Hiram Powers (1805-1873) began learning the art of sculpture in 1826. By the time of his death in 1873, he was considered one of the greatest American-born neoclassical sculptors. In 1834, President Andrew Jackson sat many times for Power as he created a bust of the president. Powers completed the bust in January 1835. Thirty-five years later, it inspired the image of the 2-cent Jackson stamp from the National Bank Note Company 1870-1871 Issue.
Hiram Powers left the United States in 1837, the same year Jackson left the White House. Powers settled in Florence, Italy, where he spent the rest of his life. The stamp was issued a few years before Powers’ death, and it is assumed that he had the honor of owning one of the stamps which bore his famous impression of Jackson.
The 2-cent Jackson stamp has two variations, one with a grill, the other without. The stamp could have been used for to pay the two-cent local mail rate, or in combination with other denominations to fulfill larger rates. A total of approximately 252,000,000 2-cent stamps of both variations were printing by National Bank Note Company.