1894 $1 Perry
Issued: November 15, 1894
Issue Quantity: 26,284 (estimate)
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
The Type I Perry is distinguished by the difference in the circles enclosing the “1” found at the bottom-right and bottom-left portion of the design. In Type I, the circles are broken where they meet the curved line below “One Dollar.” On the Type II stamp, the circles are complete.
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing
With the issue of the 1894 series, the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) began printing postage stamps for the first time. Until this date, contracts had been awarded to private companies for the production of stamps.
The BEP was established in 1862, following the outbreak of the Civil War. When the firing on Fort Sumter began, the nation was already on the verge of bankruptcy and was in no position to finance a war. This matter, along with other war issues, prompted President Lincoln to call a special session of Congress. During this session, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase suggested issuing non-interest bearing notes that would circulate as money and a system of domestic taxation.
Congress adopted the Chase plan, and as a result the first government-issued paper money came into existence. The notes were printed by the New York Bank Note companies and were then signed by the Treasurer of the United States and the Registrar of the Treasury. This procedure was soon found to be impractical. The designated officers had no time to do much else than sign their names on the notes! Therefore, it was decided that the notes should be imprinted with copies of the required officers’ signatures, as well as the Treasury seal. In addition, it was decided that this printing would be done in the Treasury building. The necessary machines for imprinting were obtained, and on August 29, 1862, the Bureau began its work, which would later lead to the printing of postage stamps.
That same year, the President appointed a commissioner of internal revenue, who was given the authority to assess, levy, and collect taxes. Items such as medicine, perfume, cosmetics, alcohol, and tobacco were taxed, and stamps were provided as proof of collection of the tax. The BEP began by printing only the beer and cigar stamps, but by 1878, nearly all revenue stamps were produced by them.
In 1894, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, the Bureau submitted a bid for the contract to print the new stamps. Their bid was almost $7,000 less than the lowest bid submitted by the three private companies also competing for the contract. Despite loud protests that the Bureau was not capable of producing the stamps, they were awarded the contract.
Since then, with some exceptions, they have printed most of the U.S. postage stamps. Today, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is the world’s largest securities manufacturing firm. Remaining in Washington, D.C., it moved from the attic of the Treasury building and is now located in two specially-built buildings with a total floor space of almost 24 acres. The BEP has over 3,300 employees and is in operation 24 hours a day.
Birth Of Oliver Perry
Oliver Hazard Perry was born on August 23, 1785, in South Kingstown, Rhode Island.
Perry was a direct descendant of William Wallace, a leader during the Scottish Wars of Independence. He was also older brother to Matthew Perry, who later opened Japan to the West.
From a young age, Perry learned to sail ships anticipating a career at sea. At the age of 13, he was appointed a midshipman in the United States Navy. He had his first combat experience during the Quasi-War with France in 1800 aboard his father’s ship, the USS General Greene. During that war and the Tripolitan War, he served on such famous ships as the Adams, Constellation, Nautilus, Essex, and Constitution. Perry then served in the First Barbary War, commanding the USS Nautilus and Revenge.
Perry took a leave of absence to get married, but when war was declared in 1812, he sought to join the action. After briefly commanding a small squadron in Newport, he petitioned for a posting at sea. In February 1813, he received orders to report to the Great Lakes to command and oversee construction of a flotilla. It was a busy year for Perry. Upon arrival, he took command and led the defense of Presque Isle. He obtained reinforcements from Lake Ontario and commanded schooners and gunboats at the Battle of Fort George. He also traveled to Black Rock to recover abandoned American vessels that had been taken by the British.
Perry’s other successes included the destruction of British munitions at Fort Erie, overseeing construction of the Erie fleet of ships, getting those ships over the sandbar, blocking British supplies for a month before the battle, and planning the Thames invasion with General William Henry Harrison. Perry also acquired more men for his fleet from the Constitution, which was then undergoing repairs.
Perry’s leadership was crucial to the success of all nine Lake Erie American victories during the War of 1812. The most famous was the September 10, 1813, battle for which he earned the nickname, “Hero of Lake Erie.” Click here for more on that battle.
Perry went on to serve with distinction, receiving the Congressional Gold Medal and an eventual promotion to commodore. He later commanded the USS Java during the Second Barbary War. In 1819, Perry traveled to Venezuela to discourage piracy and encourage friendly relations. However, after signing the treaty, Perry and much of his crew were stricken with yellow fever. Perry died on August 23, 1819, his 34th birthday.
See more Perry stamps and coins below:
Click here to visit the National Park site for Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial in Ohio.