The 1894 Bureau Series
The Value of the Stamp
2¢ - Carmine or Dark Carmine - Type II
Horizontal lines run through upper triangles but thinner inside
triangle giving it the inside of the triangle a lighter impression
Scott #251 - Un-watermarked - 1894
No postmark with gum (MH): $40-$65
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $200-$500
Issued: 5th October 1894, earliest recorded example 17th October 1894
Plate Size: Sheets of 400 subjects (4 panes of 100)
Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving, their first contract
What you should look for
#251 is distinguishable by the Type II triangle in the corners. The triangles were placed there to distinguish them from the earlier printing of this design by the American Bank Note Company. The fact that the triangles are different is only attributable that they were cut into the plates in a different manner; there was no special significance to each of the three known designs of the triangle.
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 does 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 Essay's and Proofs