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Winchester Discounts

1895 50¢ Jefferson - U.S. #275

1895 50¢ Jefferson - U.S. #275

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U.S. #275 1895 50¢ Jefferson

  • Issued: November 9, 1895
  • Issue Quantity: 1,065,390
  • Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
  • Watermark: Double line USPS
  • Perforation: 12
  • Color: Orange

Background: U.S. #275 can be easily distinguished from U.S. #260 of the 1894 Bureau Issues by its color. The 1895 stamp is a red-orange shade that isn’t found in the earlier stamps.

After the Spanish-American War, U.S. #275 stamps were overprinted for use in Guam and the Philippines. 4,000 U.S. #275 stamps were overprinted for use in Guam alone.

The ship carrying the first supply of the overprinted 50¢ Jefferson stamps to the Philippines was sunk, destroying 50,000 of the stamps. A second shipment was dispatched. It also included a large quantity of the unwatermarked 1894 50¢ stamps.

Why Watermarks Were Added in 1895: The United States printed stamps on watermarked paper from 1895 to 1915. The watermarks, consisting of the letters “USPS” (for United States Postal Service), were faint patterns impressed into the paper during its manufacture. Often only a single letter or a portion of a letter is found on a single stamp.

Since the special watermark paper may already have been ordered at the time of the “Chicago Counterfeits,” the Postal Department may have anticipated the possibility before it actually happened. Other nations had used watermarking earlier.

The “USPS” watermarks are in single line or double line letters. To see a watermark, put the stamp in a watermark tray and add a few drops of watermark fluid. The mark (or part of it) should show clearly, though it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between single and double line watermarks.


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