262P4 $2 James Madison 1894 issue plate proof on card
Bureau of Engraving and Printing, 1894
As had been the custom in the past, the USPOD placed advertisements for the contract to print stamps for the government on October 16, 1893. Three bids were received, from the same firms or individuals who had previously bid. After making known the bid amounts, the USPOD was approached by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, which prepared all other securities for the U.S. government – including the revenue stamps – and offered a bid which was substantially lower than any other. Given the consideration that this was a governmental agency, that it was located in Washington, D.C. and that the bid presented substantial savings, the contract was awarded to the BEP.
Prior to the BEP taking control of the production of stamps, all card proofs had been created by the American Bank Note Company, from dies in their possession. As a security measure and an expedient, the dies from the ABNC were turned over to the BEP where they were modified by placing the triangles in the top corners of the design.
The only card proofs of this issue were done by the BEP in 1895, so the need to measure card thickness is not at issue with these. The new stamps were not printed in their entirety, but only five of the values were produced. As this is the last instance of card proofs being prepared for issue and sale to the general public, no other subsequent stamps were produced routinely on card stock.