U.S. #319p Booklet Pane
1906-08 2¢ Washington
Issue Date: November 12, 1903
Quantity issued: 21,325,000,000 (estimate)
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Method: Flat plate
Watermark: Double line
Issued in January 1903, the 2¢ Washington was severely criticized by the public. Printed in black ink on India paper, the proofs of this stamp were crisp and clear. After seeing these samples, a New York newspaper stated it was “the finest stamp ever produced.” However, when the actual stamp was printed on the softer stamp paper in red ink, the result was not as beautiful as anticipated. Many felt the overall design was poor, the portrait didn’t resemble Washington, and the stamp appeared too crowded.
Less than two months later, the Postmaster General decided to replace it with a newly designed stamp. Known as the “two-cent revised design,” the stamp was released later that year featuring Washington framed by a modified U.S. shield. The new design, which went to the opposite extreme, was applauded by the public. Today, it is considered by collectors to be the least artistic of the series.