Kevin Blackston
PO Box 217
Floresville TX 78114-0217
United States of America

1894–99 First Bureau issue

When the Bureau of Engraving and Printing assumed responsibility for producing the nation’s postage stamps beginning in 1894, it used the same basic designs that the American Bank Note Company introduced in 1890. There were two major differences: the BEP added triangles to the upper corners of its stamps, and the 30¢ and 90¢ values were replaced by 50¢ and $1 stamps featuring the same subjects. In addition, $2 and $5 designs were added to the series.

The first Bureau issue, as these stamps are collectively known, can be found on unwatermarked paper and on paper watermarked with a double-line “USPS.” Watermarked paper was first used for United States stamps in 1895 in an attempt to make counterfeiting more difficult.

Blue 1-cent U.S. postage stamp picturing Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Red 2-cent U.S. postage stamp picturing George Washington
George Washington
Purple 3-cent U.S. postage stamp picturing Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Brown 4-cent U.S. postage stamp picturing Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Lilac 8-cent U.S. postage stamp picturing William T. Sherman
William T. Sherman
Orange 10-cent U.S. postage stamp picturing Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster

Finally, several stamps from this series were issued in new colors in 1898 to conform with a Universal Postal Union directive that recommended green for stamps paying domestic post card rates, red for stamps paying domestic letter rates, and blue for stamps paying international letter rates. The color scheme was designed to help postal clerks in participating countries ensure correct postage had been paid on incoming international letters.

Green 1-cent U.S. postage stamp picturing Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Blue 5-cent U.S. postage stamp picturing Ulysses S. Grant
Ulysses S. Grant


Published 2018-06-18