The 3-cent Washington of the 1881-1882 Issue was released in summer 1881 after American Bank Note had re-engraved the printing plate. The changes that this created were minor but defining. The oval frameline around Washington’s portrait received a narrower, outer line of shading than was present on previous issues. A horizontal dash was added under the frameline below the "T" of "CENTS," and American Bank Note printed the stamp with a blue green ink on soft porous paper, not the green of the 1879 Issue. The paper was identical to that used for the previous ABNCo Issue.
Because it cost three cents to mail a half-ounce first-class letter at the time, the 3-cent Washington typically paid the first-class domestic mail rate. American Bank Note Company printed approximately 1,482,380,900 stamps of this issue.