1847 Washington 10c Black

George Washington, the Father of His Country

1847 Washington 10c
1847 Washington 10c

This 10c stamp honoring President George Washington is one of the first two stamps (the 5c Franklin being the other) issued for national use by an Act of Congress in the United States.

Just as it makes sense that Benjamin Franklin is featured on a stamp issued in 1847, so it is fitting that the first President of the US is depicted on the other issue from that year. The artwork is based on Gilbert Stuart’s unfinished portrait of Washington – though in the painting he’s facing the other direction.

I don’t own a copy of the 10-cent Washington. It appears here thanks to the Wikimedia Commons and is in the public domain.

How Was the 10-Cent Washington Stamp Used?

At the time this stamp (and the 5-cent Franklin) was issued, there were two zones created in the United States – one for letters you would send less than 300 miles and one for those over 300 miles. Weight also mattered. Letters over 1 ounce or going more than 300 miles cost 10 cents. This Washington stamp was usually used to prepay this cost.

Once in a while, someone would cut this stamp in half and use each piece like a 5-cent stamp. Such stamps are called bisects.

When Congress changed postal rates in 1851, it also declared the Washington (and the Franklin) invalid for postage.

Early Life of George Washington

George Washington was born in 1732. As a young man of 17 years, he was appointed official surveyor of Culpeper County in northern Virginia. Over the next yew years, due to fortuitous circumstances including a connection to lieutenant governor of Virginia, Robert Dinwiddie, Washington became involved in the military.

In 1752 he inherited (from his deceased half-brother) the position of adjutant general of Virginia’s militia for the Southern District.

If 1755 Washington was senior American aide to General Braddock. That same year, Governor Dinwiddie commissioned him as “Colonel of the Virginia Regiment and Commander in Chief of all forces now raised in the defense of His Majesty’s Colony.”

Washington’s National Military Career and Presidency

Twenty years later, when Congress created the Continental Army, Washington was the natural choice to be its Commander-in-chief.

Washington was an excellent leader, though he wasn’t all that skillful in actual battle.

Following the revolution, he was elected unanimously in 1789 as the first President of the United States of America.

George Washington died 10 years later at the age of 67.

In 1976, Washington was posthumously appointed General of the Armies of the United States, restoring him as highest-ranking military officer in U.S. history.

As mentioned above, it also seems fitting then that he is portrayed on one of the first two postage stamps issued in the U.S. and on more stamps than all other Presidents combined. In fact, he is depicted on more U.S. postage stamps than anyone else – period.

George Washington 10c Statistics
Date Used
7/2/1847Asher B. DurandRWH&E891,000