Ulysses S Grant (biography)
5¢ - Chocolate brown
Scott #223 - 1890


Used: $0.75
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

Watermark: None

Quantity Issued: 152,236,530

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.

1890 US Stamp Detail

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.

1890 US stamp design

Varieties to look for

There are no known varieties.

The Essay's and Proofs

223 Essay E6

Die Essay on India Paper
Die Sunk on Card

#227 E7b US stamp

Die Essay on Glazed Paper

223-E10a US Stamp Essay

Die Essay on India Paper
Die Sunk on Card

223-E10b US Stamp Essay

Die Essay on Ivory Paper

#223-P1 - US Stamp Proof

Plate Proof

Plate Proof on card

#223 TC1 US Stamp Trial Color Proof

Trial Color Proof
Dark Brown

223-P4 Scotts - US Postage Stamps
Plate Proof on India