The stamps of this series were placed on sale at post offices May 1, 1901, and were withdrawn from sale October 31, 1901, the dates fixed for the opening and closing of the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, which they were issued to commemorate.
The stamps are described as follows:
These stamps are of uniform dimensions, 76/100 by 1 and 6/100 of an inch, the longer side is horizontal. The borders take the colors of the regular series on the same denominations at this date. The words “Commemorative series, 1901”, and “United States of America” next below appear above the vignette; the legend in a line next below the central opening, with the denomination in a line at the bottom, appears in the same order on all stamps of the series. All the lettering is in white Roman capitals. The numerals are all white-faced Arabic in the Roman type except the 10-cent, which is the block-letter type of figure condensed to secure space for the two figures. The borders are well separated from the central pictures, and the words of the denomination at the bottom are preceded on the same line by the word “Postage.” All the central illustrations are from photographs and are printed in black.
One-cent. — The lake steamer presents the port bow. It has but one funnel. The pilothouse is well forward. The vessel is propelled by side wheels. The vignette is within an elliptical opening whose greatest diameter is horizontal. On either side are fluted columns whose bases are draped in form of shields, upon which, in pear-shaped incisures, appears the figure of denomination, “1.” On an entablature, which rests upon the columns and extends across the top of the stamp, is the general device “Commemorative series, 1901”, and beneath it “United States of America.” A trigonal panel fills the upper corners between the opening and the capitals of the columns. The legend follows the lower line of the ellipse and the words of denomination follow in a line below. The spaces on either side below the opening and above the words of the denomination are filled with foliate scrollwork.
Two-cent. — The train of four cars is drawn by a four-drive locomotive. Four parallel tracks are shown. The vignette ground is oblong, the ends being rounded and the upper and lower sides projecting at the point of greatest diameter of the end curves and where the two meet in a corner. This upper line is slightly arched, while the lower line is straight and horizontal. The upper line of the border rises in the middle to conform to the opening below, and the device appears following this borderline, outside of it. The words “United States of America” appear in two lines of two words each in the space between the borderline and the opening, or ground for the vignette. Leaning on the curved lines at each end of the opening is a winged female figure bearing a torch, and beneath this figure in each lower corner is the denominational numeral. The legend “Fast express” and the words of the denomination are located as in the 1-cent stamp. This may be said of the rest of the series.
Four-cent. — The automobile is of the closed-coach order, with two men on the box and a part of the United States Capitol at Washington as a background. An oblong opening is provided for the vignette. The corners of this space are broken, with an entering curve on the lower angles and clipped with re-entrant angles at the top; the upper line is also slightly arched. Immediately above this, on a panel, following the curvature of the opening, rounded at the right-hand end and scrolled at the other, appear the words “Of America”, while immediately above this, with an opposite curvature, are the words “United States.” The device is given on the cornice ornament, the upper part of the border is an architectural cornice design. The numeral “4” is just outside the lower corners of the vignette opening, and the room is made for them by the entering curves which clip its lower corners. The legend “Automobile” appears on a panel, but the words of the denomination are on the open ground of the border.
Five-cent. — This depicts the large single-span steel bridge below Niagara Falls. Two trolley cars are seen upon it, and a view of the Falls is shown under, beyond, and up the river, with the graceful springing arch as a frame. The opening for the illustration is much like that of the 4-cent stamp, except that the upper corners are notched in at right angles and the lower corners have two such entering angles, which connect with the lower straight horizontal line of the opening by a curve. The upper line of the opening describes a higher curve than that of the 4-cent stamp, and the words “United States of America”, in one line, follow this curve and are immediately above it. Above these words, in a straight line, is the device, thus leaving a space in the upper corners, which is filled with a trigonal panel. The sharp angular shields bearing the figure of the denomination are placed just outside the opening, midway of the ends, and upon fasces with battle-axes cutting outward. The legend is on a panel, while the words of the denomination are on the general ground.
Eight-cent. — The great ship-canal locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., including the immediate surroundings, are given in a view from a higher point. The opening is an arch, cut at the bottom just below the greatest horizontal diameter, while, though the ornamentation dims a part of the figure, the entire border is of a shield-like design, its superior members being quite distinct. Small shield pendant by a cord from the upper corners bears the numeral “8” on each side. Delicate crinkled ribbon ornaments are seen at the top of the border to fill out the inward curve spaces of the shield. The legend at the bottom and words of the denomination are each upon separate panels.
Ten-cent. — An American Line steamship with two smokestacks and masts presents its starboard bow lapped by a rising wave. The general outline of the opening is that of an arch, connected with the baseline by a reversed curve and right-angled notch. Immediately above the upper line and following the curve is the words “United States of America.” Above this is a borderline, the middle third of which swells upward, and on this is the device “Commemorative series, 1901”, not in the panel, but following the upper line. On either side of the opening is a dolphin, head down, and outside this a trident pointing up and the middle prong passing through the scroll end of a tablet. The legend is on a panel with rounded ends, and both it and the words of the denomination at the bottom are in straight lines.
These stamps were first placed on sale May 1, 1901, at Buffalo, N.Y.
Published by John Jr. Paperly
Source: Postage Stamps of the United States 1847-1959