Alfred Jones was over seventy years old in 1892, when he began the engraving of the Columbian Exposition Issue. Born in England, he entered the United States while young and apprenticed for Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson until 1841, when he created his own firm. In 1859, after consolidation with another small business, Jones’s firm joined the American Bank Note Company (ABNCo).
As engraver at the ABNCo, he began work on the 1-cent Columbian Issue, using the painting by William Powell as his reference. He would engrave four other stamps in the series. This stamp was primarily used alone to pay the one-cent-per-half-ounce third-class printed matter rate. A total of 440,195,550 stamps were printed by the American Bank Note Company for this 1-cent issue.