Benjamin Franklin (biography)

1¢ - Pale blue, dark blue or blue
Triangles in Corner
Double line USPS wmk
Scott #264 - 1894


Used: $0.25
No postmark with gum (MH): $3-$4
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $7-$18

Used stamps are worth less than $1

Issued: April 29th, 1895
Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving
Quantity Issued: A little less than two billion

The earliest recorded example, May 16th 1895

Plate Size: A pane of 100, there are 4 panes to a sheet of 400


The Post Office report from 1899 supplies one with almost every detail you would wish to know about this stamp,
and every other stamp in this series. The level of detail is amazing.
Click here for more on this report.

The stamps were watermarked USPS and part of one of the three letters will be visible
(sometimes barely so) when immersing the stamp in watermark fluid using a simple black watermark tray.
By the way, you really have to believe you have got a valuable stamp before investing the $20 it costs
to buy the afore mentioned items. You could use the cheaper alternative, Ronosol Lighter fluid, however, unlike
watermark fluid, it is highly inflammable and dangerous to use, plus it stinks the house up.

The watermark will appear as part of the letters above.
A double lined letters US or P. If there is no watermark then
go here for the ultramarine colorn or here for the blue color.
If there are no triangles in the corner (see below) then go here.

This was the first instance of the Bureau applying a watermark, it was applied to make counterfeiting more difficult.
It is not known if the Bureau had anticipated the Chicago Counterfeits or added the watermark because of them. The
story of the Chicago Counterfeit can be found on the page for Scotts #248.

As this was the Bureau of Printing and Engraving contract a small triangle was cut into
the design at top left and top right. This distinguishes it from the earlier 1890 series.

The design was taken from the portrait bust of Benjamin Franklin by Jean Antoine Houdon.
Now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Previous versions of Franklins portrait (shown left) on the 1¢ stamp had Franklin face portray an alert friendly expression.
This, along with the darker blue color were the principle reasons that this design (shown right) was disliked by the general
public. The NY Times said that Franklin's face had 'entirely altered his expression and making him
resemble a putty-faced personification of senility'.

The stamps ranges from pale blue to dark blue, with the color getting darker the later the printing

Plate Proof on stamp paper (264P5)

Imperf on stamp paper (264c)