The 50-cent Columbian Exposition issue was the first U.S. stamp of that denomination. During the Bureau Period, the 50-cent denomination became a staple of most large stamp series.
The 30- and 50-cent stamps of the Columbian Exposition Issue present a sequence of events that is slightly skewed. The mule or ass on which Columbus sits in the 50-cent stamp was not provided by the Franciscan monks or their patrons at La Rabida. Before arriving at La Rabida, Columbus had purchased the animal with money that Isabella, Queen of Spain, had dispensed to reimburse him for the expense of his first unsuccessful audience with the Spanish Court.
This 50-cent stamp, in combination with other denominations, paid expensive heavyweight foreign destination rates. American Bank Note Company printed a total 243,750 stamps of this 50-cent issue.