Arago: 20-cent George Washington

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20-cent George Washington

The central motif, a portrait of George Washington, was designed and line engraved on steel by Frederick Halpin. It was then transferred to a steel printing plate. There were approximately 2,350,000 stamps printed from one plate of two hundred in two panes of one hundred, separated by a vertical gutter. Full panes of one hundred are known. The earliest recorded date of use is June 1, 1863. Colors vary from green to deep green, milky green, bluish green, and yellow green. The inscription "Archer & Daly, Richmond, Va" is found only on the sheets of the first printing; the second printing sheets have no inscription. Double transfers are known, as well as the '20 on the forehead' variety. The most typical use was to pay the 20-cent overweight double letter rate, with pairs known paying the 40-cent Trans-Mississippi rate and bisects paying the 10-cent letter rate. The 20-cent stamp was printed primarily to be used as small change, the lowest denomination of CSA currency being a 50-cent fractional note. The Confederacy had no coins.


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