The 1898 Bureau Series
Watermarked Double Lined letters - USPS
Benjamin Franklin (biography)
1¢ - Green
Triangles in Corner
Double line USPS wmk
Scott #279 - 1898
Used: a few cents
No postmark with gum (MH): $4-$6
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $5-$12
Issued: January 17th, 1898, earliest recorded example, January 31st 1898
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: Five billion. It's a very common stamp.
DETAILED FACTS AND FIGURES
The color was changed to green to conform with the Universal Postal Union Designation for the 1¢ value.
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
Around this time pre-canceled stamps appear, on this issue
The Inspiration for the Design
The design was taken from the portrait bust of Benjamin Franklin by Jean Antoine Houdon. Now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Previous versions of Franklins portrait on the 1¢ stamp had Franklin facing to the right. This, along with the pale blue color were the principle reasons that this design was disliked by the general public. The NY Times said that Franklin facing to the left 'entirely altered his expression and making him resemble a putty-faced personification of senility'.
Varieties to look for
The Essay's and Proofs