President James A Garfield (biography)
6¢ - Dull brown or claret brown
Scott #271 - Double line USPS wmk - 1895


Used: $1-$2
No postmark with gum (MH): $18-$35
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $65-$170


6¢ - Dull brown or claret brown
Scott #271a  - USIR watermark - 1895
26 copies exist of which seven are original gum

Facts and Statistics

Issued: Issued August 31st 1895. Earliest recorded date of use, September 14th 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: 20,700,000.


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

A full sheet of #271

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
Remember, the letters have to be double lined. If single
lined then go here to identify your stamp

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.

The Inspiration for the Design

The source photograph of James Garfield is shown below, followed by the Bureau of Engravings Master Die of the President, folllowe by the design used in the stamp.

Varieties to look for


The Bureau printed perhaps one sheet with the wrong watermark, they used the USIR watermark reserved for
internal revenue stamps. If you see a I or letter R in the watermark then see the price guide above for #267a. Shown above is the only multiple of #267a .

The Essay's and Proofs

#271P Finished Plate Proof on Stamp Paper

The Assassination of James Garfield