By 1870 all Confederate states were readmitted to Congress.
The D. Grill was used on two stamps starting in early 1868. The 3-cent Washington was the first stamp to be produced with the grill. The 2-cent Jackson stamp was also produced by National Bank Note Company with a D. Grill, but for a much shorter time than the 3-cent Washington. The grill is 15 points in width by 17 to 18 points in height. An estimated 200,000 2-cent Jackson stamps were produced.
The Italian sculptor Giuseppe Ceracchi (1751-1801) came to Philadelphia in 1791, hoping to create a major piece of art for the new country. He succeeded in sculpting busts of many statesmen attending the Constitutional Convention, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin. The buff-colored 1-cent 1869 Issue design was inspired by Ceracchi's modeling of Franklin. This design for the 1-cent denomination is consistent with all earlier U.S. stamp issue designs (1847-1869) featuring Franklin. In 1869 a single 1-cent stamp on a cover would have been used for drop letters in places without carrier delivery. The National Bank Note Company printed a total of 16,605,150 of these 1-cent stamps.
In 1837 a totally new design was created for the official seal of the United States Post Office Department (USPOD). It incorporated the now-familiar icon of the post rider and his mailbags on a speeding horse, an image which may have originated on a printed circular that Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin sent to post offices around the country. The new Department seal inspired the design for the 1869 2-cent stamp. It was the first U.S. stamp to bear an image other than a prominent American. Christian Rost, who had joined the National Bank Note Company in 1868, engraved the post rider vignette. In 1869 a single 2-cent stamp on a cover would have been used for drop letters where no carrier delivery was available and for unsealed circulars. The National Bank Note Company printed a total of 57,387,500 of the 2-cent stamps.
The National Bank Note Company, like all other private engraving and printing firms that created U.S. stamps between 1847 and 1893, also printed bank notes for U.S. banks. One of these was the Northwestern Bank of Warren, Pennsylvania. Northwestern's one-dollar note featured a right-facing, wood-burning train in its center foreground. NBNCo reused the design for the 3-cent locomotive stamp. Christian Rost, who engraved the 2-cent post rider, also engraved the 3-cent locomotive. The use of a single 3-cent stamp on covers most often paid the half-ounce first-class domestic postage rate. Approximately 473,629,810 of these 3-cent stamps were printed by the National Bank Note Company and delivered to the Post Office Department. The 3-cent stamp was by far was the most dominant in terms of number printed, nearing eighty-two percent of the 1869 Issue. At the time of issue, the stamp was one of the most popular available.
The image of George Washington for the 6-cent stamp 1869 Issue was inspired by a Gilbert Stuart painting, very similar to the 10-cent 1847 Issue. Use of the stamp on cover paid the double-weight, first-class domestic postage rate. A total of 4,882,750 stamps were printed by the National Bank Note Company for the 6-cent issue.
In 1868 the Post Office Department solicited bids for the 1869 stamp series. When the National Bank Note Company submitted its bid, its preliminary designs included a 10-cent stamp depicting Abraham Lincoln. Though the National Bank Note Company won the contract, the Lincoln image was rejected for the 10-cent stamp. Rather, it was reserved for the 90-cent issue. The American bald eagle, wings spread and perched atop a shield, became the design for the yellow 10-cent stamp. It was the first stamp to have an animal as its central image. The stamp paid a single-weight rate to many foreign countries, including Mexico, Germany, Brazil, and Cuba. The National Bank Note Company printed 3,299,700 stamps for the ten-cent issue.
The New York & Liverpool United States' Mail Steamship Company was founded in 1848. The Collins Line, as it was known, traveled between New York and Liverpool in a little more than thirteen and half days on the lines first voyage in 1850. Unfortunately, over time the company had many problems with delays due in part to ship disrepair and a rare collision. Its last commissioned ship, the Adriatic, was delivered late, further complicating the companys finances. The 351-foot-long, 4,145-ton S.S. Adriatic made one voyage for the company and was then sold in a bankruptcy sale to the Royal Atlantic Steam Navigation Company. In 1868 the ship was sold to Bates & Co. of Liverpool, which converted it into a sailing ship. A modern marvel at the time of its completion, the ill-fated Adriatic ended its service beaching ignominiously on the west coast of Africa in 1885. The 12-cent stamps ornate frame shares a similar design to the frames of the 2- and 3-cent 1869 stamps, all engraved by George W. Thurber. The stamp typically paid the double-weight rate for letters going to Great Britain. National Bank Note Company issued a total 3,012,950 stamps of this 12-cent issue.
Inspired by John Vanderlyn's painting of the same name, the 15-cent Landing of Columbus was printed in two types: the first simply had a single thin line framing the vignette; the second had a larger grouping of frame lines with a diamond above the vignette in the frame. Printing technology in 1869 was not perfect. The vignette was printed before the frame. Maintaining registry proved difficult, and the vignette was often misaligned with the frame. In his famous book on nineteenth century United States stamps, Lester Brookman, indicates that the extra frame lines in Type II helped to make this misalignment less obvious. With a brown frame and blue center vignette, the 15-cent Landing of Columbus was the first bi-color stamp issued by the United States. Type II was one of the first stamps to have an inverted image. Though it is described as having an inverted vignette, it is the frame that is inverted because it was printed last. The 15-cent stamp typically paid certain rates to countries such as France, Germany, and Italy or the domestic registered fee for mail. National Bank Note Company printed approximately 200,000 Type I and 1,238,940 Type II stamps. Vanderlyn's painted was installed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in the same year that the first U.S. adhesive postage stamps were issued-1847.
Connecticut-born artist John Trumbull (1756-1843) completed a sketch for his painting “Declaration of Independence” while in Paris in 1785. He hoped to paint from life all the portraits that would appear in the work. For six years (1789-1794) he lived and worked in New York City, then the federal government's seat, to paint the portraits for this master work and otherwise to meet his financial obligations. During the rebuilding of the Capitol following the British destruction of Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812, Congress solicited major works of art for the new rotunda. It commissioned several large works from Trumbull, among them “Declaration of Independence.” The final painting was 12 feet tall by 18 feet wide and included portraits of forty-seven men—forty-two of whom had signed the Constitution plus five other patriots. The stamp has a distinct green frame and a violet-colored engraved vignette (1/300th the size of the original work) of Trumbulls painting. This stamp, with its bi-color characteristics, has inverted frames. The stamp typically paid the postage for large-weight letters sent domestically or for expensive, foreign-destination rates. The National Bank Note Company printed 235,350 stamps of this 24-cent issue.
British-born engraver Douglas S. Ronaldson (1805-1902) moved from the American Bank Note Company to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing around the time the Bureau had been assigned the task of creating and printing all United States stamps— that is, around 1894. He worked for the Bureau until his death at age 77. As an engraver for the National Bank Note Company, Ronaldson worked extensively on the 1869 Issue. He engraved six of the eleven Issue stamps. Note the clear similarity between the 10- and 30-cent stamps. Ronaldson was sole engraver for the entire 10-cent issue and responsible for the flags and lettering on the 30-cent issue. This 30-cent stamp was the highest denomination bi-color stamp of the 1869 Issue to have one element inverted in printing. The appearance of the invert is far more striking when the flags are upside down. Similar to the 24-cent stamp, it typically paid the postage for large-weight letters sent domestically or for expensive, foreign-destination rates. The National Bank Note Company printed 244,110 stamps of the 30-cent issue.
Pres. Abraham Lincoln was first depicted on the 15-cent 1866 Issue - the first time a person appeared on a stamp within a year of their death. The 1869 Lincoln Issue was based on a photograph by Matthew Brady; and, as the highest value (90 cents) of the set, was the least used and had the fewest printings. Interestingly, the 90-cent Lincoln was the only bi-color of the Issue with no known inverts. It would be the only bi-color portrait stamp printed by the United States until the 1918 Third Bureau Issue image of Benjamin Franklin. The next president to be portrayed on a bi-color stamp would be Woodrow Wilson in the 1938 Presidential Series. Because of these factors, the 90-cent Lincoln is highly desirable to collectors. Identical to its two preceding lower values, the 90-cent stamp most often paid the postage for large-weight letters sent domestically or expensive foreign destination rates. A total of only 47,460 stamps were printed by the National Bank Note Company.