Commodore Matthew Perry (bio)
$1 - Grayish black or black
Type I
The circle enclosing $1 are broken
Scott #261 - Un-watermarked - 1894


Used: $50-$135
No postmark with gum (MH): $180-$300
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $2,000-$5,000

Facts and Statistics

Issued: Replaced the 1890 90¢ value. Earliest recorded date of use, January 18th, 1895,

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

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

Watermark: None

Quantity Issued: 26,284

What you should look for


Infrequently required the $1 stamp was sometimes required on heavy parcels or overweight letters to foreign destinations, which meant heavy cancels, as seen below. Clean or light cancels add a premium to the value.

The Inspiration for the Design

The old 90 cents gave way to a new $1, the profile of Perry being transferred to the new value

The two new 1894 values, the 50¢ and the $1 did not have new engravings of presidential heads, they just recycled the 1870 engravings.

The original 1870 design of Perry was based on Walcotts bust, of which I am unable to find an image. Below is shown a similar marble bust of Perry by Erastus Dow Palmer, a contemporary of Walcott.

Shown below is a version, that very nearly made it as the default Jefferson bust to be used. Next to it is one of the many essays of the final 1870 version.

Commodore Matthew Perry (1794 -1858)

Varieties to look for

There are no varieties of #261

The Essay's and Proofs

Large Die Essay on India

Die Sunk on 49 x 60mm card

Large Die Essay on India

Die Sunk on 61 x 101mm card

Paste Up Essay on India

Die Sunk on 63 x 102mm card
Black frame and blue green vignette pasted onto design

Large Die Essay on India
No triangles, dark blue indigo.

Large Die Essay on India
with triangles, blue green.

Large Die Essay on India
Die sunk on card

Large Die Essay on India
Die sunk on card

Senator James B. Beck
Large Die Essay on India
Die Sunk on Card
Unadopted design

Portrait of Senator James B. Beck

Large Trial Color Proof on India
Die sunk on card