The United States Postal Service issued a souvenir sheet in 1994 to mark 100 years of U.S. stamp production by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (Scott 2875).
Each of the four $2 stamps in the sheet reprises the design of the $2 James Madison stamp from the First Bureau issue of 1894 (Scott 262).
A wide decorative selvage above the row of stamps depicts the first home of the BEP: the Auditors Building at 14th Street and Independence Avenue in Washington, D.C. The years “1894” and “1994” flank the building at left and right.
Also shown in the selvage is an ornate brown panel that reads: “The Bureau of Engraving and Printing Centennial of U.S. Postage Stamp Production.”
With a face value of $8, it was the most expensive souvenir sheet that the Postal Service had issued at that time.
Several printing varieties are known.
The first two are a major double transfer and a minor double transfer that affect the rightmost stamp in the sheet. Both are listed in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers.
A third printing variety was erroneously listed for the first time in the 2014 Scott U.S. specialized catalog as a major double transfer of the brown lettering in the decorative panel.
Recent research has revealed that this third variety is actually a double impression of the brown, which was printed via lithography, a surface printing method.
As such, it is properly a printing error and will be listed correctly as Scott 2875b in the 2015 edition of the U.S. specialized catalog to be published in October.
Stamp collectors were the main target of the sheet, and they are mainly responsible for the postal history that exists.
While I’ve seen a fair number of on-cover uses long after the sheet was issued, in-period examples are encountered less frequently.
Illustrated nearby is a small registered cover franked with a BEP souvenir sheet that was mailed Nov. 30, 1995, from Melville, N.Y., to Bangor, Maine slightly more than one year after the sheet was issued.
An exact rate of $8 for the postage and registration fee does not exist for this particular use.
One possible total is $7.97: 32¢ for a 1-ounce mailing and $7.65 registration fee (without postal insurance) for an indemnity value up to $7,000.
In this case, the sender accepted a 3¢ convenience overpay to use the intact sheet.
Linn’s welcomes information and items dealing with U.S. dollar-denominated commemorative and definitive stamps. Write to Dollar-Sign Stamps, Box 29, Sidney, OH 45365.
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Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Marty Frankevicz discusses the controversy in Canada over increasing postage rates, the elimination of home mail delivery and the erecting of cluster boxes.
Watch as Linn’s associate editor Michael Baadke discusses happenings at the recent APS Stampshow from the show floor.
Watch as Linn's/Scott editorial director Donna Houseman discusses the early release of the new U.S. Elvis stamp, the possibility of a Peanuts stamp and Linn's at the upcoming APS Stampshow.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses highlights of Robert A. Siegel Auction Rarities Week sales in late June, and reports that the 49¢ price for a first-class United States stamp will remain in effect until April.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.