The 1-cent stamp features a likeness of George Washington reproduced from a portrait by Gilbert Stuart (1755-1828) generally thought to be the original “right-side of the face” type. This portrait, painted from life in 1795, hangs in the National Gallery of Art and is part of the Andrew Mellon collection. It is known as the "Vaughn portrait" because Samuel Vaughan, a London merchant and close friend of Washington, purchased Stuart's original of the portrait. Stuart often painted replicas based on his own originals.
The 1-cent Washington stamp was issued August 26, 1954, at Chicago, Illinois. It was designed by Charles R. Chickering, who prepared an original drawing from a photograph obtained from the National Gallery. The portrait was engraved by Richard M. Bower of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Charles A. Brooks engraved the frame, and John S. Edmondson engraved the numeral and lettering.
In the first ever first day ceremony for a coil stamp, the same 1-cent stamp was issued on October 8, 1954, at Baltimore, Maryland, in side-wise perforated (vertical) coil rolls.