Edward Steimle modeled his engraving for the 1-cent 1890-1893 Issue after a bust of Benjamin Franklin executed by Jean Antoine Houdon. The twenty-six year old engraver’s rendering would be the last regular issue portrait of Franklin accomplished by a private printing firm. The American Bank Note Company had hired the German-born Steimle, who had emigrated to the US about 1870, after he submitted an engraving of a train engine.
The stamp was officially issued on February 22, 1890, two months shy of the 100th anniversary of Franklin’s death. The stamp would have been used for some third-class mail, drop letters, or in combination with other denominations to fulfill larger postage rates. The American Bank Note Company printed approximately 2,206,093,450 of these 1-cent stamps.