1901 Pan American 5¢ - #297
'Bridge at Niagara Falls'
5¢ - Ultramarine and black or dark ultramarine and black
Scott #297 - 1901
No postmark with gum (MH): $12-$30
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $45-$115
Issued: Introduced on May 1st, 1901. Earliest documented use is the same date, example shown below. There were no inverts.
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100).
Printer: The Bureau of Printing and Engraving
Watermark: Double lined USPS watermark.
What you should look for
There is little variety and history to the 5¢ issue. As with all stamps of this issue be on the look out for the expo cancel, a sample of which can be seen below.
The Inspiration for the Design
The picture is of the Upper SteelArch Road Bridge, nicknamed the "Honeymoon" Bridge. At the time of the design it was the world's largest single span steel bridge. Unfortunately, it was not to last, the bridge collapsed in 1938, a victim an ice storm crushing its foundations. It was prone to swaying violently, this was caused by wind, a technical aspect little understood at the time of the design. It was replaced by the current Rainbow bridge.
Varieties to look for
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