The 1895 Bureau Series
Watermarked Double Lined letters - USPS
The Value of the Stamp
Ulysses S Grant (biography)
5¢ - Dull brown or claret brown
Scott #270 - Double line USPS wmk. - 1895
No postmark with gum (MH): $6-$24
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $30-$55
Issued: June 11th, 1895, earliest recorded date of use, September 12th, 1895.
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: 120,000,000. The number is great than the 3¢, 4¢ or 6¢ as the foreign mail rate at the time was 5¢.
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
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 Inspiration for the Design
Contrary to the paucity of photographs of Lincoln, Ulysses S Grant has over 300 photographs of him. Many of them whilst a Civil War General. The design was based off this photograph. Like Lincolns representation on #254 his hair treatment was given some artistic licence.
Varieties to look for
The Essay's and Proofs