The 1895 Bureau Series
Watermarked Double Lined letters - USPS
George Washington (biography)
2¢ - Carmine - Type II
Horizontal lines run through upper triangles but thinner inside triangle
Scott #266 - Double line USPS wmk. - 1895
No postmark with gum (MH): $11-$20
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $20-$55
Plate Size: Sheets of 400 subjects (4 panes of 100)
Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving
Watermark: USPS, double lined, see below
Quantity Issued: 125,000,000
A pane of the 1895 2¢ (types I, II and III all come from the same pane)
DETAILED FACTS AND FIGURES
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
What you should look for
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.
Look for part of one of the above letters in the watermark
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.
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.
THE DETROIT 2¢ POSTAGE DUE OVERPRINT
In 1895 the Detroit Post Office ran out of 2¢ Postage Due Samps and resorted to hand stamping both a 1895 2¢ stamp and the envelope with a straight line 'Due 2' indicating that two cents of postage was due. The covers are now worth around $500 each.
Plate number blocks bearing plate #116 are scarce and demand a premium.
The Inspiration for the Design
The design was taken from the portrait bust of Washington by Jean Antoine Houdon. Now at Mount Vernon.
Varieties to look for
The Essay's and Proofs
There are no essays or proofs of #266