1901 US Postage Stamps US 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 295 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 296 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 297 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 298 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 299 1851 US Postage Stamp Essays

1901 Pan American 4¢ - #296

'Automobile'
THE ELECTRIC CAR
4¢ - Deep red-brown and black or chocolate and black
Scott #296 - 1901

Value
Used: $2-$8
No postmark with gum (MH): $15-$35
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $35-$100

296a prices
4¢ - Deep red brown and black
Scott #296a - 1901
Special Printing - Center inverted
Fewer than 97 exist, almost all have disturbed gum

Value
Used: none known
No postmark with gum (MH): $1750-$30,000
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $72,500-$100,000

Statistics

Issued: Introduced on May 1st, 1901. Earliest documented use is the same date, example shown below. The 4¢ invert, unlike the 1¢ and 2¢, was an intentional invert, the bureau even produced samples of the invert. The specimens command high prices, the word specimen was printed in four different colors.

296a specimen
#296 invert specimen

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

296 sheet
A full pane of 100

Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving

Watermark: Double lined USPS watermark.

Quantity Issued: 5,700,000

What you should look for

Invert Counterfeits

Probably the work of an engraver working for a Canadian Bank Note company these countefeits are exceedingly rare and valuable, selling at Seigels for $2,600

296 counterfeit with frame Scotts - US Postage Stamps

296 counterfeit frame only Scotts - US Postage Stamps

Vignette Shifts

Unlike the with its prolific vignette shifts, decent vignette shifts on the 4¢ are hard to come by, no doubt because there were forty times more of the 2¢ issued.

296 vignette shift
Slight vignette shift to the right

The Inspiration for the Design

296 Krieger Electric Vehicle
Senator George P Wetmore from Rhode Island
riding a Krieger in 1903

This series celebrated modern transportation. The theme for the 4¢ stamp was the automobile. The choice of subject being a Krieger, a car that was one hundred years ahead of its time.

The choice of a Krieger is interesting, you will see it pictured in front of the US Capitol, Washington DC. A scene that one would think was contemporary. At the time it would have been an artist's rendition of the future. It would be a full two years between the design of the stamp and the introduction of the Krieger. The designers had to rely on a photograph of the prototype. They were in luck, the final production version only differed in that the rear canopy was made of leather instead of the solid metal that the prototype had, and the roof rack was dropped. The latter modification was adopted after one of the test drivers was bopped on the head by luggage whilst conducting a braking test.

296 Krieger charging the car
An electric car in a charging bay, as the designers imagined it.

The Krieger, like the Prius of the early 21stC, was a front wheel drive electric-gasoline hybrid car and had power steering. A gasoline engine supplemented the battery pack. Between 1890 and 1910, there were many hybrid electric cars and four wheel drive electric cars. Electric cars were more expensive than gasoline cars and electrics were considered more reliable and safer. There are three surviving Kriegers today, two in the US and one in Ontario, Canada (a US example is shown below).

296 kRIEGER

295

Varieties to look for

This stamp was occasionaly bisected for use as a 2¢. Normally bi-sected stamps command high prices. Not so in the case of #296. The cover below sold for $675.

296 Bi-sect
#296 bisect on cover

296 ultramar
The Ultramar overprint

The Portuguese Ministry for the Colonies was originally supplied with 25 Specimen stamps. They overprinted the specimens with the "Ultramar" overprint, meaning "overseas", the stamps were distributed to the various colonies.

The Essay's and Proofs

296-E2
#296-E2
Reduction of frame drawing
on card

296 proof Scotts - US Postage Stamps

296P2
large die proof on full card

1901 US Postage Stamps US 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 295 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 296 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 297 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 298 1851 Scotts - US Postage Stamps 299 1851 US Postage Stamp Essays