The 1890 Series
The Value of the Stamp.
Abraham Lincoln (biography)
4¢ -Blackish brown
No Triangles in Corners (see below)
Scott #222 - 1890
No postmark with gum (MH): $10-$30
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $80-$145
MNH pairs retail approx $500-$750
Issued: 2nd June 1890, earliest recorded example is 16th July, 1890, it was one of the later values to be released, the bulk of the issue being released in the beginning of the year
Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100)
Printer: The American Bank Note Company
What you should look for
Large multiples are scarce, despite this being a common stamp at the time.
Without knowing it, the 1890 series was to be the American Bank Note Company's (ABN Co.) last printing of postage stamps. Until the flag overun series of the forties all stamps after this series were to be printed by the Bureau of printing and engraving.
On the left is shown the detail of a stamp from the 1890 series, note the absence of a triangle in the top left hand corner of the design. All the Bureau issues had a triangle cut into the design as shown on the right.
You will also notice the tremendous difference in quality between the two stamps. By 1890 the ABN Co. had perfected the art of printing postage stamps and it shows by the even ink sharp design and clean perforations. Contrast this with the spotty faded ink and uneven perforations on the Bureau's stamp on the right.
The Inspiration for the Design
The design was taken from this photograph of Abraham Lincoln. An excellent collection of the photographs of 'Old Abe' can be found here. This photo was taken before his presidency, whilst a Senator in Springfield Illinois. It was taken on February 9th 1860 at Brady's gallery in Washington DC
Curiously ABC co. did not use their master die for Lincoln, also shown below. Whilst the design was better at capturing the expression on Lincolns face, the hair treatmen was a dramatic departure.
Varieties to look for
The Essay's and Proofs
Detail of essay #222-E2