Thomas Jefferson (biography)
50¢ - Orange or deep orange
Scott #275  - Double line USPS wmk - 1895


Used: $6-$25
No postmark with gum (MH): $85-$200
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $425-$1,500

50¢ - Red orange
Scott #275a - Double line USPS wmk - 1895

50¢ - Orange or deep orange or red orange
Scott #275b  - Imperf - Double line USPS wmk - 1895

Issued: Issued November 9th 1895, Earliest recorded date of use, February 27th, 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 paid the foreign registered
rate so expect to see a lot of oval registered cancels. An example of which is shown below.

Because so few of the 50¢ were issued, multiples above blocks of four are hard to find.
Blocks of four really do not command much of price premium.


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 USP. If there is no watermark 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 old 30 cents gave way to a new 50 cents, the profile of Jefferson being transferred to the new value
The two new 1894 values, the 50¢ and the $1 did not have new engravings of presidential heads, they just recycled the 1870 engravings.
The original 1870 design of Jefferson was based, loosely on Houdon's bust of
Jefferson. Unlike any other representation of Jefferson the bust had bare shoulders.

Shown above is a version, that very nearly made it as the default Jefferson
bust to be used. Next to it is one of the many essays of the final 1870 version.

Above is shown the 1870 10¢, note the similar bust used as in the 1894 50¢ vignette. The 1870
rendition of the bust was criticized in that it was said that Jefferson was appearing to be falling asleep or
nodding off. This was corrected in the 1894 design, the vignette was tilted a tad to the right and the eyes
reworked, the whole effect being one 'wide-awake' third president of the United States.

One wonders how much coffee the engraver was drinking at the time as the resemblance between Houdon's bust of Thomas Jefferson and this rendition is quite marked.

Large Die Essay on India
Indicating alterations from 30¢ to 90¢ design

Large Die Essay on India
Note re-engraved portrait

Large Die Proof on India

Die Sunk on Card

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

Large Die Trial Color Proof on India
die sunk on card