The 1890 Series
President James A Garfield (biography)
6¢ - Brown red
Scott #224 - 1890
No postmark with gum (MH): $15-$40
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $60-$150
Retail value $400-$500 for an NH pair
Approximate value as a pair: $100-$140
Issued: 22nd February 1890, earliest recorded example is the 8th May, 1890.
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
The source photograph of James Garfield is shown below, followed by the Bureau of Engravings Master Die of the President, folllowed by the design used in the stamp.
Varieties to look for
The Essay's and Proofs
#224 - TC1
#224 - TC4
#224 - TC6