Friday, August 20, 2010

USA - Columbian Issue

The Columbian Issue, often simply called the Columbians, is a set of 16 postage stamps issued by the United States to mark the 1893 World Columbian Exposition held in Chicago. The finely-engraved stamps were the first commemorative stamps issued by the United States, depicting various events during the career of Christopher Columbus and are today highly prized by collectors.

History

Fifteen of the stamps went on sale Monday, January 2, 1893. They were available nationwide, and were not restricted to the Exposition in any way. However, the $16.34 face value for the complete set was a substantial sum of money in 1893. In approximate 2006 dollars,the set would cost over three hundred dollars. As a result, only a small number of the most expensive stamps, especially the dollar values, were sold. Unsold stamps were destroyed after the Columbian Issue was removed from sale on April 12, 1894. Over two billion stamps, whose total face value exceeded forty million dollars, were printed by the American Bank Note Company.

Opinion regarding the Columbian Issue at the time was mixed. The set sold well and did not face the sort of criticism that led to the withdrawal of the 1869 Pictorial Issue. However, approval was not universal. An organization called the Society for the Suppression of Spurious Stamps was created in protest over the creation of this set, deeming the Exposition in Chicago insufficiently important to be honored on postage, while some collectors balked at the Post Office Department's willingness to profit from the growing hobby of philately. The Columbians did not immediately increase in value after being removed from sale, in part due to substantial speculation resulting in a glut of stamps on the secondary market. However, as of 2006depending on condition, a full set might be valued at $10,000 or more.

In the post to follow i will be describing each and every 16 stamps of the issue. Till then have a great day ahead

Extracts from Wiki. 
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