United States postage stamps issue 1870 (April 9 to 30)

One-cent — a lined rectangular ground is left uncovered near the edges of the stamp on all sides. Inside this a more distinctly outlined border of scroll work and conventionally foliated ornaments fills the space to the medallion, which contains a profile bust of Franklin. The sides of this border are symmetrically curved inward, the corners being ornamentally rounded; on it, and resting upon and following the upper curve of the medallion, is a narrow panel bearing the words “U.S. postage.” The words “One” and “Cent” in white capitals at the bottom appear in two curves, drooping at the ends and separated by an ornate heavy-faced white figure “1.”

postage stamps of 1870 april 9 to 30

Two-cent — an elliptical medallion, containing a profile bust of Jackson after Powers’ statue, rests upon a shield covering almost the entire stamp and placed upon a faint-linedrectangular ground. On this shield, above the medallion, is an ornamented tablet, curving with the ellipse except at the ends of the line, which tend outward, and bearing the words “U.S. postage.” Faint trace of leafy branches curving upward fill the space at the bottom and sides of the shield not covered by the medallion. Across this, upon a ribbon-like double-curved tablet flowing at the ends, are the words, in white capitals, “Two” and “Cents”, divided by the denomination figure “2.”

Three-cent — nearly the whole face of the stamp is taken up by a shield resting upon a dimly lined ground, on which shield the bust of Washington, after Houdon’s statue, in an elliptical opening is placed, surmounted by a curved ornamented tablet bearing the words “U.S. postage.” Under the portrait, on a flowing ribbon witb forked ends, are the words “Three cents”, separated by a large Arabic white-faced figure “3.”

Denomination Subject Presentation Original artist Color
1-cent Franklin Left profile Houdon Blue
2-cent Jackson Left profile Powers Brown
3-cent Washington Left profile Houdon Green
6-cent Lincoln Left profile Volk Red
1o-cent Jefferson Left profile Powers Chocolate
12-cent Clay Left profile Hurt Purple (neutral)
15-cent Webster Left profile Clevenger Orange
24-cent Scott Left profile Coffee Purple (pure)
30-cent Hamilton Left profile Ceracchi Black
90-cent Perry Left profile Walcott Carmine

Six-cent — on a delicately lined ground appears a dark rectangular mass of color, with heavy side projections nearly one-third of the length, on which is the bust of Lincoln in an elliptical medallion, surmounted by a panel bearing the words “U.S. postage.” Below the medallion, on a waved ribbon with forked ends, are the words “Six cents”, in white capitals, separated by a large white Arabic figure “6.”

Seven-cent — a large rectangular tablet, ornamented at the four corners with heavy balls, rests upon a background, the edges of which alone appear. On this tablet is an elliptical medallion containing the profile bust of Stanton, surmounted by a curved panel bearing the words “U.S. postage”, while below the medallion is a similar panel bearing the words “Seven cents”, in white capitals, separated by a white Arabic figure “7.”

Ten-cent — a large faint-lined shield rests upon a darker rectangular ground. On this shield is a profile bust of Jefferson, in an elliptical medallion, with words ‘”U.S. postage” above and “Ten cents”, separated by the number “10”, below, displayed in the same way as the legends on the 6-cent stamp.

Twelve-cent — on a lined rectangular frame is a raised panel of the same shape, with beveled edges. On this panel rests an elliptical medallion bearing the profile bust of Henry Clay. Above and below, in curved tablets, connected on the sides by triangular joints, are, respectively, the words in white capitals, “U.S. postage” and “Twelve cents”, the two latter words being separated by the number “12” in Arabic figures. The words of denomination are of block letters.

Fifteen-cent — on a lined rectangular frame, with triangular panels set in near each corner, is an elliptical medallion bearing the profile bust of Daniel Webster. Above, in a curved tablet, ending on either side in a circular knob, are the words, in shaded white letters, “U.S. postage.” Below, in a similar tablet, but without knobs, in small white letters, are the words “Fifteen cents”, separated by the number “15” in ornamental Arabic figures.

Twenty-four-cent — the denomination numerals, “24”, in Gothic type, are in each of the upper corners, conforming in their position to the curve of an ornamental tablet, placed immediately above an elliptical medallion bearing a profile bust of Gen. Winfield Scott. Thirteen five-pointed stars are placed on this tablet; 2 at each end are blank white, while each of the 11 remaining bears a small Gothic capital letter, constituting the legend “U.S. postage” in the color of the stamp. The denomination is given at the bottom in small white Gothic capitals “Twenty-four” close up to and following the ellipse line, and “Cents” in a straight line, in the middle, below. In the left lower corner appears a flag, loosely gathered around its staff, the muzzle end and part of the wheels of a piece of field artillery, and a pile of shells. In the right are three muskets stacked.

Thirty-cent — on a rectangular-lined ground is placed a heavy beveled tablet, rounded in a half circle at the bottom, and with the upper corners described by bastionlike projections. From this point down to the half circle — a distance of half an inch — the tablet is straight lined on its sides and narrower than the stamp by about one-sixteenth of an inch. On the tablet is an elliptical medallion bearing the profile bust of Alexander Hamilton. The legend, “U.S. postage”, above the medallion, is curved as on the 6-cent stamp, except that no panel incloses it, and the words “Thirty” and “Cents” appear in the black capitals at the bottom on a double-curved ribbon dropping inward with
forked ends.

us postage stamps of 1870 april 9 to 30

Ninety-cent — the upper half of an elliptical medallion bearing the profile bust of Commodore Perry, is bounded by a rope attached at each end by eye-splices to a swinging panel describing the lower half of the ellipse, and bearing the words “Ninety” and “Cents” in block letters assigned to the left and right of the number “90.” A plain tablet is the basis of the stamp, and is beveled except within Vs of an inch of the corners, where it exhibits sharp edges. In each upper corner is a five-pointed star raised in the center, and in each lower corner the flukes of an anchor and part of the shank project from under the panel.

Five-cent (Taylor) — tablet, legend, and denomination are of a style very similar to the 10-cent stamp. The portrait of Gen. Zachary Taylor is the only full face in the series. The dress is an open double-breasted military coat, within which appear the neck stock and high white collar.

Five-cent (Garfield) — on a rectangular-lined tablet, the greater portion of which is raised in the shape of a shield, is an elliptical medallion bearing the portrait of President Garfield. The medallion is bordered by a line of small white beads, the legend, “U.S. postage”, being at the bottom of the stamp in small black block letters. The words “Five” and “Cents” are above the legend and partly on the lower edge of the tablet, divided by a large six-pointed star, upon which is the white-faced figure “5” upon a dark ground. The star is outlined with white, and the denomination words are each on lines curved downward at the ends.

Two-cent, 1883 — this is described in a circular of the Third Assistant Postmaster General, dated July 18, 1883: “* * * a plain tablet ; above the oval, surrounding the head, are the words ‘United States postage’ and underneath the tablet are the words ‘Two cents.’ ” It may be added that the tablet is shaped like the shield on the 3-cent stamp of this series and that the figure “2” separates the words “Two” and “Cents” which form a straight line resting partly on the point of the tablet and partly on the darkly shaded ground below. This is the first stamp of the series with the legend unabbreviated. The medallion is elliptical, and bears the profile bust of Washington.

Four-cent, 1883 — the tablet is rectangular and beveled, covering the entire stamp, the lower half in solid color. The legend, like that on the 2-cent stamp of even date, is in the unabbreviated form, “United States post
age”, following the upper line of an elliptical medallion bearing the profile bust of Andrew Jackson, and is in small white capitals. In each lower corner is a large white figure “4.” Below these and in an unbroken straight line are the words “Four cents” in small white capitals with a very small star at the right and left and immediately under the figure “4.”

One-cent 1887 — a description by Postmaster General Vilas, given on the 23d of May, 1887, describes this stamp as “a profile bust of Benjamin Franklin upon a disk with shaded background, the lower portion of the oval disk being bordered with pearls, and the upper portion with a curved panel, containing, in small white letters, the words ‘United States postage.’ The whole is engraved in line upon a shield-shaped tablet with a truncated pyramidal base, bearing on it the words ‘One cent’ on either side of the figure 1. * * *”

The changes of colors of other stamps of this series after June 11, 1887, were not accompanied by any change of design.

Ten-cent special-delivery, 1885 and 1888 — a line engraving on steel, oblong in form; dimensions, 13/16 by 17/16 inches; color, dark blue. Design: On the left an arched panel bearing the figure of a mail-messenger boy on a run, and surmounted by the words “United States”; on the right an oblong tablet, ornamented with a wreath of oak and laurel surrounding the words “Secures immediate delivery at a special-delivery office.” Across the top of the tablet is the legend “Special postal delivery”, and at the bottom the words “Ten cents”, separated by a small shield bearing the numeral “10.”

The words “Secures immediate delivery at a special-delivery office” were changed, in 1888, to read “Secures immediate delivery at any post office.” Both forms are valid.

Additions and other changes

Date Denomination Subject Presentation Original artist Color
Mar. 6, 1871 7-cent Stanton Left profile Photograph Vermilion, added. a
June 21, 1875 5-cent Taylor Full face Daguerreotype Dark-blue, added. b
June 21, 1875 7-cent Stanton Same added in 1870. Discontinued (c)
June 21, 1875 12-cent Clay Original issue fo April, 1870. Discontinued (c)
June 21, 1875 24-cent Scott Original issue fo April, 1870. Discontinued (c)
June 21, 1875 2-cent Jackson Original issue fo April, 1870. Discontinued Changed to vermilion. d
Apr. 10, 1882 5-cent Taylor Original issue of June 21, 1875. Discontinued (e)
Apr. 10, 1882 5-cent Garfield Left, four-fifths face Photograph Chocolate Brown. e
Oct. 1, 1883 2-cent Washington Left profile Houdon Metallic red. f
Oct. 1, 1883 4-cent Jackson Left profile Powers Green. g
Oct. 1, 1885 10-cent Special delivery See note Blue, h
June 11, 1887 1-cent Franklin Left profile Light blue, new design
Sept. 10, 1887 2-cent Washington Design of Oct. 1, 1883 Color changed to chrome green
Sept. 23, 1887 3-cent Washington Design of April, 1870 Color changed to vermilion. i
Jan. 3, 1888 30-cent Hamilton Design of April, 1870 Color changed to brown
Feb. 18, 1888 5-cent Garfield Design of April 10, 1882 Color changed to dark blue
Feb. 28, 1888 90-cent Perry Design of April, 1870 Color changed to purple
Sept. 6, 1888 10-cent Special delivery Same as Oct. 1, 1885, except new wording (h)
Nov. 21, 1888 4-cent Jackson Design of Oct. 1, 1883 Color changed to carmine, i

(a) The 7-cent Stanton was issued to meet the demand occasioned by a reduced rate of foreign postage under the postal treaty with the North German Confederation, effected in 1870.

(b) The 5-cent Taylor was issued for the new letter rate of postage under the convention of the General Postal Union adopted at Berne in 1874.

(c) The reduction of postage mentioned in note (6) requiring the 5-cent stamp, rendered the 7-, 12-, and 24-cent stamps unnecessary, and their issue was therefore discontinued.

(d) The vermilion of the discarded 7-cent Stanton stamp being now available, it supplanted the velvet-brown color on the 2-cent Jackson, which had given trouble from its similarity to that of the 10-cent Jefferson.

(e) Upon the death of President Garfield, a new design, quite exceptional, was made for the 5-cent stamp, and his portrait superseded that of Gen. Zachary Taylor, the blue color being displaced by a new one.

(f) This 2-cent Washington was adopted for use upon first-class matter, the rate upon which, under the act of March 3, 1883, was reduced from 3 to 2 cents a half ounce, and seemed to require a distinctive stamp. It superseded the Jackson vermilion 2-cent stamp.

(g) The Jackson profile, superseded, as stated, on the 2-cent stamp, was reengraved and given the green color and the 4-cent denomination, for use upon double-weight letters, under the act of March 3, 1883.

(h) This (special delivery) stamp was an entirely new departure in style, as it was intended for use in executing a novel and, as it has proved, a successful experiment in postal delivery. In the act of Congress of March 3, 1885, page 387 of the Twenty-third Statutes, occur the following provisions:

“Sec. 3. That a special stamp of the face valuation of 10 cents may be provided and issued, whenever deemed advisable or expedient, in such form and bearing such device as may meet the approval of the Postmaster General, which when attached to a letter, in addition to the lawful postage thereon, the delivery of which is to be at a free-delivery office, or at any city, town, or village containing a population of 4,000 or over according to the Federal census, shall be regarded as entitling such letter to immediate delivery within the carrier limit of any free-delivery office which may be designated by the Postmaster General as a special-delivery office, or within 1 mile of the post office at any other office coming within the provisions of this section which may in like manner be designated as a
special-delivery office.

“Sec. 4. That such specially stamped letters shall be delivered from 7 o’clock antemeridian up to 12 o’clock midnight at offices designated by the Postmaster General under section 3 of this act.”

This delivery was extended by the act of August 4, 1886, to all post offices and to all mailable matter, thus giving rise to the change indicated by the Postmaster General on August 10, 1886; “* * * The words ‘Secures immediate delivery at a special-delivery office’ will, however, be changed to read ‘Secures immediate delivery at any post office.’ But as stamps with the former words are now in the hands of postmasters and the public, their use will continue until
the present supply shall be exhausted.”

Stamps of the first design lasted until September 6, 1888, when the stamp of that date was issued with the change, as directed, in the words on its face.

From January 24, 1893, to May 19, 1894, the special-delivery stamp was printed and issued in orange color, in connection with the Columbian stamps, and during that period no blue special-delivery stamps were issued.

(i) A change of color was rendered necessary in this case by the assignment of the green color to the 2-cent stamp, which had thus become the color of three stamps of the same series. More than a year later it was removed from the 4-cent stamp.