The 1898 Bureau Series
Watermarked Double Lined letters - USPS
Ulysses S Grant (biography)
5¢ - Dark blue, bright blue or blue
Double line USPS wmk. - Scott #281 - 1897
Used: Just a few cents
No postmark with gum (MH): $5-$12
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $20-$45
Issued: March 8th, 1898, earliest recorded date of use, March 19th, 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: 280,000,000, twice the amount of the brown 5¢.
DETAILED FACTS AND FIGURES
The color was changed from the brown of #270 to blue to conform to UPU regulations.
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
Shown above is a typical heavy registry cancel, 5¢ was the
The 5¢ stamp is less interesting as a stamp than on cover. This issue has one of the most fascinating and varied amount of uses. I have not seen a #281 collection yet, although I am sure one exists. Becuase this was the time of the Spanish American War you will see a variety of associated cancels, some even with Spanish devices. You will also see Shanghai covers and covers to some unusual destinations.
The Inspiration for the Design
Contrary to the paucity of photographs of Lincoln, Ulysses S Grant has over 300 photographs of him. Many of them whilst a Civil War General. The design was based off this photograph. Like Lincolns representation on #254 his hair treatment was given some artistic licence.
Varieties to look for
The Essay's and Proofs