The 4-cent Washington of the Third Bureau Issue has the same design as the 3-cent Washington stamp. From its first printing in 1908 to the last, the 4-cent Washington underwent thirteen renditions. A variety of papers, coils, watermarks, and perforations distinguish the versions. The rarest 4-cent Washington was the Bluish Paper issue, released in 1910. The 4-cent Bluish Paper is also considered one of the rarest stamps of the entire Bureau Period.
As a single stamp, except during the war rate of 1917-1919, the 4-cent Washington most often paid the double weight first-class domestic rate. Patrons also combined this stamp with other denominations to fulfill large weight and foreign destination rates. By the time the last 4-cent Washington stamps were sold, more than 2 billion had been issued.