Notes from the Past

Columbian 4¢ "Three-Leaf" Variety

Wendover Neefus, Hudson, N. Y., calls my attention to the variety frequently found in the 4¢ of the Columbian issue, of 1893, Scott's No. 233.  This variety has been known for many years, but it will no doubt be new to many of our more recent collectors.  In the normal 4¢ Columbian stamp, the ornament just to the left of the numeral "4" at the right, shows two leaves or segments, whereas the variety usually shows three leaves, more or less as the form of the segments varies.  I have always considered that the variety was caused by the scooping of ink from the recess around the numeral during printing, but as it turns up with such regularity, it might be due to other causes.  It is also quite possible that similar varieties may be found in the same area in other values of the set, -- I have never checked them seriously.  However, it is an interesting variety, easily seen, and if you find one among your stamps you may as well note it.
- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
May 22, 1937
Posted November 24, 1999

Editor's Note:  When fewer stamps were issued, there seemed to be more interest in "fly speck" philately as this search for minor varieties is known.  

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