The Trans-Mississippi Series of 1898
One Cent - Marquette on the Mississippi
The design is based on "Marquette", a painting, by Lamprecht. In 1666 Pere Jaques Marquette, a Jesuit missionary, came to New France to minster to the tribes living along the shores or Lake Superior. While living there he became intrigued by stories of the great waterway the flowed south to the Gulf of Mexico.
Marquette related these stories to Governor Frontenac who then gave him permission to investigate the waterway. In 1673 he, Louis Joliet and five others set off in a pair of canoes to explore the tributaries of the upper Mississippi River. Marquette's ability to speak the local native dialects proved valuable and aided the expedition on it's 2500 mile, four month journey. This exploration and mapping of the river system opened the upper midwest for French colonization and trade.
The Trans-Mississippi commemoratives were issued to promote the "Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition" held in Omaha, Nebraska from July 1, through November 1, 1898. This set of nine commemorative stamps were issued a couple of weeks before the event began. Due to the exposition's location, these are sometimes referred to as the "Omaha Issue" or simply the "Omaha's".
Coming on the heels of the Columbian Commemoratives with the large number of high value stamps, in what was considered a very brief interval between issues, there was some reluctance among collectors regarding the purchase of the high-value stamps for their collections. This fact is well documented in the high values that the stamps currently command.
The issue of these stamps began June 10 at Omaha, Nebraska and ceased on December 31, 1898.
The original design called for the stamps to have been printed in two colors, but because of the need to print revenue stamps to finance the Spanish-American War, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing decided to print in single colors.
The design of this issue is based on a painting by Lamprecht. This is the only issue of the series to keep the original proposed design, however the title and color scheme did change slightly. As announced on January 13, 1898 the 1¢ issue was slated as a bi-color issue displaying the "Marquette discovering the Mississippi". Per an announcement made on January 15, 1898 this issue's design was changed to show "Marquette on the Mississippi". As announced on May 16th the design was set as "Mississippi River Bridge" to be in the single color of dark green.
The engraved surface of these stamps measure 7/8 by 11/32 inches, with the longest side horizontal. The denominations are in Arabic numerals, repeated upon shields in the upper corners. Both numerals and letters are in white, and the dollar mark is included with the numerals upon the elliptical tablet of the shield.
The illustration is within an enclosure resembling that of a letter "C" slightly condensed and recumbent, with the opening up and the opening capped by a curved panel which carry the words "United States of America." On the lower border of this enclosure are the words, in very small letters, describing the picture above, and at the bottom of the stamp, in a straight line, are the denominations which are spelled out. All the lettering is in capitals. All lettering is in Roman letters except for the descriptions of the illustrations, which are in Gothic . Maize and wheat designs fill the lower corners and upper interstices.
# 3209 In 1998, the Bureau reissued these stamps in their original bi-colored designs.
- Other Stamps in this Series -
# 285-293 Trans-Mississippi Exposition Series of 1898
- Other Stamps of 1898 -
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