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The 1898 Trans-Mississippi Stamp Issue

The 1898 Trans-Mississippi issue is a series of nine postage stamps issued at the Omaha World’s Fair to commemorate westward expansion in the United States. This website is home to two philatelic exhibits studying the history and development of these stamps.

The Essays and Proofs of the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Issue is an eight-frame competitive exhibit premiering at the Rocky Mountain Stamp Show 2018.

This exhibit details the development of each stamps’ dies using essays and proofs to create a timeline of how the stamps were designed and engraved. The exhibit features original research and shows several unlisted essays and proofs.

Changing the Subject is a ten-frame non-competitive exhibit that premiered at Indypex 2016. A modified version of the exhibit was featured in the Court of Honor at the APS StampShow 2017.

This exhibit focuses on the history of the stamp issue - from its original conception as exhibition advertising, to the unselected vignette subjects, to the “big switch”, to the issued stamps and beyond. It focuses primarily on the 2¢ and $2 stamps, which went through the biggest changes during development.

Here you can find supplementary information about the Trans-Mississippi stamps and the exhibits featured above.

Overview of Trans-Mississippi Stamps

A simple overview of the nine stamps from the Trans-Mississippi Issue and how they were used.

How to Make and Use Overlays for Identifying Stamp Essays

A video showing how the digital overlays used for these exhibits are made.

Die Progression Animations

Animations for viewing the essays in succession help show how the engravings were “built” into a full image.

The Bridge Debate

A detailed look at the different bridges suggested as Trans-Mississippi stamp subjects, and the debate over what value it would represent.

What Might Have Been

Mock stamps of showing what some of these suggested subjects might have looked like if issued.

Spot the Difference (Game)

A simple spot-the-difference game to highlight the difference between the art model and the final design of the $2 vignette.

The Heusler Exhibit

A two-frame exhibit on the postmaster of Heusler, Indiana. This exhibit features several rare uses of high-value Trans-Mississippi stamps.

Research and References

A collection of newspaper clippings used while researching the Trans-Mississippi stamps.

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