Abraham Lincoln (biography)
4¢ - Dark brown or brown
No Triangles in Corners (see below)
Scott #254 - Un-watermarked - 1894


Used: $1
No postmark with gum (MH): $15-$35
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $75-$135


Issued: September 11th 1894, earliest recorded date of use, October 16th, 1894. Earliest recorded cover, December 5th, 1894.

Plate Size: Sheets of 400 subjects (4 panes of 100)

Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving, their first contract

Watermark: None

Quantity Issued: 17,000,000

What you should look for

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 this photograph of Abraham Lincoln. An excellent collection of the photographs of 'Old Abe' can be found here. This photo was taken before his presidency, whilst a Senator in Springfield Illinois. It was taken on February 9th 1860 at Brady's gallery in Washington DC

Curiously ABC co. did not use their master die for Lincoln, also shown below. Whilst the design was better at capturing the expression on Lincolns face, the hair treatmen was a dramatic departure.

Varieties to look for

There are some imperfs, although it is debatable that these were issued as such, they are more likely to be small die plate proofs. Nevertheless, Scotts chooses to give them their own designation as an imperf, they can be found as Scotts #254a. It would seem, by recent auction prices that the philatalic world begs to differ with Scotts, recent auction prices for hinged examples are only $160.

The Essay's and Proofs

Detail of essay #222-E2
An interesting essay of Lincoln

Large Die Essay on India
Die sunk on card
Dark Yellow Brown

Die on India, die sunk on card

Die on India, die sunk on card
Dark Brown

Large Die Plate Proof
Mounted on Card

254 Plate Proof US Stamp

254 P2
Roosevelt Album Proof
Mounted on card