The 1894 Bureau Series
The Value of the Stamp
George Washington (biography)
2¢ - Pale pink or pink
Scott #248 - Un-watermarked - 1894
No postmark with gum (MH): $6-$10
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $16-$35
Issued: 5th October 1894, earliest recorded example 18th October 1894 (shown below).
Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving, their first contract
What you should look for
At the same time that the ultramarine ink on #246 was changed, so was the pink of this stamp, hence the short run of only 35 million. The pink stamp was not popular, being difficult to read the value and according to newspaper reports of the time was often thought to be faded.
Below is a typical example of the 1894 Bureau Issue, you will notice the blind perfs and rough appearance of the perforations. The machines for perforating the stamp had just been relocated from New York to Washington DC and did not have the old operators from the ABC, consequently the new operators took some time to get used to perforating the large sheets of 400 stamps. By the next issue, in 1895, they had got the practice down to a science, hence that issue has nice clean cut perforations. The untidy perforations of this issue do not detract from its 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.
The Inspiration for the Design
The design was taken from the portrait bust of Washington by Jean Antoine Houdon. Now at Mount Vernon.
Varieties to look for
The stamps ranges from soft pale pink to pink. There are eight singles and one block imperf vertically recorded (Scotts #248a), shown below.
Shown above is the famous "Chicago Counterfeit'. The forgery was printed by Tinsa McMillan at the time the stamp was in circulation. She was caught before many were sold, they are now worth $200-$250 each.
Interestingly at the time of Tinsa's arrest, at the Canadian Novetly Supply Company, in Ontario, Canada, Tinsa had in her back room, a perforating machine, a copying camera, copper electro type plates and sheets, gummed paper, arc lights etc. She recieved a one year sentance for her crime.
The Essay's and Proofs
Proof 248 P4