The 1895 Bureau Series
Watermarked Double Lined letters - USPS
The Value of the Stamp
George Washington (biography)
2¢ - Reddish carmine - Type III
For the Pink Color see 267a below
Horizontal lines run through upper triangles but not
through the double white lines that border the triangles.
Scott #267 - Double line USPS wmk. - 1895
No postmark with gum (MH): $1-$3
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $4-$20
2¢ - Pink or bright pink - Type III
Scott #267a - Double line USPS wmk. - 1895
#267a earliest recorded date of use, Dec 8th, 1897 shown below
Plate Size: Sheets of 400 subjects (4 panes of 100)
Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving, their first contract
Watermark: USPS, double lined, see below
Quantity Issued: 7.5 Billion
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.
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
Brookman mentions a variety whereby the shading lines in the center of the upper right triangle are missing. Although I cannot find of one in auction records, because of the authority on this, it no doubt exists, or existed. Whether it is a genuine printing flaw or due to a flyspeck of dust on the stamp will never be known.
The Essay's and Proofs