The 1894 Bureau Series
The Value of the Stamp
Abraham Lincoln (biography)
4¢ - Dark brown or brown
No Triangles in Corners (see below)
Scott #254 - Un-watermarked - 1894
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
What you should look for
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