The 1895 Bureau Series
The Value of the Stamp
Commodore Matthew Perry (bio)
$1 - Grayish black or black
The circle enclosing $1 are broken
Scott #276 - Double line USPS wmk - 1895
No postmark with gum (MH): $180-$300
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $800-$1,500
Facts and Statistics
Issued: Issued August 12th 1895, Earliest recorded date of use for #276, March 1st, 1896, for #276A, 6th April, 1896
Plate Size: Sheets of 400 subjects (4 panes of 100). Both #276 and #276A were printed from the same plate. 5 of the 20 rows were #276A
Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving
Watermark: USPS, double lined, see below
Quantity Issued: #276 192,449 and #276A 63,803
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
The original 1870 design of Perry was based on Walcotts bust, of which I am unable to find an image. Below is shown a similar marble bust of Perry by Erastus Dow Palmer, a contemporary of Walcott.
Shown below 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.
Varieties to look for
The Essay's and Proofs
There are no proofs or essays of #276 or #276A