1994 $2 Bureau of Engraving and Printing Centenary
US #2875 – The souvenir sheet as issued.

On November 3, 1994, the USPS issued a souvenir sheet honoring the 100th anniversary of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing producing US postage stamps.  A relatively small number of sheets were discovered with a rare double transfer.

The original souvenir sheet, US #2875, was issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing producing US stamps.  To make this celebration of history unique, four $2.00 James Madison stamps, first issued in 1894, were featured on the sheet.

1994 $2 Bureau of Engraving and Printing Centenary Classic First Day Cover
US #2875 – Classic First Day Cover

The selvage of the souvenir sheet pictures an engraving of the BEP’s original home, a red brick building at the corner of 14th Street and Independence Avenue in Washington, DC.  Before the BEP assumed responsibility for printing America’s stamps, private companies had been contracted to fulfill the task.

This stamp was first issued on November 3, 1994, at the MEGA Stamp Show in New York City, which is the largest stamp collecting event in the United States.

1994 $2 Bureau of Engraving and Printing Centenary Mint souvenir sheet with double transfer
US #2875 – Mint souvenir sheet with double transfer

Of the 5 million souvenir sheets produced, 104,000 (a relatively small number) were found to have a double transfer.  A double transfer was created when the original, 100-year-old #262 die image was transferred to new printing sleeves.  Two images were not properly laid out.  They were burnished out – but not thoroughly enough – creating a “double” image.  Although the minor double transfer is very “out of register,” it’s not always noticeable at a glance.  A light horizontal line appears at the bottom and small traces of the lettering, numerals and the lower-left inner frame are doubled.

1894 $2 Madison, unwatermarked
US #262 – The stamp whose die was used to create the 1994 stamp.

This tribute to the BEP and the classic #262 stamp, with their unique double transfers, offer a special connection to the classic-stamp era – when double transfers occurred much more frequently.

This rare modern double transfer souvenir sheet is very scarce – scarcer than the Bugs Bunny pane with 10th stamp imperforate, as well as the Legends of the West error sheet.  But it’s much more affordable!

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  1. The MEGA event no longer exists – it was stopped a decade ago. Today the largest US Show is GASS the Great American Stamp Show sponsored by the APS every August.

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