The 5-cent stamp of the 1890-1893 Issue was the first U.S. stamp to depict Ulysses S. Grant. Of the eleven men pictured in this issue, Grant and Sherman, both former Union generals during the American Civil War, were first-time subjects.
After his defining role as general-in-chief of the Union army, Grant was twice elected president of the United States (1869-1877). He died in 1885, shortly after completing his memoirs.
It is of special note that the Post Office Department released the 5-cent Grant exactly twenty-five years after Gen. Edmond Kirby Smith’s surrender of the last major Confederate army (the Trans-Mississippi Department) at Galveston, Texas, on June 2, 1865. At the time of Gen. Kirby's death on March 28, 1893, he had seen three opposing Union generals honored on stamps—Winfield Scott, Ulysses S. Grant, and William Sherman. The 8-cent Sherman stamp was released seven days before Smith’s death, the only one of the 1890-1893 Issue to be released that year.
The 5-cent Grant stamp typically paid the Universal Postal Union (UPU) international rate or, in combination with other denominations, higher mail rates. Approximately 152,236,530 stamps were printed by the American Bank Note Company for the 5-cent issue.