The third stamp in the 1938 Presidential Series to feature an image other than that of a president, the 4.5-cent green-gray value depicted the White House. The other two issues not depicting presidents were the Ben Franklin and the Martha Washington.
Inspired by the Leinster House, an Anglo-Irish villa located in Dublin, Irish-born architect James Hoban designed the White House. He won the privilege of designed the presidential mansion in a contest held in 1792 organized by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. When the structure burned during the War of 1812, Hoban returned to oversee reconstruction. He later added the South and North Porticos.
While it may seem strange that such an unusual denomination—4.5-cent—be included in the Presidential Series, businesses demanded such a rate to pay triple the 1.5-cent third-class per two-ounce merchandise rate (in effect July 1939 through March 1944) and triple the 1.5-cent fourth class book rate at 1.5-cent per pound (in effect November 1938 through June 1942).
The 4.5-cent White House stamp was issued in two varieties—in sheet form (issued July 11, 1938) and in the horizontal (sidewise) coil format (issued January 20, 1939).