The need to use a bisected stamp is best ilustrated in the photo. It shows how few stamps denominations were available in 1903. The 1 cent stamps were sold out for approximately theree weeks in Februar-March, and it was the depletion of the stamp that
resulted in the need to use bisected 4 cents stamps.
The table below shows the dates the post offices allowed the use of the bisected 4 cents stamp, and also when each post office was sold out of the 1 cents stamp.
Office Bisect 4 cent stamp use 1 cent stamp depleted
20 January to 23 May 1903 10 February to 1 March
10 February to 4 June 1903 11 February to 5 March
Frederiksted 10 February
to 4 June 1903 17 February to 6 March
The first day of bisect usage was January 20, 1903 when the St. Thomas postmaster published a notice in the local newspaper, St Thomas
Tidende, annoincing that the bisects could be used on the two islands of St.Thomas and St. Jan. Asimilar notice authorizing their use on St.Croix was not publishedd for another three weeks, a mystery that defies logic - since covers were mailed from St.Thomas
to St.Croix in the leter box the 20 January, arriving there the next morning.
The english-lanuage publication in St.Thomas Tidende on January 20, 1903 read:
For the time being the Post Office will admit the use of 4 cents postage
stamps cut in half diagnonally for the prepayment of postage, say in those cases, where the amount of the postage is covered by the payment of two cents or less.
The correspondence thus prepaid should be handlet in over the counter and not
dropped into a letter box. The use of postage stamps thus cut will be disallowed as soon as 2 cents stamp have arrived, about which publication will be issued.
Government, St.Thomas th 20 the January, 1903
stamp usage on St.Croix
A similar was published on St. Corix , but because some overprinted 2 cents were still avaiable there, the use of the bisected stamps did not begin until February 10. The first day of use on St.Croix has
always been reported as February10, but it is likely that this is an error. The post office announcement is dated February 10, but is was printed in the newspaper, the St. Croix Avis on February 11 and the "DWI Record" maintained by DWI Stydy Group records
dates of February 11 and 13 from Frederiksted and February 12 and 13 from Christiansted. Thus, it appears that the first day usage should be changed to Frebruary 11, 1903.