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Series of 1902-03 1¢ Franklin
Issue Date: February 3, 1903
Quantity issued: 11,067,482,974
Printed by: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Method: Flat plate
Watermark: Double line
Color: Blue green
Impressed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s workmanship on the 1901 Pan-American series, the Post Office Department decided to inaugurate a new general issue to replace the then-current Regular Issues, which had been in use with only minor changes for more than ten years.
Criticized by art critics as well as stamp experts, the 1¢ Franklin stamp received numerous unfavorable comments. Many felt the portrait looked like a caricature, while the overall design was unbecoming.
The portrait of Franklin is based on a painting by J. B. Longacre, which hung in Pennsylvania’s State Capitol. On the side of the portrait is a nude child, seated with flowing drapery around its loins. The child’s head and arm support an Ionic capital with the U.S. Shield. The child’s other arm is outstretched and holds an electric light bulb.