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The First Bureau Series - 1894 issues

In 1894, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, a division of the Treasury Department, took over the printing of all U.S. postage stamps. With rare exceptions, BEP printed virtually all U.S. stamps for the next 85 years.

The first series of stamps used the same portraits and general designs as the 1890 "small Banknote" series that had been printed by the American Bank Note Company. Small triangles were added to the upper corners to distinguish the designs. Dollar values were added, as these were more useful than the traditional 90 high value that had been issued for the preceding 40 years.

The 1894 series was printed on unwatermarked paper.

Scott 246, 1¢ Franklin, ultramarine, plate number 24

Scott 246 var, pre-print paper fold at bottom, plate number 24 (Image courtesy of eBay / ckstamps)

Scott 247, 1 Franklin, blue, plate number 29

Scott 247 var, 1 blue, additional crazy perfs, plate number 122

Scott 248, 2 Washington, pink, plate number 5

Scott 248 var, 2 pink, misperfed at bottom due to paper foldover, plate number 25

Scott 249, 2 carmine lake, plate number 1

This was the first plate produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in 1894. BEP decided to number all plates sequentially and uniquely, rather than starting over with 1 for each issue or each series, as the private printers had done.

Scott 249, 2 Washington, carmine lake, plate number 3

Scott 250, 2 Washington, carmine, plate number 96

Scott 250 var, 2¢ Washington, carmine, misperfed vertically, plate number 11

Scott 251, 2 Washington, carmine, plate number 133

Scott 251a, 2 Washington, scarlet, plate number 131.

The color difference may be difficult to distinguish in some web browsers. This example was accompanied by a certificate.

Scott 252, 2 Washington, carmine, plate number151

Scott 252 var, 2¢ Washington, carmine, misperfed, plate number 175

Scott 253, 3 Jackson, plate number 47

Scott 253 var, 3¢ Jackson, captured plate number 107

Scott 253Pa, 3 Jackson proof, plate number 47

Scott 254, 4 Lincoln, dark brown, plate number 45

Scott 254Pa, 4 Lincoln proof, plate number 50

Scott 254 var, imperf at top and bottom (imperf horizontally error?) unlisted in Scott, plate number 50 (Image courtesy of Gary Posner Inc.)

Scott 254 var, diagonal bisect used as 2¢, plate number 94 (Image courtesy of eBay / swfl-stamps)

Scott 255, 5 Grant, chocolate, plate number 161

Scott 255 var, imperf error at bottom, plate number 53 (Image courtesy of eBay / momenstamps)

Scott 255Pa, 5¢ Grant proof, imperforate error, plate number 53

Scott 255P5, 5¢ Grant proof on stamp paper, plate number 53 (Image courtesy of Bill Langs)

Scott 256, 6 Garfield, dull brown, plate number 28

Scott 256a, 6¢ Garfield, imperforate horizontally error, plate number 28

Scott 257, 8 Sherman, violet brown, plate number 58

Scott 258, 10 Webster, dark green, plate number 63

Scott 258P2, 10¢ Webster small-die proof on white wove paper, plate number 63

Scott 258P2a, 10¢ Webster proof on yellowing wove paper, plate number 63

Scott 258P5, 10¢ Webster plate proof on stamp paper, plate number 63

Scott 258a, 10¢ Webster imperforate, plate number 63 (Image courtesy of Siegel Auction Galleries, from the Bill Gross collection)

Scott 259, 15 Clay, dark blue, plate number 52

Scott 260, 50 Jefferson, orange, plate number 75

Scott 260 var, 50 orange, misperfed at bottom, plate number 75

Imprint strip of 3, $1 Perry, black, Scott 261, 261A and 261A, mix of Type I and Type II, with plate number 76

Scott 261A, $1 Perry, black Type II, plate number 76

Scott 262, $2 Madison, dark blue, plate number 84

Scott 263, $5 Marshall, dark green, plate number 85

Scott 263P4, $5 Marshall proof on card, plate number 85



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This page last updated May 28, 2023.