairly typical example of the rough looking perforations that plagues #247.
This is not a fault, it was a result of the Bureau's first attempt at printing stamps.
Through practice they perfected the process and rough perforations like this become infrequent.


An example of blind perforations

The design was taken from the portrait bust of Benjamin Franklin by Jean Antoine Houdon.
Now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


Previous versions of Franklins portrait on the 1¢ stamp had Franklin facing to the right. This,
along with the pale blue color were the principle reasons that this design was disliked by the general
public. The NY Times said that Franklin facing to the left 'entirely altered his expression and making him
resemble a putty-faced personification of senility'.

The stamp color ranges from bright ultramarine to dark ultramarine. Due to the difficulty in printing
this shade of blue you may see color variations with the stamp stamp. Other than the occasional double
entry there is little to look for.


Essay 247 E1 - Black
Large Die Essay on India Card
72 x 72mm card
Note corner triangle


Essay 247 E2b
Die on White Card
With pencil notations
3 Ultra Blue, 1 Chinese Blue, 2 White

Essay 247 E2b
Die on White Card
With pencil notations
3 Antwerp Blue, 1 Ultra Blue


Essay 247 E2b
Die on White Card
With pencil notations
No 6 with white, Antwerp Blue

Essay 247 E2b
Die on White Card
With pencil notations
1 Antwerp, 4 Ultra

Essay 247 E2b
Die on White Card
Without pencil notations

Essay 247 E3
Die on India
Dusky Green
50mm x 52mm

Essay 247 E4
Die on India mounted on 57mm x 102mm card
which is then mounted on a 144mm x 195mm card
Green

Essay 247 E4 Unlisted variety
Die on India mounted on 65mm x 98mm card
Dull Violet

Essay 247 E5
Die on India , die sunk on card
Dusky Blue Green
(note thick triangle lines)

Essay 247 E6
Die on India , die sunk on card
Dusky Blue Green
(note thin outer triangle lines)

Essay 247 E7
Die on India , die sunk on 151 x 228mm card
Dusky Blue Green
(note triangle lines at adopted thickness)

Essay 247 E8
Ultramarine
Die on India , die sunk on 71 x 72mm card

Essay 247 E8
Dusky Blue Green
Die on India , die sunk on 71 x 72mm card

Essay 247 E8
Dark Blue
Die on India , die sunk on 71 x 72mm card

Essay 247 E8
Blue
Die on India , die sunk on 72 x 73mm card

247-P1
Large die proof on india paper
die sunk on card

247 P2 US Proof Stamp

247 P2
Roosevelt Album Proof

Essay 247 P4
Blue
Plate Proof