The 1898 Bureau Series
Watermarked Double Lined letters - USPS
4¢ - Rose brown
Double line USPS wmk. - Scott #280 - 1897
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
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.
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
The Essay's and Proofs