Arago: 24-cent Washington

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24-cent Washington

The 24-cent Washington of the 1862 Issue reused the printing plate of the previous year and incorporated a slightly different palate of color shades. Lilac, grayish lilac, and gray were the most common colors employed; blackish violet was the rarest.

The issue's portrait engraver was William Marshall, the same artist who produced the 10- and 12-cent Washington 1861 Issues. William D. Nichols and Cyrus Durand (who is credited with inventing a machine to produce intricate lathe work on banknotes and later on stamps) engraved the frame. Durand’s younger brother Asher is believed to have engraved the Washington portrait for the Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson 10-cent 1847 Issue. The Durand brothers were the only contemporaries of Washington to engrave his portrait for postage stamps. Cyrus Durand, who engraved the frame for the 24-cent Washington 1862 Issue, was twelve years old when Washington died; Asher, who was only three years old at Washington's death, likely had no memory of the first president. Cyrus was also the only stamp engraver to be a contemporary of Benjamin Franklin.

A single 24-cent Washington was most often used to pay the single-weight rate to England until January 1, 1868, when the rate was reduced to twelve cents. Otherwise, used in combination with other denominations, it fulfilled larger weight and foreign destination rates. The second printing of the 24-cent stamp was considerably larger than the 1861 Washington. Including all shades, a total of over 9,600,000 stamps of the 1862 24-cent issue were printed by National Bank Note Company.


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