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1862-1866 Issues

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24-cent Washington single

The stamps of the 1862-1866 Issues do not have a uniform plan of design, color, or denomination. They were released to remedy the confusion associated with the color of the 5- and 24-cent stamps of the 1861 Issues and to accommodate the new two-cent and fifteen-cent postal rates.

The 1861 Issue stamps had been released in mid-to-late 1861 to quickly replace the Toppan, Carpenter & Co. issues, which were soon to be demonetized. The Civil War fully underway, millions of the 1861 stamps were in Confederate hands. The 5- and 24-cent stamps of 1862 were released with different designs and sizes in an effort to make them visually different from their earlier counterparts.

Within these 1862-1866 Issues two new U.S. presidents—Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln—were added to the roster of those portrayed on postage stamps.

Alexander T. Haimann, National Postal Museum

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2-cent Jackson single

In the midst of the Civil War, the U.S. Congress passed the Act of March 3, 1863, to revise postal rates for domestic mail. When the new rates went into effect on July 1, 1863, distance no longer affected rates. While the carrier fee in many large cities was abolished (paving the way for eventual free mail delivery across the United States), the fee for city letter delivery became two cents, and the registry fee increased from five to twenty cents.

The increased drop fee prompted the Post Office Department to issue a two-cent stamp, the first issued by the United States. No precedent existed regarding the design subject. A portrait of Andrew Jackson, one of the most revered U.S. presidents at the time, was chosen for the two-cent stamp. Although a Southerner, Jackson was considered a strong supporter of the ideals of a union of the states. He became the third president to appear on a U.S. postage stamp.

When the drop rate was returned to one cent in 1865, the 2-cent Jackson continued to be printed with 1861 Issue stamps through 1868. Although it had lost its use for single-weight rates, it could be used in combination with other stamps to pay several different, smaller rates or greater-weight domestic rates. National Bank Note Company printed approximately 256,566,000 stamps of the 2-cent Jackson (also known as ‘Black Jack’).

Alexander T. Haimann, National Postal Museum

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5-cent Jefferson single

All 5-cent Jefferson issues produced by National Bank Note Company while under federal contract have the same design but were printed in different ink colors. In fact, the 5-cent Jefferson is the only stamp to go through so many official color changes. The 1861 issue had been released in a buff color, a radical change from the darker hues (red brown, brown, etc.) of the 1851-1861 Issue. In 1862, when NBNCo printed its 5-cent Jefferson stamp in a red brown ink, it reverted to the color type of the Toppan, Carpenter issues. By 1863 the stamp had gone through yet another color change, back to brown.

The 5-cent Jefferson typically paid the single-weight rate to France in combination with a 10-cent or two more 5-cent stamps. It could also have been used in combination with other denominations to fulfill larger weight and foreign destination rates. National Bank Note Company printed approximately 1,000,000 red brown stamps and 6,500,000 brown stamps for the 1862 and 1863 issues of the 5-cent Jefferson.

Alexander T. Haimann, National Postal Museum

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15-cent Lincoln single

In 1866 the Post Office Department issued what is considered the nation's first commemorative stamp, the 15-cent Lincoln. It was the first stamp of that denomination issued by the United States, and Lincoln was the first person pictured on a postage stamp who would have seen the 1847 Issues. John Wilkes Booth had assassinated Lincoln on April 14, 1865.

The 15-cent denomination paid the single-weight rate to France or, in combination with other denominations, greater weight and foreign destination rates. After January 1, 1869, it could have paid the registered mail fee. Approximately 2,139,300 stamps of the 13-cent issue were printed by National Bank Note Company.

Alexander T. Haimann, National Postal Museum

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24-cent Washington single

The 24-cent Washington of the 1862 Issue reused the printing plate of the previous year and incorporated a slightly different palate of color shades. Lilac, grayish lilac, and gray were the most common colors employed; blackish violet was the rarest.

The issue's portrait engraver was William Marshall, the same artist who produced the 10- and 12-cent Washington 1861 Issues. William D. Nichols and Cyrus Durand (who is credited with inventing a machine to produce intricate lathe work on banknotes and later on stamps) engraved the frame. Durand’s younger brother Asher is believed to have engraved the Washington portrait for the Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson 10-cent 1847 Issue. The Durand brothers were the only contemporaries of Washington to engrave his portrait for postage stamps. Cyrus Durand, who engraved the frame for the 24-cent Washington 1862 Issue, was twelve years old when Washington died; Asher, who was only three years old at Washington's death, likely had no memory of the first president. Cyrus was also the only stamp engraver to be a contemporary of Benjamin Franklin.

A single 24-cent Washington was most often used to pay the single-weight rate to England until January 1, 1868, when the rate was reduced to twelve cents. Otherwise, used in combination with other denominations, it fulfilled larger weight and foreign destination rates. The second printing of the 24-cent stamp was considerably larger than the 1861 Washington. Including all shades, a total of over 9,600,000 stamps of the 1862 24-cent issue were printed by National Bank Note Company.

Alexander T. Haimann, National Postal Museum

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