1898 1¢ Trans-Mississippi Exposition
Quantity issued: 70,993,400 (unknown quantity later destroyed)
First Day of Issue: June 17, 1898
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Method: Flat Plate
Watermark: Double-line watermark USPS
Color: Yellow green
The 1¢ Trans-Mississippi Exposition stamp pictures Father Jacques Marquette preaching to a group of Native Americans. The design is based on a William Lamprecht painting owned by Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Marquette (1637-1675) was a French Jesuit missionary and the founder of Michigan’s first European settlement, Sault Ste. Marie. In 1673, Marquette and Louis Jolliet were the first explorers to map the northern portion of the Mississippi River.
The stamp features the same border as the rest of the values. Unlike the 1893 Columbian series, the Trans-Mississippi Exposition commemoratives didn’t include the name or dates of the event. Instead, each stamp features a caption with the name of the photograph or painting upon which its design is based.
Printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing
The Trans-Mississippi commemorative stamps were printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Original plans called for the series to be printed in bi-color. However, the Spanish-American War strained the resources of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which was overburdened by the demand for revenue stamps to fund the war. The Trans-Mississippi commemoratives were printed in a single color, with the 1¢ denomination printed with yellow green ink.
About the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition Series
The 1898 Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition was held to further the progress and development of natural resources west of the Mississippi River. Held in Omaha, Nebraska, the exposition opened on June 1, 1898, and ran for four months. More than 4,000 exhibits showcased social, economic, and industrial resources of the American West. The expo wasn’t a financial success overall, but it did revitalize Omaha, a community that had been devastated by drought and depression.
Over 2.6 million people attended the expo, which featured the Indian Congress, the largest Native American gathering of its kind. Over 500 members representing 28 tribes camped on the fairgrounds and introduced Americans from the East to their way of life. Reenactments of the explosion of the battleship Maine also fueled patriotism and support for the Spanish-American War.
The series is also referred to as the “Omahas” because the show was held in the city of Omaha. The 1¢ denomination paid the postcard rate and also was used on overweight letters. An unknown quantity of unsold stamps was recalled and destroyed.