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The 1893 Columbian Issues

by Kenneth Perry
23rd of February 2010


The U. S. Post Office Department placed upon sale on Monday , January 2nd, 1893 at post offices throughout the country, a new series of postage stamps ( not including the 8-cent denomination, issued March 3rd, 1893 ) known as the Columbian Series.  These issues ceased April 12th, 1894.

Issued during the World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago, Ill. in 1893.


portrait by:  Ridolfo Ghirlandaio




The one-cent represents Columbus in sight of land after a painting by William H. Powell.  440,195,550 ISSUED


The two-cent represents the landing of Columbus ( in San Salvador on October 12th 1492 ), after a painting by Vanderlyn ( now in the rotunda in Capitol in Washington D. C. ).  .   1,464,588,750 ISSUED
The two-cent is also printed ( plate error ) called the "broken hat", however many were printed and is only slightly more valuable than the original issue


The three-cent represents the flagship of Columbus, the Santa Maria, in mid ocean, from a Spanish engraving.  11,501,250 ISSUED


The four-cent represents the fleet of Columbus, Santa Maria, Nina, and Pinta, from a Spanish engraving.  19,181,550 ISSUED
The four-cent is also printed in dark blue ( error ) and is extremely valuable.


The five-cent represents Columbus soliciting aide from Isabella, after the painting by Brozik, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  35,248,250 ISSUED


The six-cent represents Columbus welcomed at Barcelona.  ( this scene is on the bronz doors in the Capitol in Washington D. C. )  By Randolph Rogers  4,707,550 ISSUED


The eight-cent represents Columbus being restored to favor after a loss of prestige at court, from a painting by Francisco Jover.  10,656,550 ISSUED


The ten-cent represents Columbus presenting natives, after a painting by Luigi Gregori, currently at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.  16,516,950 ISSUED


The fifteen-cent represents Columbus announcing his discovery, after a painting by R. Balboa currently in Madrid.  1,576,950 ISSUED


The thirty-cent represents Columbus at La Rabida, ( a convent of Franciscan friars where Columbus rested after failing in his first attempt to receive Spanish aide for his expedition ), after a painting by R. Maso.  617,250 ISSUED


The fifty-cent represents the recall of Columbus, where he finally received support from Queen Isabella.  From a painting by A. G Heaton currently hanging in the Capitol in Washington D. C.  243,750 ISSUED


The one-dollar represents Queen Isabella pledging her jewels, after a painting Munoz Degrain, currently in Madrid.  55,050 ISSUED


The two-dollar represents Columbus in chains ( on his return to Spain from his third of four voyages to the New World), after a painting by Emanuel Luetze, currently in Germantown, Pennsylvania.   45,550 ISSUED


The three-dollar represents Columbus describing the third voyage after being released from imprisonment by Ferdinand and Isabella.  After a painting by Francisco Jover.  27,650 ISSUED


The four-dollar represents Queen Isabella and Columbus.  The painting of the Queen is by Bartolome Bermejo; that of Columbus is by Lorenzo Lott.    26,350 ISSUED


The five-dollar represents a profile of the head of Columbus, after a cast provided by the Treasury Department for the souvenir 50-cent silver piece authorized by act of Congress.  27,350 ISSUED


Columbus made his first voyage to prove that the Orient could be reached by sailing west from Europe.  After landing in the Bahamas in 1492 he returned to Spain in triumph, convinced that he had achieved his goal.  During three later voyages he reached mainline South America, but fell into disgrace when his expeditions failed to yield anticipated wealth.  One year following his final voyage he died in neglect, unaware that he had found the New World.


Ken Perry


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