4¢ - Rose brown
Double line USPS wmk. - Scott #280 - 1897

Value
Used: $1
No postmark with gum (MH): $1-$2
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $8-$1----5


4¢ - Lilac brown or brownish claret 
Double line USPS wmk. - Scott #280a - 1897


Abraham Lincoln (biography)
4¢ - Orange Brown

Double line USPS wmk. - Scott #280b - 1897

Used stamps are worth less than $1

Statistics

Issued: October 7th, 1898, earliest recorded example November 13th, 1898.

Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100)

Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving

Watermark: USPS, double lined, see below

Quantity Issued: 153,000,000

DETAILED FACTS AND FIGURES

The color of this stamp is lighter than #269

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
Remember, the letters have to be double lined. If single
lined then go here to identify your stamp

The Inspiration for the Design

The design was taken from this photograph of Abraham Lincoln. An excellent collection of the photographs of 'Old Abe' can be found here. This photo was taken before his presidency, whilst a Senator in Springfield Illinois. It was taken on February 9th 1860 at Brady's gallery in Washington DC

Curiously ABC co. did not use their master die for Lincoln, also shown below. Whilst the design was better at capturing the expression on Lincolns face, the hair treatmen was a dramatic departure.


Varieties to look for

Scotts mention a double transfer variety and a variety with an extra frame line on top, neither of which I have seen.

The Essay's and Proofs

280-P2a
Plate Proof produced for the 1915
Panama-Pacific Exhibition