This stamp honors President George Washington.
It was originally issued imperforate in 1851. The variety shown here was produced in 1855. The stamps of 1857 are the perforated type.
The design is based on the Houdon statue in the State Capitol in Alexandria, Virginia.
It is one of the most studied stamps in all of US philately. Dr. Carroll Chase published an entire book on this stamp and its varieties in 1929 and revised it in 1942. It’s entitled The 3c Stamp of the United States 1851-1857 Issue.
It is still considered the authority on virtually everything related to the printing of the 3c Washington.
Cataloging the 1851-1857 Washington 3c
Because there were several printings of the Washington stamp using several plates and more than several mixtures of ink, many, many varieties exist. In other catalogs you may see four imperforate varieties and five perforates. One of these was a special printing that was not used for regular postage.
The Minimalist Catalog combines all of these into one, giving it the designation USC 4.
|1851-1857 George Washington 3c Statistics|
|7/1/1851||Joseph I. Pease and Cyrus Durand||Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co.||~20,000,000|
|3/28/1855||Joseph I. Pease and Cyrus Durand||Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co.||~340,000,000|
|9/14/1857||Joseph I. Pease and Cyrus Durand||Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co.||~550,000,000|