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The Columbians

This series of seventeen stamps is probably the epitomy of stamp collecting. It is a set of stamps like no other and when they were issued they changed the world of stamp collecting.

Today, these stamps are well sought after and the higher denominations command a very high price.

Often times a stamp collection can be judged by how many of the Columbian stamps it contains. Me? So far I have twelve of the seventeen. Most of which are used and in good condition. This probably puts me at about average in terms of collecting.

The next stamp I need to acquire in the series is the $1 denomination (Scott 241). This stamp used can cost upward of 500 dollars and unused in mint condition it can sell for over 2,000! Going to be a while before I get that stamp! Unless I get lucky!!

So let's learn a bit more about the Columbians

Like I said, it is a series of 17 stamps each in a different denomination and they were issued by the USPS in 1893.

(This next picture shows the stamps in the series that I own)

Twelve of the columbians

The denominations of the Columbians are:

1 cent, 2,3,4,5,6,8,10,15, 30 and 50 cents. Then 1, 2,3, 4 and 5 dollars.

If you count those up there are only 16 stamps in the series? So, why did I say there are 17 stamps in the series?

One of the stamps (The 2 cent Scott 231) has two versions. One of them is the official stamp #231. It is in the first picture here:


The 2 cent columbian

But a certain number of these stamps were misprinted. Something went wrong during the printing process and a large number of these stamps went into circulation with an error called "The Broken Hat" error.

Look to the central figure on this next stamp; not Columbus but the figure next to him. See how the brim of his hat is broken? That is the broken hat stamp. It doesn't have it's own Scott number. It is a variation of Scott 231 referred to as Scott 231C. But it is a popular stamp with its very own name so it is considered an important part of the Columbian series and a must have for a collection.

It is typically worth a few dollars more than the 231 with unbroken hat.

2 cent columbian with broken hat


Closeup of the broken hat


Here are the names of the stamps in the series. You can click on the link to see a bigger picture (of the ones that I have!):