Developed by the Postmaster General of the Johnson Administration, the Pictorial series was innovative. Users did not like the small and square format, the tiny illustrations and the poor adhesion of the gum. The mixing of themes is excessive and confusing between traditional presidential portraits, official symbols, the history of the Post Office and the heroic paintings of the Capitol.
Politics got involved, pushed by disputes over the choice of the printing subcontractor. The Grant Administration had no reason to support Johnson's initiatives. The Pictorial series had been released in March 1869 just after Grant's inauguration. Its obsolescence in favor of a new series of presidential figures on an enlarged format was decided in September 1869 and the availability of the Pictorials ceased in April 1870.
The four highest denominations of the Pictorials are the first two-color stamps in production, made in two successive printing runs. The tooling is poorly designed, generating inversions of the central vignette within the frame. An unused 15c Inverted graded Very Fine with original gum was sold for $ 920K including premium by Siegel on October 9, 2013.
A block of four 24c with inverted centers and cork cancels from New York City was discovered in Liverpool in the late 1880s. It had probably contributed to mail a parcel. This unique piece has become one of the stars of philately. Graded Very Fine, it is estimated $ 750K for sale by Robert A. Siegel in New York on October 3, lot 89. Here is the link to the section dedicated to the Gross collection in the website of the auction house.
SOLD for $ 740K including premium