1962-66 5¢ George Washington
Issue Date: November 23, 1962
City: New York, New York
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 10 Vertically
Color: Dark blue gray
U.S. #1229 features George Washington, with the image reproduced on a bust by French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon. Houdon was a renowned portrait sculptor in Europe, making busts and statues of King Louis XVI, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau – and Americans Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, while they spent time in France.
In 1785, Franklin convinced Houdon to travel to America, where he visited Washington at his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia. Houdon made wet clay models and a plaster life mask, which served for numerous other sculptures. Houdon’s busts served as models for numerous U.S. stamps featuring Washington – including this one.
The “Father of our Country” –
The American people loved George Washington. His army officers would have made him king, if he had let them. Instead, he returned to Mount Vernon for five peaceful years. But, it wasn’t long before he was called again to serve his country, as the head of the Virginia delegation to the Constitutional Convention. After the United States Constitution was approved, Washington became the nation’s first President, winning all the available electoral votes. And when Washington was re-elected in 1792, he again received the highest-possible number of electoral votes.
President Washington successfully solved many of the problems of making the government established by the U.S. Constitution into a truly functional government. Washington believed the Constitution called for the branches of government to be kept separate. He felt the President should not attempt to influence the legislation passed by Congress – unless it was through presidential veto. Washington maintained that the presidency was for the administration of law and for maintaining relations with foreign nations.
After two terms, Washington retired to Mount Vernon. But he again served his country. On July 4, 1798, he was commissioned as “Lieutenant General and Commander in Chief of the armies raised and to be raised,” and asked to raise an army for the nation’s defense.
Washington died at Mount Vernon at the age of 67. In 1976, he was given posthumously the rank of General of the Armies of the United States, making him the highest-ranking officer in U.S. history. No other American is as honored as the “Father of our Country.” His portrait is featured on numerous postage stamps, the $1 bill, and the quarter. The capital and a state are named in his honor. The Washington Monument, a giant obelisk erected in his honor in Washington, D.C., was completed in 1880.