Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), president of the United States during the Civil War, was chosen for the design of the 3-cent stamp. Clair Aubrey Huston designed the stamp using an existing engraving for the vignette. George F.C. Smillie, an engraver at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, had made the earlier engraving in 1898. Smillie based his work on a photograph of Lincoln taken in 1864 by Matthew Brady, arguably the most important photographer of the Civil War era.
Edward M. Hall and Joachim C. Benzing engraved the frame for the stamp. The stamp, initially printed on the flat plate press, was issued on Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1923, in both Washington, D.C., and in Hodgenville, Kentucky, near Lincoln’s birthplace. The stamp was subsequently printed by the Stickney rotary press both in sheet and coil formats. A 1934 reprint commemorated the 125th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.