The so-called Small Bank Notes (Scott# 219-229) were printed by The American Bank Note Company and were issued beginning on February 22, 1890, with the last value appearing on March 21, 1893. This was the last issue printed by the American Bank Note Company which printed US stamps for 50 years. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing was awarded exclusive control of stamp production until the 1943 Overrun Nations.
The POD (Post Office Department) returned to issuing smaller sized definitive. The smaller size resulted in lower production costs. The Design featured oval vignettes of eleven American leaders inside a frame with the value shown on a tablet or ribbon below the oval. Except for the manner in which the value is depicted, the frame is identical for all stamps in the set. They are the first set of definitive stamps characterized by common frames.
Here is a scan of my Small Bank Notes....
Disclosure: All information in this thread was obtained from (1) Encyclopedia of US Stamps and Stamp Collecting (I own this book and suggest it highly) and (2) Mystic.com
I will be discussing the 4 different Washington 2 cent varieties......
First one is.....
Notice the color of this one is different from the rest. More purplish than the carmine red of the other three.
Issue Date: February 22, 1890 Quantity issued: 100,000,000 (estimate) Printed by: American Bank Note Company Method: Flat plate Watermark: None Perforation: 12 Color: Lake (Purplish Red)
Originally printed in reddish purple, the color of this stamp generated numerous complaints. In addition to being unattractive, the ink would run when soaked in water. Due to complaints about the color, the decision was made to re-issue the stamp in carmine, resulting in U.S. #220.
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