Henry Clay (biography)
15¢ - Dark blue or indigo
Scott #274  - Double line USPS wmk - 1895


Used: $2-$7
No postmark with gum (MH): $30-$90
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $150-$300

15¢ - Dark blue or indigo
Scott #274a  - Double line USPS wmk - 1896

Issued: Issued November 30th 1895, Earliest recorded date of use, May 5th, 1896.
Plate Size: Sheets of 400 subjects (4 panes of 100)
Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving
Quantity Issued: 7,013,612.

The stamp was often used on parcels and a result there are a lot of heavily cancelled examples.


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 and if there are no triangles in the corner (see below)
then go here.

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 source of the design

The source photograph (below) for the print above

Two early photographs of Henry Clay

Small Die Proof on India

Large Die Proof on India

Large Die Proof on India
58 x 61mm, die sunk on 152 x 203mm card

259 P2 US Proof stamp

259 P2
Small Die Proof

Trial Color Proof on India
Dark Violet
Die Sunk on Card