The 1890 Series
The Value of the Stamp
Ulysses S Grant (biography)
5¢ - Chocolate brown
Scott #223 - 1890
No postmark with gum (MH): $15-$25
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $45-$90
5¢ - Chocolate brown
Scott #223b - 1890
Retail Value of $16 each
Issued: 2nd June 1890, earliest recorded example is 14th June, 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
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
Consesus on the subject of the design was difficult at the time. Originally it was to have been George Washington (see essays below), as he was already featured on the 2¢ design, it was decided to William Seward, Secretary of State during the Lincoln administration. However, as Ulysses S Grant, president and war hero, had recently deceased, the vote went to him.
Contrary to the paucity of photographs of Lincoln, Ulysses S Grant has over 300 photographs of him. Many of them whilst a Civil War General. The design was based off this photograph. Like Lincolns representation on #254 his hair treatment was given some artistic licence.
Varieties to look for
The Essay's and Proofs