In addition to illegal usages of revenue stamps as postage stamps and vice versa, another related area to collect is the illegal/improper usage of non-documentary revenue stamps on documents. The majority of these are proprietary and playing cards types, but you occasionally encounter match & medicine or other revenue stamps used on documents.
Click on any thumbnail below to pop up a window with more information and a zoomable high-resolution image.
Illegal use of 1-cent Benjamin Franklin (Scott #63) postage stamp as a revenue stamp, along with a nominally illegal use of the 1-cent Proprietary (R3c), as well as numerous 2-cent revenues, on a ledger page.
Catalogue value shown is for normal postal use on cover.
1868 promissory note made out by French immigrant. Doubly illegal, with both proprietary stamps and postage stamps used instead of documentary revenue stamps. Correctly rated at 10 cents tax. Ex-Morrissey.
2-cent Department of Interior Official stamp used illegally as a revenue stamp on a promissory note. This is the first example of an official stamp used as revenue that I am aware of.
Rare illegal use of R2c on document, along with an R50a, R42c, and two R5c, totalling 50 cents in payment.
Used in conjunction with an R19c on a promissory note. Nominally illegal usage, as Playing Cards revenue stamps were not supposed to be used on documents. While the stamps not rare per se, the Playing Cards and Proprietary types are considerably more difficult to find on document than other 1st issue revenue types.
Two R3c singles on bank check, a nominally illegal usage (the different first types were permitted to be used interchangably, with the exception of the 'proprietary' and 'playing cards' types).
Nominally illegal use of a pair of R3c on a recipt, the bottom stamp showing a strong guide line at bottom.
Horizontal pair of 1-cent Proprietary revenue stamps used improperly for documentary purposes on a New York Central Railroad voucher.
Horizontal pair of 1-cent Proprietary, used improperly as documentary revenue stamps. Thomas Kensett & Co. was an oyster and fruit canning company.
Horizontal pair of 1-cent proprietary revenue stamps used improperly as documentaries on a holographic check.
1-cent and 2-cent proprietary revenues used improperly as documentaries on a promissory note.
1-cent proprietary used improperly as a documentary, along with two 2-cent Bank Check revenues, paying 5 cents tax on an affidavit for estate expenses.
1-cent proprietary used improperly as a documentary on an order for payment.
Horizontal pair of 1-cent proprietary revenues used improperly as documentaries on an estate receipt for grave stones.
Horizontal strip of four 1-cent Proprietary stamps, used illegally as documentaries, short paying the tax (should have been 5 cents) on an 1869 payment order.
Illegal use of 1-cent Proprietary revenue as a documentary on an 1863 sight draft from the Quincy Mining Co.
Two 1c Proprietary stamps on an 1869 bank check. Nominally illegal in two different aspects: First, proprietary stamps were not permitted to be used as documentaries, and secondly, the stamps are overlapping, with the bottom stamp almost completely obscured, which was also not permitted.
Horizontal pair of 1-cent Proprietary revenues used illegally as documentaries on an 1867 bank check.
Improper use of 2-cent Playing Cards revenue stamp on a tax collector's receipt.
Nominally illegal use, as playing cards types were not supposed to be used on documents.
2-cent orange Playing Cards used illegally as a documentary on 1864 bank check.
Orange 2-cent Playing Cards used illegally as documentary on an 1864 bank check.
2-cent orange Playing Cards used improperly as a documentary on an 1864 bank check.
Nominally illegal use of proprietary type as a documentary. Very scarce and exceptional centering.
Nominally illegal use of proprietary stamp as documentary. Absolutely huge vertical margins.
2-cent Proprietary used improperly as a documentary revenue stamp.
2-cent proprietary revenue stamp used improperly as a documentary on an 1864 receipt. Stamp also exhibits a plate crack at top right.
2-cent Proprietary used improperly as a documentary on an 1864 estate receipt.
2-cent proprietary used improperly as a documentary on a receipt for an estate disbursement.
2-cent proprietary used improperly as a documentary, along with a 3-cent Foreign Exchange, paying 5 cents tax on a notarized affadavit.
2-cent proprietary with partial margin imprint capture at bottom, used illegally as documentary on an 1867 probate court receipt.
2c Proprietary used illegally as a documentary on an 1865 dividend receipt.
2-cent Proprietary used illegally/improperly as a documentary on a holographic (hand written) bank check.
3-cent and 2-cent Playing Cards revenue stamps used improperly as documentaries, paying 5 cents tax on a sworn affidavit.
3-cent proprietary used improperly as a documentary revenue on an 1865 receipt for estate payment ordered by probate court.
3-cent proprietary revenue used improperly as a documentary on an estate receipt for disbursement of proceeds of the estate.
Block of 5, vertical pair, and 3 singles of R18c used illegally as documentaries, along with a block of 10 of R15c, paying 50 cents tax on an 1871 indenture.
3-cent Proprietary used illegally as a documentary revenue on a purchase receipt.
Nominally illegal use of 5-cent Playing Cards on bill of lading from Tabers & Co., manufacturers of mowers and reapers, for transport of a mower and accessories on the Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne & Chicago Railway.
5-cent Playing Cards used improperly as a documentary revenue on an 1865 receipt for estate payment ordered by probate court.
5-cent Playing Cards used illegally as a documentary on an 1865 promissory note.
5-cent Playing Cards used illegally/improperly as a documentary, along with two 2-cent revenues, paying 9 cents tax on an 1867 land contract: 5 cents on April 24 per agreement, 2 cents on April 24 paying the receipt tax for the payment made at the time the contract was executed, and 2 cents on June 1 paying the receipt tax for the first scheduled payment.
Horizontal block of 6 plus a single R29c and a single R60c on a promissary note. Blocks of R29c are fairly scarce and nominally illegally usage to use a proprietary stamp as a documentary. The 50-cent Original Process is paying a the tax on a confession of judgement, a very scarce secondary transaction.
5-cent Proprietary used improperly as a documentary on an 1869 deposit receipt.
5-cent Proprietary used improperly as a documentary revenue on an 1867 deposit receipt.
5-cent Proprietary used improperly as a documentary revenue on an 1867 deposit receipt.
Block of six 5-cent Proprietaries plus 2 singles, used illegally as documentaries, on a portion of a note.
5-cetn proprietary illegally used as a documentary on en election certification document.
Illegal use of 10-cent Proprietary as a documentary revenue on an 1867 promissory note.
RB1a used illegally on document along with two R135 (including one with margin imprint capture) and an R24c, paying the correct 10-cent tax on a $175 promissory note.
Horizontal pair of 1st issue 1-cent Washington proprietary stamps used improperly paying the 2-cent tax on a check from the First National Bank of Sandusky.
A one of a kind document: an unsevered 1872 Second and Third of Exchange from the 'Triple-Currency Exchange', Bowles Brothers & Co., a rarely-seen banking entity on foreign exchange documents. It contains two sets of R109, R137, and RB1a, each set paying the correct 16 cents tax. Unusual not only in that the document is printed in multiple inks, but for my purposes in that it features two RB1a used improperly as documentaries on the reverse, both tied by herringbone cancels. Also, it contains one stamp from each of the three bi-colored revenue stamp series of the era: second issue documentary, third issue documentary, and first-issue proprietary... a virtually impossible combination.
Nominally illegal use of a proprietary stamp as a documentary.
Nominally illegal use of a proprietary stamp as a documentary on a dividend check. The signer, Elisha Colt, was a banker & attorney as well as being a cousin of Samuel Colt of Colt Fire Arms. Collins Co was a world class manufacturer of axes, machetes & other cutting implements in Collinsville, CT on the Farmington River.
Set of 4 checks in different colors, all with illegal usages of proprietary stamps used as documentaries. What are the odds that the purple check would be signed by someone with the last name of Purple?
Improper use of 2-cent proprietary revenue stamp as a documentary.
Great (illegal?) use of a 1st Issue proprietary on check. Nice mining vignette as well.
Nominally illegal use of a proprietary as a documentary on a check.
Vertical pair of 1-cent proprietary revenue stamps used improperly as documentaries, caught and a correct revenue subsequently affixed to pay the tax.
Four 1876-81 checks from the First National Bank in Hartford, CT with 2-cent Propritary revenue stamps used illegally/improperly as documentaries. The top two 1876 checks have RB11a (silk paper) affixed, and the bottom two 1881 checks have RB11b (watermarked USIR) affixed.
Doubly scarce: an illegal use of a proprietary stamp as postage on a foreign exchange document, along with German revenue stamps affixed to the reverse. Combination usages of U.S. and non-U.S. revenue stamps on the same document from this era are exceptionally rare.
Nominally illegal use of a proprietary stamp as a documentary on a check.
Horizontal pair of quarter-cent proprietary battleships, used improperly to make the half-cent component of a 2.5-cent rate on a fire insurance policy. Despite Hartford being a fairly large company, they must have run out of the half-cent documentary battleships.
Likely philatelic, but very attractive and unusual regardless. J.D. Van Volkenburgh of Hamilton, Missouri owned a 'post office book store' that sold 'Books, Stationery, Cigars and Tobacco, Newspapers, and Periodicals.' He was an early member of the American Philatelic Society. This lot consists of 7 checks, starting with a nice 2-cent battleship documentary with margin marking. The remaining 7 checks are all comprised of a wide variety of PROPRIETARY battleship revenue stamps, affixed illegally. Because most of the proprietary battleship revenues were denominated in fractions of a cent, this allowed for all sorts of fun colorful combinations of 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 1, 1-1/4, 1-7/8, and 2-cent proprietary battleships, totaling 2 cents on each check. One of them was caught, and a 2-cent documentary battleship affixed over the proprietary stamps.
1-cent proprietary battleship revenue stamp used illegally as a documentary, along with an R155 2-cent provisional overprint, paying 3 cents tax on an attractive 1898 insurance policy premium receipt.
An interesting group of 3 checks from the same company, all with illegal uses of proprietaries as documentaries, one with multi-line handstamp cancel, one with manuscript cancel, and one with mixed handstamp and manuscript cancel.
2-cent Proprietary battleship used improperaly as a documentary on a bank check, caught by the receiving bank when deposited and a precanceled 2-cent Documentary battleship affixed over the original. See matching bank cancel on the reverse.
Not only a first day of tax usage, which are highly sought after, but also an illegal/improper usage, with RB27 2-cent proprietary battleship used instead of a documentary. A double whammy!
Line block of 4 used illegally as documentary stamps on an 1899 marriage license. Same document as the one shown on this page, also an illegal usage from the same county, dated 8 days earlier. Each document contributes to the validity of the other. Additionally, this is the same pastor and location as this improper proprietary usage I subsequently acquired.
Two vertical pairs of 2-1/2 cent Battleship propietaries, used improperly as documentaries, paying 10 cents tax on a Michigan marriage certificate. Same pastor as this similar improper usage.
Vertical strip of 4 of RB45 (or RB33, no way to be certain), used improperly as documentaries, on a bill of lading.
Not a postage stamp used illegally as a documentary, but rather a playing card stamp used as a documentary. All examples on record are from this printing company.
2-cent Playing Cards used improperly on an 1899 bank check. All known examples are from this company.
Scott # RO157a, proprietary match stamp from D. M. Richardson, used illegally/improperly as a documentary on an 1867 handwritten receipt. Very scarce. Ex-Morrissey.