18¢ George Washington and Monument
Issue Date: November 6, 1985
City: Washington, DC
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 10 vertically
In April 1984, the USPS withdrew from circulation the 5¢ Prominent American sheet and coil stamps of George Washington. This was the first time in 142 years that the Father of our Country was missing from U.S. definitives; however, he soon made an appearance on this 18¢ coil.
This new issue covered the first-class presort letter rate which was established in 1981. To qualify for this rate, a mailer had to present 500 pieces of mail at one time. The mail had to be presorted into groups of ten or more being sent to the same five-digit ZIP Code, or of fifty or more sorted according to the first three digits of the ZIP Code.
The 1985 18¢ Regular Issue stamp pictures George Washington and the monument erected in his honor. The Washington Monument was designed by Robert Mills (1781-1855), the first professionally trained architect born in America. The Charleston, South Carolina, native designed a number of government buildings in Washington, D.C., including the General Post Office and the Washington Monument.
Mills established a truly American form of architecture with highly practical, solidly constructed public buildings inspired by classic Greek revival. The hallmark of Mill’s architectural designs was an effect of great dignity and massiveness.
Mills trained with James Hoban, architect of the White House, for approximately two years. Mills moved to Philadelphia and began his association with B. H. Latrobe, the architect of the U.S. Capitol Building, who had a profound effect on the young man.
Mills returned to Charleston to serve as the state’s engineer and architect. In 1836, President Andrew Jackson appointed Mills to the position of architect of Washington, D.C.’s, public buildings. At age 29, Mills was responsible for the design and construction supervision of the Treasury Building, the Patent Office, and the U.S. Post Office.
Also known as the Tariff Building, the General Post Office is fashioned after the Temple of Jupiter in ancient Rome. Walt Whitman considered the marble masterpiece “the noblest of Washington buildings.” Through the years, the building housed the Smithsonian’s Museum of American Art and its national Portrait Gallery as well as the Patent Office and the Tariff Commission.
Mills’ design for the Washington Monument was selected in a private nationwide competition. Construction began in 1836, was interrupted by politics and the Civil War, and finally completed in 1884. The Washington monument is the tallest piece of free-standing masonry in the world, and was the world’s tallest building until the Eiffel Tower was completed.