James Madison (biography)
$2 - Bright blue
Scott #277 - Double line USPS wmk - 1895


Used: $125-$275
No postmark with gum (MH): $300-$700
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $900-$2,500

$2 -Dark blue
Scott #277a - Double line USPS wmk - 1895

$2 -Dark blue
Scott #277b - Imperf - Double line USPS wmk - 1895

Issued: Issued August 13th 1895, Earliest recorded date of use, July 18th, 1896.
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100)
Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving
Quantity Issued: 31,720.

#277 Specimen


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

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 $1 issue was primarily used for registered mail,
as shown above, therefore light cancels sell at a premium.

Gilbert Stuart's portrait of James Madison
(Gilbert Stuart painted a total of four portraits of James Madison)
The painting is now owned by the Colonial Williamsburg Association

Detail of David Edwin's engraving of James Madison
circa. 1809-17
(the source for the design)

Full version of David Edwin's engraving of Madison

W.A. Wilmers engraving of James Madison
(which was based off an Edwins print
copy of the engraving )

Gilbert Stuart
(who painted James Madison)

The Bureau of Engraving's later 19thC engraving of James Madison
which used Wilmers Engraving as the source.

However be careful of the stamp above.
On brilliant white paper the stamp was later re-issued by the USPS in 1994, example shown below.

Large Die Essay on card

Large Die Essay on card

Large Die Essay on card

Die Essay on India
Die Sunk on Card

Large die proof
Die sunk on card

Large Plate Proof on card

Large Trail Color Proof on card
Orange Brown