This design was the result of complaints about the “overly ornate” design of the original two cent stamp of the 1902 Series. Although this stamp is engraved "Series of 1902", it did not appear in circulation until 1903. It could have just as easily been given the US Number "301A", but was given its own catalog number "319". Technically, it belongs with the Series of 1902 definitives. Over 20 billion of this stamp were printed and it is quite common, but there are over one hundred distinguishable shades of red and carmine and plate varieties, making it an interesting stamp for specialists. The four main shades are shown above, and the two main varieties are detailed in the diagram below. All of these stamps were printed on double-lined watermarked paper.
Side-by-Side Comparison of Type I and Type II of the 2c Washington of 1903
Note that the third column below is for amplification purposes only, the top illustration and the one directly below it are from the same stamp. Further, both areas must often be examined before making the final designation of type.
|Type I · Leaf Touches Left Margin||Type II · Leaf Does Not Touch||Type I · Leaf Touches Left Margin|
|The leaf runs all the way to the left margin. Although the gap in the left frame line is small, there is a gap. This is therefore a Type I stamp.||The leaf is clearly within the left margin in the Type II stamp. There is no break in the leftmost frame.||The leaf runs all the way to the left margin. Not all Type I stamps have such a pronounced gap. This illustration is meant to supplement the image at the far left, detailing the range of variation in the gap at left.|
|Type I · Normal Line Bottom Left||Type II · Thicker Line Bottom Left||Type II · Thicker Line Bottom Left|
|The inner frame line in the bottom left corner does not have a lump in the corner (see illustrations at right), and is therefore a Type I stamp.||The inner frame line in the bottom left corner has a lump in the corner, and is therefore a Type II stamp. Although the "lump" is very light, close examination reveals its presence.||The inner frame line in the bottom left corner has a lump in the corner, and is therefore a Type II stamp. This illustration is meant to supplement the image at left, detailing the range of variation in the lump in the corner.|