The 1869 Pictorial Issue
stamps were released in late March of 1869.
There were eleven stamps in 10 different denominations ranging from 1c to 90c, including the first
bicolor US stamps and the first US stamps to feature something other that the bust or head of a
Embossed "grills" were added to the stamps after printing, because postal officials were concerned
about revenue loss from the reuse of stamps. The grilling process ensured that the ink from cancels
would penetrate into the fibers of the paper.
The stamps were not popular with the public, perhaps because of their small size. They were replaced
by the large banknote series the following year in 1870. Covers franked with 1869 issues,
especially for values other than the 3c locomotive, are scarce.
Here is a romantic one...
Scott #112, the 1c buff Franklin on the reverse of an embossed valentine mailed in Lebanon, NH
to Miss N Blodgett, also of Lebanon NH. The cancel is February 15. (ouch, better late than never)
Miss Blodgett opened it carefully from the side and did not rip through the stamp. Unfortunately there are no contents.
It is easy to see the grill on this stamp.