1898 Trans-Mississippi Issue
'Mississippi River Bridge'
$2 - Orange brown or dark orange brown
Scott #293 - 1898
No postmark with gum (MH): $750-$1,200
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $3,000-$4,500
Issued: Introduced on June 17th, 1890. Earliest documented use, June 24th 1898
Plate Size: Sheets of 100 subjects (2 panes of 50). Only distributed to large post offices such as NY and Philadelphia.
Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving
Watermark: Double lined USPS watermark.
What you should look for
Covers for #293 are scarce, even at the time, the stamp was primarily created to
The Inspiration for the Design
The inspiration for the design was crossing the Mississippi, which, during the great Western Emigration, was considered the barrier between the Eastern and the Western halves of the United States of America. The Eads Bridge was built in St Louis, MO, by local authorities to counteract the growth of Chicago as the gateway to the West. Fifteen workers died in its building, it was an expensive bridge, not just in terms of lives, it had the highest spans in the south and the bedrock for foundations was way down below the Mississippi mud. The extreme height of the spans was a concession wrought by the Steamboat Companies to ensure that the bridge provided them with enough clearance to pass underneath.
Within a year of the expensive Eads bridge was built the bridge went bust, there was simply not enough of a railroad network to keep it in the black.
Varieties to look for
The Essay's and Proofs