Arago: 3-cent Washington

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3-cent Washington

At the Revolutionary War's conclusion, George Washington returned to his civilian life at Mount Vernon. Without question, he reined as the nation's most prominent citizen. In 1784 Virginia's state legislature commissioned a life-size sculpture, which would be placed in the Capitol. Thomas Jefferson, then residing in Paris, assumed the task of identifying a skilled sculptor. He chose Jean-Antoine Houdon. Houdon was already known to Benjamin Franklin, whom Houdon had sculpted in 1778. A year later, in 1785, Houdon visited Mount Vernon to discuss the sculpture with Washington. The sculpture was installed in Capitol rotunda on May 14th, 1796.

Houdon's famous sculpture inspired the 3-cent Washington stamp’s engraved image. The 3-cent Washington has two variations, one with a grill, the other without. This is true of all the stamps of this issue. The stamp could have been used to pay the two-cent local mail rate; it could also have been used in combination with other denominations to fulfill larger rates. The National Bank Note Company printed approximately 252,000,000 3-cent stamps of both variations.


Glossary

Additional Records
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  • 3c Washington single
  • 3c Washington single
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