Series of 1902-03 6¢ Garfield
Issue Date: February 20, 1903
Quantity issued: 117,567,474 (estimate)
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Method: Flat plate
A great deal of confusion followed the issue of this stamp. Originally printed in red brown, the stamp was too similar to the ten-cent issue, and the color was changed to the more distinctive claret.
U.S. #305 had the smallest sale of any of the denominations below ten cents and appeared in a number of distinct shades. Unlike many of the Series of 1902-03 stamps, the 6¢ Garfield wasn’t issued in imperforate form.
James Abram Garfield (1831-1881) was the 20th President of the United States and the second to be assassinated. His death, which occurred just 16 years after Lincoln’s assassination, ended an administration of only 200 days. Ironically, Garfield was on his way to deliver a speech and was accompanied by Robert Todd Lincoln, Abraham’s only surviving son.
Garfield was the only sitting member of the House of Representatives to be elected President.
Series of 1902-03
In 1902, the Postmaster General commissioned an entirely new series of general issues. Until this time, the current regular issues had been in use since 1890 with relatively few changes.
The ornate new designs, however, were not the only addition to the 1902 series. The 13-cent denomination was added, and two new faces were introduced – Benjamin Harrison and Admiral David Farragut. For the first time in postal history, an American woman was honored.
A slight change was also made in the format. Each stamp in this series bears the inscription, “Series 1902.” This caused some concern abroad, as many European philatelists wondered whether the U.S. was planning on issuing new stamps each year. Many of the stamps, however, did not even reach post offices until 1903, and the next general issues were not produced until 1908.