2¢ Light carmine, bright carmine, deep lake carmine
Printing Method: Flat Plate
Subject: Washington at Valley Forge
Number issued: 101,380,828
Scott #: 645
Issued: May 20th, 1928
20¢ - 35¢
No postmark with gum (MH)
25¢ - 50¢
Full perfect gum, no postmark
no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH)
75¢ - $1.50
#645 was issued with the following plate #'s
The inspiration for the design was the engraving "The Prayer at Valley Forge," engraving by John McCrae (top image), based on the painting by Henry Brueckner, ca. 1889 (bottom image).
A first day issue of #645, dated May 20th, 1928
The covers show both the Cleveland cancels. The post office issued the First Day Cover in four locations, and as a special privilege to the Cleveland Stamp Exhibition it was included. It was the last day of the Exhibition and these first day covers are the more desirable to collect.
In 1926 the United States celebrated 150 years since independence, to commemorate this the Post Office were in the middle of releasing stamps that depicted events during the Revolutionary War.
This was an event that never happened. The prayer myth was originated by Mason Locke Weems in his 1804 book 'The Life of George Washington'. Weems was 100% huckster and the novel was written so that it would glorify and feed into Washington's post war adoration, for financial gain. He succeeded, he gave the public what they wanted to hear. This myth along with most of his tales about Washington were allegories for George Washington's virtues. In this case it was Washingtons religious tolerance (not his observance).
It should be noted that although the prayer event was a myth, George Washington, an Anglican, was a pious Christian and believed America could not be moral without religion.
The man behind the tree in the engraving, but not the painting, is a representation of Issac Potts, a man who was a friend of Weems and who spied the event, according to the prose.
Mason Locke Weems
The originator of the prayer myth
The siderographer's initials A.E.F in the margin.
Siderogrpaher: A process of reproducing steel-engraved designs for printing. The design is engraved on a steel block, then hardened and used to transfer a raised-image version to a steel roller under heavy pressure. The roller is then hardened and used as a die to impress duplicate images on printing plates for transferring to paper by the intaglio method
Large die proof on India, die sunk on card