The 1870-1871 Issue employed neoclassical portraits of famous Americans as its main design element. National Bank Note selected for its 15-cent stamp design what was considered by all the most realistic neoclassical depiction of Daniel Webster—the marble bust by sculptor Shobal Vail Clevenger. In his short life, Clevenger, who died at age thirty, sculpted from life two presidents and several famous senators, including Henry Clay and Edward Everett.
The stamp could have paid the fifteen-cent registered mail fee or the single-weight fee to South Africa or, in combination with other denominations, more expensive rates. This stamp, as with all the stamps of this issue, has two variations—one with a grill, the other without. Approximately 5,580,000 stamps of both variations of the 15-cent Webster were printed by National Bank Note Company.