President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) appeared on the most popular stamp in the United States when, after twenty-six years at three cents, the first-class postage rate rose to four cents on August 1, 1958. Originally issued on November 16, 1954, this red-violet stamp features Lincoln’s likeness inspired by a portrait by Douglas Volk. First-class postage remained four cents through January 6, 1963, and this stamp was the workhorse during that period. From Nov 1, 1953, to July 30, 1958, four cents also paid the added-ounce rate on surface letters to Europe.
Tagging experiments began during the period, and the 4-cent Lincoln was the first Liberty series stamp to be tagged, and that occurred on November 2, 1963.
The 4-cent Lincoln coil was issued on July 31, 1958, at Mandan, North Dakota, site of Fort Abraham Lincoln. The 4-cent booklet panes were issued at Wheeling, West Virginia, on the same date, as were the 4-cent coil rolls.
Charles R. Chickering of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing designed the stamp, inspired by an original drawing from a photograph of the Volk portrait.