The 1894 Bureau Series
James Madison (biography)
$2 - Bright blue
Scott #262 - Un-watermarked - 1894
No postmark with gum (MH): $190-$400
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $3,000-$7,000
Facts and Statistics
Issued: Earliest recorded date of use, July 6th, 1895.
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
Centering on this stamp is fairly poor. Well centered examples sell at a slight premium.
Infrequently the $2 stamp was sometimes required on heavy parcels or overweight letters to foreign destinations, which meant heavy cancels, as seen below.
Any multiple of this stamp is very scarce. I can only find four examples of a block being sold (as shown below) in the last four years. Image courtesy of Robert Siegal Auction Galleries
The Inspiration for the Design
The source for the design was based off the David Edwin's(?) engraving which based off Gilbert Stuart's portrait of James Madison, not the W.A. Wilmer engraving
Gilbert Stuart's portrait of James Madison
Detail of David Edwin's (?) engraving of Madison
Full version of David Edwin's (?) engraving of Madison
W.A. Wilmers engraving of James Madison
Varieties to look for
However be careful of the stamp below. On brillian white paper the stamp was later re-issued by the USPS in 1994, example
The Essay's and Proofs