1901 Pan American 10¢ - #299
'Fast Ocean Navigation'
10 ¢ - Yellow brown and black or dark yellow brown and black
Scott #299 - 1901
No postmark with gum (MH): $27-$50
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $90-$190
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.
Common Usage: 8¢ registered fee + 2¢ standard postal rate = 10¢ usage
What you should look for
There is little variety and history to the 10¢ issue, foreign destination fee for first class mail. As with all stamps of this issue be on the look out for the expo cancel, a sample of which can be seen below.
All the stamps from this series (#294 to #299) had the IR overprint or the Specimen overprint. All are scarce and have a value of around $500 each. Examples are shown below.
IR Overprint (overprinted due to shortage of revenue stamps in Chicago)
The Specimen overprints in the three known varieties
The Inspiration for the Design
The St Paul (pictured in the stamp) was, on August 8th, 1896, the fastest vessel to cross the Atlantic, completing the journey in 6 days, 0 hours and thirty minutes. She was an immigration work horse (see record of sailings) and many of our European ancestors travelled on this ship to settle in our country. Two years later, in 1898, the St Paul and her sister ship the St Louis, were commissioned by the US Navy as auxilary Cruisers for use during the Spanish-American War, her name being changed to the ' New York'.
The ship was not only the fastest, it was one of the most Luxurious, built and subsidised by the US Government to compete against the dominance that the Curnard Line had at the time. It was a great source of pride at the turn of the Century that the top two cross-atlantic records were held by the St Paul and her sister ship. It might be noted that the ships were built by Harland and Wolf in Belfast, Northern Island, in the same location as the Titanic.
To give you an idea of the luxury of the St Paul here are some photos from a promotional booklet.
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