In late summer 1861 Benjamin Franklin was chosen once again as the subject for an American stamp. The 30-cent Franklin was distinguished by its bright orange color from the other seven stamps of the 1861 Issue. Joseph I. Pease, while working for Toppan, Carpenter & Co., had engraved most of the 1851-1861 Issue stamps, and he was now assigned to engrave the two Franklin portraits for the 1- and 30-cent stamps for National Bank Note Company. He would also work for the American Bank Note Company and would engrave all the Franklin portraits for its stamps. In fact, Pease engraved more portraits of Franklin for postage stamps than any other engraver during the Classic Period.
A single 30-cent Franklin could have paid the double-weight rate to France or Nova Scotia, but it typically paid, in combination with other denominations, the larger weight and foreign destination rates. A total of over 3,300,000 stamps of the thirty-cent issue were printed by National Bank Note Company.