Mount Vernon was the plantation of George Washington, the first President of the United States, his wife, Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. The estate is situated on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, near Alexandria, across from Prince George's County, Maryland; the Washington family had owned land in the area since the time of Washington's great-grandfather in 1674. Around 1734 they embarked on an expansion of the estate that continued under George Washington, who began leasing the estate in 1754, but did not become its sole owner until 1761; the mansion was built of wood in a loose Palladian style. George Washington expanded once in the late 1750s and again in the 1770s, it remained Washington's home for the rest of his life. Following his death in 1799, under the ownership of several successive generations of the family, the estate progressively declined as revenues were insufficient to maintain it adequately. In 1858, the house's historical importance was recognized and it was saved from ruin by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.
Escaping the damage suffered by many plantation houses during the American Civil War, Mount Vernon was restored. Mount Vernon was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is still owned and maintained in trust by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, is open every day of the year, including Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Allowing the public to see the estate is not an innovation, but part of a 200-year-old tradition started by George Washington himself. In 1794 he wrote: "I have no objection to any sober or orderly person's gratifying their curiosity in viewing the buildings, Gardens, &ca. about Mount Vernon." When George Washington's ancestors acquired the estate, it was known as Little Hunting Creek Plantation, after the nearby Little Hunting Creek. However, when Washington's older half-brother, Lawrence Washington, inherited it, he changed its name to Mount Vernon in honor of Vice Admiral Edward Vernon, famed for the War of Jenkins' Ear and capture of the Portobelo, Colón.
Vernon had been Lawrence's commanding officer in the British Royal Navy. When George Washington inherited the property, he retained the name; the current property consists of 500 acres. The property was 8,000 acres; the present mansion was built in phases from 1734, by an unknown architect, under the supervision of Augustine Washington. This staggered and unplanned evolution is indicated by the off-center main door; as completed and seen today, the house is in a loose Palladian style. The principal block, dating from about 1734, was a one story house with a garret. In the 1750s, the roof was raised to a third floor garret. There were one-story extension added to the north and south ends of the house, these would be torn down during the next building phase; the present day mansion is 11,028 sq ft. A two-storied wing was added to the south side. Two years a large two-story room was added to the north side. Two single-story secondary wings were built in 1775; these secondary wings, which house the servants hall on the northern side and the kitchen on the southern side, are connected to the corps de logis by symmetrical, quadrant colonnades, built in 1778.
The completion of the colonnades cemented the classical Palladian arrangement of the complex and formed a distinct cour d'honneur, known at Mount Vernon as Mansion Circle, giving the house its imposing perspective. The corps de logis and secondary wings have hipped roofs with dormers. In addition to its second story, the importance of the corps de logis is further emphasized by two large chimneys piercing the roof, by a cupola surmounting the center of the house; this placement of the cupola is more in the earlier Carolean style than Palladian, was incorporated to improve ventilation of the enlarged attic and enhance the overall symmetry of the structure and the two wings. The rooms at Mount Vernon have been restored to their appearance at the time of George and Martha Washington's occupancy; these rooms include Washington's study, two dining rooms, the West Parlour, the Front Parlour, the kitchen and some bedrooms. The interior design follows the classical concept of the exterior, but owing to the mansion's piecemeal evolution, the internal architectural features – the doorcases and plasterwork – are not faithful to one specific period of the 18th-century revival of classical architecture.
Instead they range from severe Palladianism to a finer and neoclassicism in the style of Robert Adam. This varying of the classical style is best exemplified in the doorcases and surrounds of the principal rooms. In the West Parlour and Small Dining rooms there are doorcases complete with ionic columns and full pediments, whereas in the hall and passageways the doors are given broken pediments supported only by an architrave. Many of the rooms are lined with painted panelling and have ceilings ornamented by plasterwork in a Neoclassical style.
Alexandria "Blue Boy" Postmaster's Provisional
The Alexandria "Blue Boy" is a rare stamp. It takes its name from the feature: its color. One of the few surviving stamps from a rare issue—the Postmaster's Provisionals produced in Alexandria, D. C. beginning in 1846, only seven of which are known—the Blue Boy is the sole example printed on blue paper. Postally used, the Blue Boy remains affixed to its original envelope, which last sold in 1981 and still holds the record for the highest priced cover of United States philately. Alexandria was one of eleven municipalities that produced stamps to afford customers a convenient means of prepaying mail at a time before the United States introduced national postage stamps on July 1, 1847. Although the use of provisional stamps was prohibited after the introduction of a national stamp system, it continued sporadically, including in the case of the Blue Boy. During the Alexandria provisionals' period of use, the city was in the process of being retroceded from the District of Columbia to the state of Virginia, a process finalized on March 13, 1847.
The Alexandria provisionals were produced under the auspices of Daniel Bryan. While just who supplied the stamps is undocumented, experts think it that they were fashioned with the equipment of a newspaper down the street from the post office, the Alexandria Gazette, published by Edgar Snowden; the provisionals were printed in pairs from a typeset form that produced two not-quite-identical images, classified by philatelic experts as Type I and Type II. The Blue Boy is one of the four surviving Type I stamps. Both types conform to same general circular design, which presents an outer rim of rosettes surrounding a smaller ring of text: "ALEXANDRIA "* POST OFFICE. *". However, while Type I has forty rosettes, only thirty-nine appear on Type II—which, differs from Type I in its spacing of letters and asterisks; the provisionals' two-at-a-time production indicates that at least one Type II Blue Boy must have once existed. The single surviving Blue Boy today remains attached to the yellowish envelope on which it was mailed, cancelled with a "PAID" handstamp.
Its last recorded sale took place in 1981, when a German collector acquired it through the dealer David Feldman for one million dollars. In the 2013 Scott catalogue listing of the Blue Boy, a dash appears in the value column instead of a number: an indication that "information is lacking or insufficient for establishing a usable catalogue value." Value and statistical singularity are not the only factors that have made the Blue Boy the subject of stamp lore. A romantic story attaches to it, recounted in a Washington Post article; the Blue Boy paid postage for a letter written by James Wallace Hoof on November 24, 1847, sent in secret to his second cousin Janette H. Brown, whom he was courting against the wishes of her family; the stamp only narrowly escaped destruction, for at the bottom of his letter James wrote "Burn as usual." He and Janette had to wait six years before they could marry, at last tying the knot on February 17, 1853. At some time, Janette put the letter into a sewing box, it was not found there until 1907, when her daughter named Janette, came across it.
That year, a collector acquired the envelope for $3,000. The letter remained among the family papers. Given that the Blue Boy was a provisional and local—rather than regular and national—issue, there is room for disagreement over whether it merits placement in the elite category of one-of-a-kind stamps alongside the Treskilling Yellow of Sweden and the British Guiana one cent magenta. List of notable postage stamps US provisional issue stamps A Gallery of U. S. Postmasters' Provisional Stamps, 1845-47 The "Primitives": USA Postmaster Provisionals David Feldman
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is a government agency within the United States Department of the Treasury that designs and produces a variety of security products for the United States government, most notable of, Federal Reserve Notes for the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank. In addition to paper currency, the BEP produces Treasury securities; the BEP does not produce coins. With production facilities in Washington, D. C. and Fort Worth, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is the largest producer of government security documents in the United States. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing has its origins in legislation enacted to help fund the Civil War. In July 1861, Congress authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to issue paper currency in lieu of coins due to the lack of funds needed to support the conflict; the paper notes were government IOUs and were called Demand Notes because they were payable "on demand" in coin at certain Treasury facilities. At this time the government had no facility for the production of paper money so a private firm produced the Demand Notes in sheets of four.
These sheets were sent to the Treasury Department where dozens of clerks signed the notes and scores of workers cut the sheets and trimmed the notes by hand. The Second Legal Tender Act authorized the Treasury Secretary to engrave and print notes at the Treasury Department; the currency processing operations in the Treasury were not formally organized. When Congress created the Office of Comptroller of the Currency and National Currency Bureau in 1863, currency-processing operations were nominally subordinated to that agency and designated the "First Division, National Currency Bureau." For years, the currency operations were known by various semi-official labels, such as the "Printing Bureau," "Small Note Bureau," "Currency Department," and "Small Note Room." It was not until 1874 that the "Bureau of Engraving and Printing" was recognized in congressional legislation with a specific allocation of operating funds for fiscal year 1875. From the beginning of its operations, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing designed and printed a variety of products in addition to currency.
As early as 1864, the offices which would become the BEP made passports for the State Department and money orders for the Post Office Department. Passports are now produced by the Government Publishing Office. Other early items produced by the BEP included various government debt instruments, such as interest-bearing notes, refunding certificates, compound interest Treasury notes, bonds; the production of postage stamps began in 1894, for the next century the BEP was the sole producer of postage stamps in the country. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing took over production of postage stamps for the United States government in July 1894. Paper currency was produced on hand presses around 1918, utilizing plates capable of printing four notes per sheet; the Bureau of Engraving and Printing took over production of postage stamps for the United States government in July 1894. The first of the works printed by the BEP was placed on sale on July 18, 1894, by the end of the first year of stamp production, the BEP had printed and delivered more than 2.1 billion stamps.
The United States Postal Service switched purely to private postage stamp printers in 2005, ending 111 years of production by the Bureau. Starting in 2011 the United States Postal Service in-housed all postage stamp printing services. Plate capacity on power presses increased from four to eight notes per sheet in 1918 in order to meet expanded production requirements related to World War I. With the redesign of currency in 1929, the first major change since paper currency was first issued in 1861, note design was not only standardized but note size was significantly reduced. Due to this reduction in size, the Bureau was able to convert from eight-note printing plates to twelve-note plates; the redesign effort came about for several reasons, chief among them a reduction in paper costs and improved counterfeit deterrence through better public recognition of currency features. A further increase in the number of notes per sheet was realized in 1952 after breakthrough developments in the production of non-offset inks.
Beginning in 1943, the BEP experimented with new inks that dried faster, therefore obviating the need to place tissues between sheets to prevent ink from offsetting to other sheets. The faster drying ink enabled printed sheets of backs to be kept damp until the faces were printed, thereby reducing distortion caused by wetting, re-wetting of the paper. By reducing the distortion that increases proportionally with the size of the sheet of paper, the Bureau was able to convert from 12-note printing plates to plates capable of printing 18 notes in 1952. Five years in 1957, the Bureau began printing currency via the dry intaglio method that utilizes special paper and non-offset inks, enabling a further increase from 18 to 32 notes per sheet. Since 1968, all currency has been printed by means of the dry intaglio process, whereby wetting of the paper prior to printing is unnecessary. In this process, fine-line engravings are transferred to steel plates from which
The Lost Continental is a light-purple 24¢ United States postage stamp depicting General Winfield Scott, printed around 1873 on vertically ribbed paper by the Continental Banknote Company. It is the only known copy of this 24¢ Scott stamp—among the many surviving examples—that can be positively identified as a printing by the Continental firm, not by the National Banknote Company, which had produced this 24¢ issue three years earlier. For more than a century experts could not determine with certainty whether Continental had in fact, printed its own version of this stamp—or, if it had done so, whether any of the copies it printed survived. Conclusive evidence did not begin to emerge until a collector named Eraldo Magazzu discovered the Lost Continental while examining a lot of old stamps he had purchased in 1967. Much debate and analysis followed before the stamp, on the evidence of its paper-type, was certified as authentic by the Philatelic Foundation in 1992. How many other copies of this Scott issue printed on normal paper by Continental still exist is a question that philatelists believe will never be answered.
Despite this uncertainty about the stamp's actual degree of rarity, the Lost Continental sold for $325,000 at a Siegel Gallery auction in December, 2004 A photograph of the stamp appeared on the front cover of the catalogue for that auction. In 1873, the National Banknote Company, producing U. S. postage stamps since 1861, lost out to the Continental Banknote Company in the bidding for the new contract to produce U. S. postage stamps for the next four years. Accordingly, Continental took over the production and distribution of National's existing 1870 definitive stamp series, which included the 24¢ Winfield Scott issue. National turned over the printing plates and dies for all twelve stamps in the issue, sold Continental its stocks of finished stamps not yet sent to the U. S. Post Office. For the values between 1¢ and 15¢, Continental made new printing plates produced from dies it had altered by adding small "secret marks" to them. By contrast, Continental deemed it unnecessary to alter the designs of the 24¢, 30¢ and 90¢ denominations, opting to use the old National plates to print these seldom-used stamps in the small quantities that might be needed.
As a result, the Continental and National issues of these three values cannot be differentiated by any details of the stamp designs. One piece of conclusive evidence is the occasional use of ribbed paper for a stamp, which definitively establishes it as a Continental product, as this paper was never used by National. Early experts soon found paper or ink characteristics that could identify a 30¢ or 90¢ stamp as either a National or a Continental. For the 24¢ issue, however no clear criteria emerged—partly because the purple inks used by both National and Continental were exceptionally susceptible to fading and unpredictable discolorations, resulting in a bewilderingly wide variety of shades; the suspicion grew that specific differences could not be found because they did not exist: that all surviving examples were, after all, Nationals. The denomination was used, and, in fact, the Post Office discontinued it in 1875, distributing no copies to local post offices after June 30 of that year. Scholars believed that the total of remaindered 24¢ stamps destroyed by the Post Office equaled the total, delivered to it by Continental.
"It is quite possible," wrote Lester Brookman, "that this stamp should be dismissed with the remark made by the old farmer when he first saw a giraffe, which was'There ain't no such animal.'" The Scott Catalogue deleted its entry for the Continental 24¢ issue, not to restore it until the ribbed-paper copy received certification. The slim evidence of the 24¢ Continental's existence provided by the ribbed-paper copy was bolstered in 2000, when William E. Mooz published further proof that Continental indeed printed its own version of the issue. In September 1873, the company had 120,700 of the 24¢ Scott stamps in its inventory, these could have only been copies that the firm printed itself, because it had not yet received any stamps from National. Mooz believes that in subsequent deliveries of 24¢ sheets to the Post Office, Continental intermixed its own printings with sheets it had inherited from its predecessor. During the years of National's contract, the Post Office issued some 1,145,000 24¢ stamps.
About ten years after the denomination was discontinued, 364,950 copies were destroyed. It is unknown, of course; as a result, the "Lost Continental" must be classified not as a unique surviving copy of an issue, but a unique surviving variant of an issue—an issue that may still exist in 100,000 or more normal-paper examples—which would make it rare, but not inordinately so. By ironic contrast, only about 2,000 copies were produced of the earliest National Banknote version of the 24¢ Scott stamp—the issue incised with the H grill (Scott #
George Washington was an American political leader, military general and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War of Independence, he presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the new federal government, he has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation. Washington received his initial military training and command with the Virginia Regiment during the French and Indian War, he was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses and was named a delegate to the Continental Congress, where he was appointed Commanding General of the nation's Continental Army. Washington allied with France, in the defeat of the British at Yorktown. Once victory for the United States was in hand in 1783, Washington resigned his commission. Washington played a key role in the adoption and ratification of the Constitution and was elected president by the Electoral College in the first two elections.
He implemented a strong, well-financed national government while remaining impartial in a fierce rivalry between cabinet members Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. During the French Revolution, he proclaimed a policy of neutrality while sanctioning the Jay Treaty, he set enduring precedents for the office of president, including the title "President of the United States", his Farewell Address is regarded as a pre-eminent statement on republicanism. Washington utilized slave labor and trading African American slaves, but he became troubled with the institution of slavery and freed them in his 1799 will, he was a member of the Anglican Church and the Freemasons, he urged tolerance for all religions in his roles as general and president. Upon his death, he was eulogized as "first in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen." He has been memorialized by monuments, geographical locations and currency, many scholars and polls rank him among the top American presidents. Washington's great-grandfather John Washington immigrated in 1656 from Sulgrave, England to the British Colony of Virginia where he accumulated 5,000 acres of land, including Little Hunting Creek on the Potomac River.
George Washington was born February 22, 1732 at Popes Creek in Westmoreland County and was the first of six children of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington. His father was a justice of the peace and a prominent public figure who had three additional children from his first marriage to Jane Butler; the family moved to Little Hunting Creek to Ferry Farm near Fredericksburg, Virginia. When Augustine died in 1743, Washington inherited ten slaves. Washington did not have the formal education that his older brothers received at Appleby Grammar School in England, but he did learn mathematics and surveying, he was talented in draftsmanship and map-making. By early adulthood, he was writing with "considerable force" and "precision."Washington visited Mount Vernon and Belvoir, the plantation that belonged to Lawrence's father-in-law William Fairfax, which fueled ambition for the lifestyle of the planter aristocracy. Fairfax became Washington's patron and surrogate father, Washington spent a month in 1748 with a team surveying Fairfax's Shenandoah Valley property.
He received a surveyor's license the following year from the College of Mary. He resigned from the job in 1750 and had bought 1,500 acres in the Valley, he owned 2,315 acres by 1752. In 1751, Washington made his only trip abroad when he accompanied Lawrence to Barbados, hoping that the climate would cure his brother's tuberculosis. Washington contracted smallpox during that trip, which immunized him but left his face scarred. Lawrence died in 1752, Washington leased Mount Vernon from his widow. Lawrence's service as adjutant general of the Virginia militia inspired Washington to seek a commission, Virginia's Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie appointed him as a major in December 1752 and as commander of one of the four militia districts; the British and French were competing for control of the Ohio Valley at the time, the British building forts along the Ohio River and the French doing between Lake Erie and the Ohio River. In October 1753, Dinwiddie appointed Washington as a special envoy to demand that the French vacate territory which the British had claimed.
Dinwiddie appointed him to make peace with the Iroquois Confederacy and to gather intelligence about the French forces. Washington met with Half-King Tanacharison and other Iroquois chiefs at Logstown to secure their promise of support against the French, his party reached the Ohio River in November, they were intercepted by a French patrol and escorted to Fort Le Boeuf where Washington was received in a friendly manner. He delivered the British demand to vacate to French commander Saint-Pierre, but the French refused to leave. Saint-Pierre gave Washington his official answer in a sealed envelope after a few days' delay, he gave Washington's party food and extra winter clothing for the trip back to Virginia. Washington completed the precarious mission in 77 days in difficult winter conditions and achieved a measure of distinction when his report was published in Virginia and London. In February 1754, Dinwiddie promoted Washington to lieutenant colonel and second-in-command of the 300-strong Virginia R
George Washington (Trumbull)
George Washington is a 1780 portrait of George Washington by American artist John Trumbull, in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The oil on canvas painting measures 36 inches x 28 inches, it depicts Washington standing near the Hudson River with his servant Billy Lee behind him. West Point can be seen in the distance. Trumbull painted the picture from memory some five years after serving on Washington's staff during the American War of Independence; the work is on view in the Metropolitan Museum's Gallery 753. 1780 in art
Federal Duck Stamp
The Federal Duck Stamp, formally known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, is an adhesive stamp issued by the United States federal government that must be purchased prior to hunting for migratory waterfowl such as ducks and geese. It is used to gain entrance to National Wildlife Refuges that charge for admission, it is seen as a collectable and a means to raise funds for wetland conservation, with 98% of the proceeds of each sale going to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. President Herbert Hoover signed the Migratory Bird Conservation Act in 1929 to authorize the acquisition and preservation of wetlands as waterfowl habitat; the law, did not provide a permanent source of money to buy and preserve the wetlands. On March 16, 1934, Congress passed, President Roosevelt signed, the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act, popularly known as the Duck Stamp Act. Duck stamps are now issued by all state governments. Many foreign countries, including Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom have issued duck stamps.
The issuing authorities within the various governments that release duck stamps are conservation and wildlife departments. These programs must be created by some form of legislation for the resulting stamps to be accepted as a valid governmental issue. Labels featuring ducks are issued by various special interest groups, such as Ducks Unlimited and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, their issues are referred to as "society stamps." These items technically are not duck stamps because the fee structure and disposition of funds are not legislated. However, society stamps are collectible and appreciated. Funds raised by these organizations are used for waterfowl and conservation efforts. Valid organizations and societies of this type perform a major service to conservation by their donations and efforts, they merit public support. Duck stamps are issued once a year. In most states, hunters are required to purchase both a federal and state stamp before hunting waterfowl. Waterfowl hunting seasons vary, but most begin in September or October, so stamps are needed prior to opening day of the hunting season.
The federal stamp and more than half of the state stamps are issued by July. Many are issued on the first day of the new year, a few at the last minute in September or early October; the annual federal duck stamp had a face value of $1 in 1934, jumped to $2 in 1949, to $3 in 1959. In 1972 the price increased to $5 up to $7.50 in 1979, $10 in 1987, $12.50 in 1989 and to $15 in 1991. In 2015 the price of federal duck stamp rose to $25. For every $15 stamp sold, the federal government retains $14.70 for wetlands acquisition and conservation, so little gets lost in the system for overhead. Most state conservation stamps have a face value of $5. New Hampshire has the lowest price at $4. Funds generated from state stamps are designated for wetlands restoration and preservation, much like the federal funds, but with a more localized purpose. Most state agencies sell their stamps at face value. However, some charge a premium to collectors buying single stamps, to help cover overhead costs; some states produce limited editions for collectors.
The federal stamp is presently issued in panes of 20 stamps. The stamps were issued in panes of 28, but because of a change in the printing method a 30 stamp format was adopted in 1959. In 2000, the format was again changed to the present sheet of 20. Beginning in 1998, a single self-adhesive stamp was issued; this stamp and surrounding backing is the size of a dollar bill. Most states and foreign governments follow the federal format. Many states issue a 10-stamp pane for ease of mailing to field offices. About 10 states issue two types of stamps, one for collectors and another for hunter use. Collector stamps are in panes of 10 or 30 without tabs. Hunter type stamps are issued in panes of five or 10, many with tabs attached. Hunters use the tabs to list their name, address and other data; some states use only serial numbers to designate their hunter type stamp. State stamps are therefore referred to as either collector stamps or hunter type stamps. Most dealers will distinguish between these types on their price lists.
Separate albums are available from most dealers. Plate blocks or control number blocks are designations given to a block of stamps four, with a plate or control number present on the selvage; such a block is located in one or all four corners of a pane. Federal stamps prior to 1959 plus the 1964 issue are collected in blocks of six and must have the selvage on two sides; the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Program is a non-profit program sponsored by the Federal Government and designed to promote interest in conservation and wetlands preservation among students in grades K-12. The program includes a education curriculum that helps students of all ages, it focuses on wildlife art and philately. All proceeds from sales support conservation education. Governor's Editions have been issued by several state agencies as a means of raising additional income; these stamps are printed in small quantities, most fewer than 1,000. They have a face value of $50, are imprinted with the name of the state governor. Governors hand-sign a limited number of stamps.
These are available at a premium twice the price of normal singles. Hand-signed or autographed stamps are issued in small quantities and are scarce to rare. Governor's Editions are valid for hunting by all issuing states th