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Beacon Field Airport® is honoring the 100th Anniversary of US Airmail 1918-2018 with the launch of a new series of short articles on the pilots, planes, routes, stamps, airports, and beacons that made Airmail possible.   For the next 13 weeks prior to the May 15th anniversary date, we will publish several of the eight intended articles. The 1st article below.   Clear skies!

Postal Service Heritage 
Celebrating Washington's Birthday -- February 22nd
First in the 100th Anniversary Airmail Series

Postmark Mount Vernon, VA 8AM, Feb 22, 1932

Historic Beacon Field, February 22, 2018  --   George Washington, surveyor, military general, farmer, whiskey distiller, and America’s First President, was born on February 22, 1732, at his great-grandfather John Washington’s home in Westmoreland County, Virginia, which is south of today’s Colonial Beach. This 660 acre tobacco plantation was located near the confluence of Pope’s Creek and the Potomac River. George lived there until the age of three and he returned to live there as a teenager. He was the eldest of six children and he spent much of his early years at Ferry Farm plantation near Fredericksburg, VA.

 

The U.S. Post Office celebrated Washington’s 200th birthday with the issuance of 12 postage stamps each taken from a famous art work by renowned artists. These stamps are known as the “Washington Bicentennial Issue” (WBI) and are displayed on the legal-size envelope above in their order of postage starting with ½¢ up to the 10¢ stamp. It is interesting to note the changing face of Washington as he aged thru the years of the first portrait (1772 1-1/2¢) to the last portraits in 1795(5¢ and the 10¢). All designs except the 1¢ (a French sculpture) are taken from portraits by American artists.

 

The above envelope has a hand-stamped cache depicting the Washington birthplace at what has come to be known as “Wakefield Corner”. Its postmark is: “MOUNT VERNON FEB 22 8AM 1932”.

 

Washington appears on more U.S. postal stamps than any other person or subject. THE first U.S. stamps produced were the 5¢ Ben Franklin and the 10¢ Washington both in 1847.

 

The WBI alone accounts for 7,172,578,900 (yes, 7.2 billion) stamps issued in 1932 with the 2¢ stamp by far the most at 4,222,198,300 issued. On July 6th, 1932, the USPO raised the letter rate from 2¢ to 3¢; wonder what the USPO did with all those 2¢ stamps?