The 12c value in the 1869 pictorial series (Scott #117) shows the steamship Adriatic
, which was launched in 1856.
At the time, a shipping company in New York owned by Edward Collins
was determined to dominate transatlantic
trade in the North Atlantic by consistently making the crossing with mail ships in under 10 days.
To best his British rivals, Collins planned a new steamship that would be bigger, faster and
more luxurious than the rest, the Adriatic.
She was 355 feet long and weighed 3,670 tons, with a maximum speed of 13 knots.
However the Adriatic
only made one voyage for Collins' company,
because his enemies in Congress managed to cancel his government mail contract.
The company folded and its ships were sold at auction.
In the service of her new owners, the Adriatic
made a crossing from Galway to Newfoundland in only
5 days, 19 hours and 45 minutes.
Over thirty thousand people watched the Launch of the Adriatic
as reported in the New York Times on April 8, 1856.