Arago: 2-cent Washington

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2-cent Washington

George Washington (1732-1799), Revolutionary War hero and first president of the United States, appears on the Fourth Bureau Issue's 2-cent stamp, the 'workhorse' stamp of this series. It was printed by the billions for use on first-class letters. Featuring Washington on this stamp perpetuated the tradition, begun in 1847, of portraying Washington on a stamp in current use by the Post Office Department. No new engraving was made for the Washington vignette of this stamp. Rather, an existing engraving made for the preceding series of stamps—known as the Washington-Franklins Heads Series—was used. That engraving, done by Marcus Baldwin, was modeled from a bust made by Clark Mills in 1853. The Mills bust, however, was a reproduction of a bust sculpted by Jean Antoine Houdon at Washington’s Mount Vernon, Virginia, home in 1785. Clair Aubrey Huston designed the stamp's frame, which was engraved by Edward M. Hall and Joachim C. Benzing.

The 2-cent Washington was first printed on the flat plate press and was issued on January 15, 1923. The stamp was subsequently printed on the Stickney rotary press. In addition to existing as sheet stamps, the 2-cent Washington also exists as coil and booklet stamps.


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