Pan-American Exposition Issues 1901, US stamps





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Published on May 20, 2011

The first commemoratives of the twentieth century were also the first bi-colored postage stamps printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Six stamps in denominations of 1-cent, 2-cent, 4-cent, 8-cent and 10-cent were issued to publicize the 1901 Pan-American Exposition held in Buffalo, New York.

The stamps depict modes of modern transportation. All the stamps bear the inscription "Commemorative Series 1901."

Three of the Pan-American Exposition stamps exist as inverts: the 1-cent, 2-cent, and 4-cent. The 1-cent and 2-cent were produced by accident and discovered by the public. The 4-cent invert was created intentionally after it was erroneously reported that the public had discovered inverts of this denomination. These three classic inverts were reproduced one hundred years later on a 2001 souvenir sheet.

While the 1-cent stamp of the Pan American Issue salutes America's technological advances in lake navigation, the Issue's 10-cent stamp heralds America's technological advances in ocean navigation. It bears an image of the steamship 'St. Paul', owned at the time by the International Navigation Company. Completed in 1895, the ship saw action with the U.S. Navy during the Spanish American War.

The yellow brown and black stamp was the first ten-cent denomination printed in more than one color. Another multicolored ten-cent stamp - the Pan American Gamers Issue - did not appear until 1959.

The 10-cent stamp of the Pan American Issue most often paid the domestic registered mail fee and the domestic first class rate or double the UPU rate. Patrons also used it with other denominations to fulfill large weight and destination rates. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing produced 5,043,700 of these stamps.

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