Between early 1881 and 1882, the American Bank Note Company (ABNCo) made improvements to the plates of four US stamp denominations (1-cent, 3-cent, 6-cent, and 10-cent) in order to enhance the stamps' quality. These plates came from Continental Bank Note Company following its merger with ABNCo in 1879.
Though known as the "Re-Engraved Issues," some of the changes were slight, including light retouching in some areas of the designs. Other designs were completely re-engraved. ABNCo made a major change in three of the stamps produced from these re-engraved plates by changing their color. It printed the 1-cent Franklin in gray blue, the 3-cent Washington in blue green, and the 6-cent Lincoln in rose.
The American Bank Note Company produced over 3.8 billion Re-Engraved Issue stamps. This amounted to one billion more stamps than all the previous eleven stamps printed by ABNCo combined.