1893 1¢ Columbian Commemorative
Issue Date: January 1, 1893
Issue Quantity: 440,195,550
Printed by: American Bank Note Company
Method: Flat plate
This is the first in a series of stamps commemorating the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the New World. The illustration shows Columbus sighting land. However, history tells us that a sailor on the Pinta was actually the first person to sight land on Columbus’ maiden voyage.
Printed by the American Bank Note Company
The 1893 Columbian Series was printed by the American Bank Note Company. The engraving was done by Alfred Jones and Charles Skinner. The stamps were printed in blue ink in sheets of 100 subjects on soft porous white wove paper and perforated 12.
About the Columbian Series
The Columbian Series is a milestone in American history. Its impact on stamp collecting was so great that the series’ degree of completion is often the “yardstick by which a U.S. collection is measured” (Max Johl, 1947).
The series was issued in advance of Chicago’s 1893 World Columbian Exposition, an international fair celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ 1492 arrival in the New World. The series was used to advertise the event – the first time postage stamps were used to promote a commercial event.
The 1893 Columbian Exposition stamp series was like nothing before it. The Columbians were the first U.S. commemorative stamps, and they created a worldwide phenomenon. Expertly engraved and generous in size, the Columbians are among the most sought-after of all U.S. stamps.