These are the revenue stamps and documents in my collection that "jump off the page" at me... the best of my collection. I may have chosen them for any number of reasons, not necessarily the condition of the stamp. It might be the particular color shade of the stamp, or perhaps a particularly sharp cancel strike, a fancy cancel, the contrast between the colors of the cancel and the stamp, or simply something I found to be interesting.
Click on any thumbnail below to pop up a window with more information and a zoomable high-resolution image.
While the strip of 5 of R197 or R208 is interesting, it is the additional usage of the large format Virginia notary stamp (SRC #D1) that is of note here. On-document usages are quite scarce, with populations in the double digits, and usages in conjunction with federal revenues are virtually unheard of, this being one of only two thus far reported. The catalog value listed above is for the notary stamp off document.
Very scarce use of a demonetized postage stamp as a revenue.
Very interesting piece. A 1-cent Franklin postage stamp used illegally as revenue, along with a horizontal pair of 10-cent Power of Attorney part perforates on a February 1863 voting proxy (early matching usage) from the Quincy mining company. A similar document (sans illegal usage) is shown in Mike Mahler's book U.S. Revenue-Stamped Documents of the Civil War Era. The proxy was for 3 related family members, hence what should have been 30 cents tax. Either the clerk grabbed the wrong blue stamp in their haste, or they ran out of 10-cent revenue stamps and grabbed something that looked close. Either way, the document is doubly illegal: (1) postage stamp used as revenue, and (2) short payment of the tax.
Just an incredible piece! Doubly illegal, with postage stamps used as revenues, and miscalculation of the tax owed. Two promissory notes (one year and two year) dated February 22, 1865, each for $450, with 15 randomly placed #65. The correct tax, five cents per $100 or part thereof, should have been 25 cents per note, or 50 cents, but the illegal attempted payment, 45 cents was based on the cumulative total of $900. The two receipts on the back are not taxable because they were on the same sheet of paper as the notes.
A one-of-a-kind piece, a complete bottom margin plate block of 16 used improperly as revenue stamps.
Illegal use of 2-cent Andrew Jackson 'Black Jack' (Scott #73) and 3-cent George Washington (Scott #65) postage stamps as revenues. Lovely mixed usage.
Spectactular combination usage of 4 singles along with R58c and a pair of R15c paying the 49-cent tax. Not only is it a one-of-a-kind illegal usage of postage stamps as revenues, but it also features a great single-line handstamp cancel in blue. Ex-Joyce.
Catalogue value shown is two pairs not on cover.
Very attractive illegal use of 5-cent Thomas Jefferson (Scott #76) postage stamp on a marriage license and certificate.
Catalogue value shown is for normal postal use on cover.
Block of 3 5-cent Thomas Jefferson (Scott #76) postage stamps used illegally as revenues on 1866 promissory note to J.H. Gulliford, a musical instruments dealer. Secondary transaction on the back is a 'confession of judgement', an extremely rare transaction, only a handful reported to exist. Mahler (1999) rarity rating of 9 with only 4 reported examples at that time. Ex-Turner (Lot 526 in the 1980 Turner sale, sold for $575 including BP at that time; transaction on back was not noted).
Catalogue value shown is just for a pair and single stamps off cover.
Illegal usage of Scott #78 as a revenue, combined with R18c (x2) and R25c, paid the 35-cent tax rate on a $7.00 photograph.
Beautiful illegal usage of 2-cent horse and rider (Scott #113) postage stamp as revenue on a receipt. The vast majority are found with manuscript cancels, whereas this one has a bold blue oval handstamp cancel. The stamp color is bright and fresh as well.
Catalogue value shown is for normal postal use on cover.
Block of 4 and a single, used illegally as revenue stamps, paying 10-cents tax on a January 1, 1872 promissory note. Used blocks of #113 are incredibly scarce, considerably more so than mint blocks. To my knowledge, this is the only reported revenue usage of a #113 block.
Three 2-cent Post Horse and Rider singles used illegally as revenue stamps paying tax on three receipt transactions on the same ledger sheet for shares of a pension from an estate.
1870 receipt, with 2-cent tax initially paid by the supplier (Rose, Dinsmore & Co., manufacturer of railway car springs) on February 2, improperly using a 2-cent horse and rider (Scott #113). When it reached the (audit?) office of the New York Central Railroad on February 25, a revenue stamp was properly affixed. Very scarce; currently the only reported example of both a #113 and revenue stamp on the same document.
Pair of drafts from the National Black River Bank in Proctorsville, Vermont, each with a 2-cent postage stamp used illegally as a revenue stamp, tied with handstamp cancel. One went through uncaught, whereas the other one was caught at the bank where submitted, the National Exchange Bank in Boston, where a revenue stamp was subsequently affixed and hammered by a bold boxed handstamp cancel. The added bonus being that both documents are dated July 1, 1898, the first day of the tax.
2-cent George Washington Bureau definitive used illegally as a revenue stamp on a check from The Cloverdale Creamery in Ellensburg, Washington, the check written June 30, 1898, the day before the tax went into effect, presented for payment on July 1, the first day of tax. A beautiful illegal/improper first day usage.
A check on the Frontier National Bank in Eastport, Maine, dated July 6, 1898, with bisected 3-cent (Scott #268) and 1-cent (Scott #279) bureau issues improperly paying the 2 cent tax (1.5 cents + 0.5 cents = 2 cents). Across the pair of bisects is a manuscript cancel reading 'I.R. SLW & Son 7/6/98'.
S.L. Wadsworth & Son was ship chandlery established in Eastport in 1818 and still exists as a hardware store today.
While the assumption is that this piece is philatelic rather than commercial, arguments can be made as to why it MIGHT be a legitimate improper usage (that might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but what I mean is an illegal usage done out of expediency or to defraud the government rather than a collector's creation).
A superb illegal usage! Block of 4 and a single of Scott #273, the 10-cent Daniel Webster green, used illegally as revenues, along with a 50-cent battleship, paying $1.00 tax on a Michigan surety bond, canceled July 2, 1898, the second day of the tax. Ex-Curtis.
Illegal usage of vertical strip of 3 and pair of Scott #273, the 10-cent Daniel Webster green, paying the 50-cent tax on an 1898 warranty deed. Great magenta 'IR' (internal revenue) designated on the stamps.
Account of 'Howard C. Beck', public accountant. Horizontal pair used improperly as revenues to pay 2-cent check tax.
Account of 'H. F. Place, Mt. Upton, NY'. Two singles used improperly as reevenues to pay 2-cent check tax, caught before processing and an R155 then applied to legitimately pay the tax.
A pair of dividend checks from the 'Augusta, Hallowell & Gardiner Railroad Co.' in Augusta, Maine. One illegal usage went through undetected, and the other one was caught and a revenue stamp properly affixed the following day. Great usage contrast. Oh, and to add icing to the cake, both documents are used on the first day of tax, July 1, 1898. Based upon the check numbering, there should be more out there.
10-cent Trans-Mississippi, Scott #290, improperly used as revenue on a marriage certificate. The 2-cent Trans-Mississippis are findable used as revenues without too much difficulty, whereas the other denominations are extremely scarce. Same document as the one shown on this page, also an illegal usage from the same county, dated 8 days later. Each document contributes to the validity of the other.
2015 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Irregular reconstructed block of 14 mint OG 1-cent Pan Americans with counterfeit 'IR' handstamp overprints. Interesting aesthetic piece... would be better if it were genuine.
There was only a 61-day window between the date the Pan American series was issued and when the check tax expired, making this a very rare illegal usage.
Mid-20th century improper usages of postage stamps as revenues are increibly rare, much more so than 19th century examples. This is a 1934 quit-claim deed, with $4 of revenue stamps affixed and initialed by the original signer of the document. Then there is a pair of the 1932 3-cent Washington definitive (Scott #720) affixed by the notary public listed on the second page. Because the cancels on the 3-cent Washingtons match the initials of the notary rather than that of the original signer, presumably ths 6 cents was intended to pay the fee for notarizing the document (3 cents per signer). The Washington pair is a partial plate number imprint capture to boot! Interesting to note that it took a year before the deed was actually recorded.
A large format (approximately 14-in x 6-in) 'Memorandum of Gold and Silver Bullion' from the Assay Office of E. Ruhling & Co. in Gold Hill, Nevada, recorded June 18, 1868. The stamp, sadly somewhat damaged, is State Revenue Catalog #DI-13, compound roulette 10x15.
Mike Mahler, in his article in the August 2019 issue of American Stamp Dealer & Collector magazine, displays an identical document dated several weeks prior (although he says his example is rouletted 10, not compound), and states the following:
Figure 6 shows a June 1868 report of E. Ruhling & Co. in Gold Hill, the sister city of Virginia City, in the heart of the Comstock, also stamped with the 5-cent dark green rouletted 10. The many details show that 1,006 ounces of 'Petaluma Mill slum,' evidently a bullion bar, was 96.7% silver, worth $1,231.67, and 2% gold for another $407.24, total $1,638.91 before the small loss in assaying. The eye-catching magenta-and-blue printing is probably explained by the imprint 'Trespass Print - Virginia, Nevada.' The shortlived Daily Trespass, published February 1867-October 1868, was named tongue-incheek by owner William J. Forbes, acutely aware that he was 'trespassing' in a field dominated by the celebrated Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. In a competitive job printing market, Forbes evidently offered Ruhling & Co. bicolored printing as an inducement to land the firm's business. This is the sole-recorded example of this remarkable form.
Amazingly scarce item: A legitimate late-date east coast usage of a part perf or imperf. Typically genuine late-date usages are confined to the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) or are not genuine imperfs or part perfs, as supplies had been fully consumed by mid-to-late 1864. An 1868 usage is incredibly late, but this being a vertical pair makes it unquestionably genuine.
Ornate 7-line boxed precancel from an as yet unidentified photographer. Note the several different typefaces used. Ex-Baryla, from his award winning Civil War Sun Tax exhibit.
A strip of three 1-cent Express (R1c) used illegally as postage, caught and a 6-cent penalty (double the postage amount) assessed. All 3 stamps are tied by a bold December 29, 1863 Washington, DC postal cancel. A lovely example of a wartime illegal/improper usage.
Horizontal pair and single of 2-cent Playing Cards, used illegally as postage on an 1865 cover from Colas Mouth, West Virginia. The single and the left stamp from the pair each have a vertical plate scratch. If you digitally position the single above the left stamp of the pair, it looks like it could be one long continuous scratch crossing both stamps. Very unique piece.
Partial margin imprint capture with a gorgeous stencil cancel.
This one is a true oddity. Is it a counterfeit, a college/training stamp, or something else? The design is VERY crude and the color is completely different from the actual stamp. It does not appear to be a modern creation, as the red is not composed of CMYK.
Wonderful item! The Walker & Taylor 10-line printed cancel is scarcer on the 1c denomination than the 2c. Also, the 1870 dated cancel is MUCH tougher than the 1866. Lastly, this is the first multiple I have ever seen with a Walker & Taylor cancel.
Hart L. Pierce counterfeit with full original gum.
Catlin's Improved Fire and Water Proof Cement.
Selection of very scarce Damon & Baker printed proprietary cancels. Company was located in Coaticook, Quebec, Canada. Cancels vary by date, font, and ink color. Full retail prices of these cancels range from $250 to $400 per stamp, with the green ink cancels being the most rare and expensive.
A 1-cent Proprietary (Scott #R3c) with printed/typeset precancel on an unfolded box top from S.R. van Duzer. This piece showcases perfctly what we collectors frequently lament as lack of care with respect to the stamps themselves, when in fact the workers of the period cared not one whit... nor were they required to. The sheets of stamps were cut up once removed from the printing press, and it didn't matter how close the cuts aligned with the perforations. The only thing that realistically mattered was affixing the canceled stamp to the product to prove the payment of tax. A very scarce piece.
Major double transfer (T5). Very scarce on document.
R5a privately rouletted, on document piece. Unlisted in Scott. Rouletting is visible on all 4 sides of the stamp, with multiple vertical rows.
This one has a lot going on:
1. A strong double transfer at bottom,
2. A Jan. 1862 cancel, which isn't possible, and
3. A secondary magenta stencil 'B' cancel.
Unusual mixed handstamp and manuscript cancel, with the latter in a lovely contrasting magenta ink. Notice also the freak perforations at top.
Wonderful one-of-a-kind piece! Not only is it a major double transfer (T5), but it is also an R5b that is imperforate vertically rather than horizontally (as with all part perforates, the imperf vertically are far more scarce than imperf horizontally). It is on a piece of a Wells Fargo document, with a California state revenue.
2003 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Major double transfer (T5). Very scarce on document.
Fancy negative 'JT' script monogram cancel, the first example I have seen in a multiple.
Unusual fancy printed cancel, with the gothic letter initials at top. Because these are seen with different letter combinations at top, speculation is that these are for bond coupons, with the bondholder's initials printed at top.
An extremely early usage (the first day of the tax was October 1, 1862). Cut cancel goes through the stamp, but the actual stamp itself is incidental to the document.
Ornate draft drawn on the company treasurer in Troy, New York. Unusual in that it is a draft on a company other than a bank.
A very scarce and unusual CDV, in that it shows both stencil cancel designs used by R.E. Merrifield, one as a cancel on the stamp, and the other as a back mark on the photograph. This larger, more ornate design was also used to cancel stamps. See this stamp for an example. Ex-Baryla, from his award winning Civil War Sun Tax exhibit.
2014 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Plate blocks of 1st issue revenues are quite scarce. Granted, it has been very heavily reinforced around the edges. There are blue threads on 2 of the 24 stamps, but the PF has determined that it is not silk paper, so the block is not R6d.
Just a wonderful document! It is a receipt for ship transport via Merchants Navigation and Transportation Co. steamer 'Commonwealth' from Silas Pierce & Co. to the Boston & Providence Railroad. There is a crisp railroad receiving datestamp (unlisted in Tolman) at top right center, and then an absolutely superb 'E.J. Smith' script handstamp cancel tying the stamp to the document. The steamer 'Commonwealth' was destroyed in a fire in December of 1865.
Superb ornate handstamp cancel!
Very unusual cancel. Appears it might be the top right poertion of a shield with W and D initials in an ornate medieval font. Ornament above could possibly be a dolphin overlaying an anchor.
Beuatiful ornate monogram hanstamp cancel. Attribution provided by the document shown on this page.
Bold and complete strike of a very scarce rounded-corner boxed cancel. It almost always is found on 25-cent denominations, very rarely on low denominations.
Gorgeous two-color billhead with an American Indian vignette. 'Manufacturers and Dealers in Cut, Chewing, Smoking and Plug Tobacco'.
1866 bill of lading from the steamship company 'Glidden & Williams.' Bills of lading typically weren't printed in multiple inks, let alone metallic ink. The gold is bright and reflective; more beautiful in hand than the image implies.
Currently the only reported example of R6e on a photograph. Exceptional color and centering! Ex-Baryla, from his award winning Civil War Sun Tax exhibit.
2008 PSE certificate. Major double transfer at bottom (T7). Superb!
Printed cancel on an admission ticket to the 59th Semi-Annual Conference of The Ben Franklin Associates, to be held on July 4, 1863. One of two reported examples. Ex-Tolman.
Blind perfs top and bottom; trimmed left and right.
Check with very interesting red 'SOLDIERS PAY' handstamp. Marcus L. Ward, later governor of the state of New Jersey, per Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Lawrence_Ward) Ward devised and managed one of the first systems in New Jersey for enabling soldiers to set aside monthly allotments of their pay for delivery to their families and gained the nickname “the soldiers' friend.” It is conceivable that this document is from that effort.
A beautiful 'Army and Soldiers Package Express' receipt with vignette at left.
This is one of only stamped examples I have seen. Express receipts were only taxed during two short windows: Oct. 1, 1862 through Mar. 3, 1863, at which point the express stamp tax was rescinded, and then starting again Aug. 1, 1864 when a receipt tax was enacted, through Apr. 1, 1865 when the tax on receipts for delivery by an express company was rescinded.
It is also the only example I have ever seen pictures of that has the blue overprint at center. It reads 'It is further agreed, that said Harnden Express shall not, in any event, be liable for any loss, damage or detention caused by Civil or Military authority, or by rebellion, insurrection or riot.' Presumably the company was taking excessive losses due to the Civil War, so they added this overprint.
Mortgage with two $2 Conveyance paying the tax, but what is more interesting is the use of a quadrisected 2-cent Express (R10c) as sigillums (seals for the signature). Very unusual usage, the first example I have seen of a revenue stamp used in this manner.
Lovely exhibit-quality multiple, a horizontal block of 12.
Poland's Magic Powders fancy mortar and pestle printed cancel. One of the the most famous and desirable 1st issue cancels.
Fancy 'Cook' cancel.
Stamp is munged, but this one is all about the cancel: a beautiful patriotic motif, with both a star and 'stars and bars' shield design.
Ex-Baryla, from his award winning Civil War Sun Tax exhibit.
Interesting Civil War satirical patriotic piece ridiculing the Confederacy that shows Jefferson Davis in a dress. The caption reads 'Brutal attack on helpless women by the U.S. government'. The dialogue has a woman saying 'You had better not provoke the president, he might hurt some of you' and a Union soldier replying 'Yer dont say'.
From a distance it looks like a printed cancel, but instead it is a very meticulously drawn manuscript cancel, replete with wide and narrow serifs on the 'font'.
Rare proprietary medicine cancel. Damon & Baker was located in Coaticook, Quebec, Canada.
Scott lists the T13a double transfer on normal paper and as an R13e (ultramarine shade), but does not list the T13a on silk paper. Exceptionally rare.
Courtesy of Bruce Baryla — This 'Skull and Bones' handstamp was known to collectors of fancy handstamps by its appearance as a 'sender's mark' on covers mailed in 1857 by the 'Society of Twenty-Two,' a Yale University based fraternal group associated with the famous Skull and Bones Society.
This same handstamp was used years later as a stamp canceling device. As it turns out, the secretary of the 'Society of Twenty-Two' in 1857 was Robert A. Beckwith. He became a photographer and co-owner of the Whitney & Beckwith studio — and he repurposed the handstamp from his college days to cancel revenue stamps.
See this blog entry for other examples with different portions of the cancel.
Very unusual item! It is purported to actually be a card proof (R15P4) cut down and used illegally (Nutmeg Auctions lot #710348). Moreover, it is the T15 major double transfer.
Scarce wire transfer receipt from Montana Territory.
The only reported pictorial cancel depicting a studio camera. No complete example of the shield cancel has been reported. Other portions of the cancel can be seen on this CDV. Ex-Baryla, from his award winning Civil War Sun Tax exhibit.
Unusual fancy printed cancel, with the gothic letter initials at top and the 3D block numbers in the year. Because these are seen with different letter combinations at top, speculation is that these are for bond coupons, with the bondholder's initials printed at top. Ex-Morrissey.
Wonderful portrait doodle cancel.
Watch and jewelry merchant.
Gorgeous aesthetics, both the document and the cancel.
This may very well be the largest ornate handstamp cancel I have ever seen, on a billhead from Jacob Ritter, 'importer of bolting cloths'. The branding in the cancel text matches the branding at upper left on the billhead, although interestingly the spelling is different. Gorgeous!
Very unusual handstamp cancel with either an eagle or a seal/walrus at the center (likely the former). I've not been able to dig up any logo or other images associated with this firm, which was an import house.
Interesting tombstone-style framed handstamp cancel. Hardware, glass, putty &c.
Documents featuring both U.S. and non-U.S. revenue stamps are fairly scarce, the vast majority being Spanish American War period or later. Civil War period documents in this category stray into 'rare' territory. This is a very delicate 1870 Mexican bill of exchange with imprinted revenue stamp (renta papel sellado), also with two R15c affixed, presumably when it was presented for payment in Galveston, Texas. The imprinted revenue is #870.45 in Donald O. Scott & Frank A. Sternad The Revenue Stamped Paper of Mexico 1821-187. Currently the only reported U.S.-Mexico dual taxed document from the Civil War period.
L-shaped strip of 3. Top left stamp is the T15 major double transfer listed by Scott. The bottom right stamp is a different unlisted major double transfer. Here is a closeup of the two DT areas side by side to compare them.
Unknown, presumably proprietary usage, upper right diagonal bisect on a piece of packaging. The vertical line is a foldover seam of two separate pieces of paper.
Absolutely gorgeous jumbo, with margins much larger than normally found.
A complete playing card wrapper from the Samuel Hart & Co. playing card company for their 'Linen Eagle' playing cards. It features 2-cent and 3-cent Playing Cards stamps with printed script December 1863 'SH&Co.' cancels. Presumably the selling price of the deck of cards increased at a later date, thus necessitating the addtiion of the 3 5-cent Playing Card stamps using a later single-line block style handstamp cancel.
Very unusual 'WAR TAX' boxed handstamp.
Double transfer in numerals.
Wonderful cancel created from printer's type in both straight lines and arcs. In addition to being a photographer, he was also a 'Dealer in Watches, Clocks, Jewelry, Perfumery and Fancy Articles. Watches, Clocks and Jewelry repaired.' Ex-Baryla, from his award winning Civil War Sun Tax exhibit.
The scarcer of the two script cancels used by the famous Civil War photographer Matthew Brady. Both the 'Washington' and 'Brady' script cancels were made with similar metal type slugs as those used to imprint photograph mounts. A VERY rare cancel. Ex-Baryla, from his award winning Civil War Sun Tax exhibit.
Scarce stencil cancel rarely found on CDV, one of three known California photographers that used stencil cancels. S. McCrary was located in a fraternal organization meeting room called the 'Odd Fellows Hall'. Ex-Baryla, from his award winning Civil War Sun Tax exhibit.
Scarce stencil cancel rarely found on CDV, one of three known California photographers that used stencil cancels. Ex-Baryla, from his award winning Civil War Sun Tax exhibit.
Very rare 'WAR TAX STAMPED' boxed cancel.
Sewing machine perfs. Virtually all known examples are extremely faulty. This examples is stellar in comparison.
Early matching usage (EMU) of 3-cent Telegraph imperforate on a May 1863 telegram. Stamp is superb.
Absolutely superb strike of an incredibly scarce photographer shield cancel.
Tattered and torn, but incredibly scarce. An 1863 first bill of exchange, Havana Cuba, drawn on a party in New York, in the amount of $1,400. Taxed 14 cents (short-lived Inland Exchange 1863 rate of 2c per $200), with Cuba 1 escudo Giro ('Draft') tax paid in 1868 to ensure legality in a long-running legal action (specifics courtesy of Mike Mahler).
The 4-cent Playing Cards is almost universally found faulty or poorly centered. Finding one that is sound and perfectly centered is virtually impossible.
Extremely rare 7-line Walker & Taylor printed cancel; much more scarce than the 10-line printed cancels found on the 1-cent and 2-cent denominations.
Amazing piece. This is a legitimate bisected R21c or R22c, unlisted in Scott. Photographer was known for signing his name as a play on words, using 'Bo9' rather than 'Bonine', the latter portion of which is clearly apparent on the bisect.
A very scarce fancy cancel. Actually in exceptional condition compared to other examples I've seen. Better than the example in the Joyce Collection auction in 1991.
Very unusual logo/monogram at center.
Caudichaud's (or Gaudichaud's) Compound Extract of Sandalwood. See also this image for the alternate spelling.
Druggist and chemist. Also a minor double transfer at lower right. Superb strike of the cancel compared to most examples.
Interesting cancel with 'KEEP CLOSE CORKED' in center.
Aesthetically beautiful early membership certificate from the Masonic Relief Association. The red and green inks make for a wonderful presentation, and the embossed cancel is just absolutely hammered.
Stock certificate from the American Express Co. featuring signatures of Henry Wells and William Fargo.
Full vertical strip of 10 (the longest vertical strip possible). Note the poor quality control in the perforations from top to bottom. This is an incredibly late usage for a part perforate stamp, so my guess is that this was used in California, part of the 'Late California Imperf and Part Perf' usages.
Stunningly beautiful 3-color agent's certificate from The National Ink Company, printed in red, blue, and metallic gold, with a patriotic eagle vignette.
Wonderful shield cancel on a document printed on tissue-like parchment. Amazingly thin and transparent.
Pawnbroker's ticket for a watch, with the stamp canceled by a stylized Star of David handstamp cancel. 'S.G.N.' stands for Samuel G. Nathans, presumably a relative or predecessor. Pawn tickets from the Civil War are exceptionally rare, with only a handful known.
Pawn tickets from the Civil War era are incredibly rare, with currently only 14 reported examples. No one saved them, as they were only needed until pawned items were retrieved. Of the 14 known examples, this is the only example not from New York City or Philadelphia. The other 13 examples have loan periods ranging from 4 months to 1 year, whereas the loan period for this pawn was an incredibly short 1-day loan for $300, which was a huge sum at that time.
Ex-Steven Belasco. From his exhibit: 'Edgar H. Judkins, a Lowell Mass. stamp dealer, began using the name United States Stamp Company in 1865. E.T. Gage was a clerk in Lowell. In 1866 they sold shares in the United States Stamp Company in what may have been the first syndication of a stamp business. At least 100 shares were sold to several different investors. The 5-cent revenue rate applied to shares in an unincorporated company.'
Clerk of the city and county of New York.
Wholesale drug house of Boving & Witte.
An 'ugly duckling' of a cover, but very scarce and important. A 5-cent Inland Exchange revenue used illegally as postage on a cover to England. This cover was highlighted in Labron Harris's September 2019 American Philatelist article 'Early U.P.U. Treatment of Invalid Postage' as the earliest use he had seen of 'Xs and Os' cover markings to indicate invalid postage.
Just a beautiful document! An 1871 certificate of classification for the schooner W.H. Green, from American Lloyd's Insurance Co. In addition to the large green underprint of the company logo, it has the corresponding green embossed seal, an attractive maritime vignette at top center, and a boldly struck example of a 'JOHN DEVEREUX SURVEYOR FOR AMMERICAN LLOYDS' handstamp cancel typing R27c to the document. Very rare.
An unusual double strike of the scarcer of the two script cancels used by the famous Civil War photographer Matthew Brady. Both the 'Washington' and 'Brady' script cancels were made with similar metal type slugs as those used to imprint photograph mounts. A VERY rare cancel.
Very rare negative eagle cancel. Groon & Co. was a playing card importer. Ex-Morrissey. All known examples are heavily damaged.
5-cent Proprietary silk paper on an 1872 affidavit. Silk papers are fairly scarce on document, as you typically can only see the blue threads from the reverse of the stamp, meaning it needs to be lifted from the document. In this case, however, there are at least three blue silk threads visible on the face of the stamp. A wonderful example of a scarce silk paper.
An R30b part perforate does not exist, which is why I have it marked as a fake. It had to have been trimmed, but that had to have been the largest top and bottom margins ever seen on the type. You can see just a hint of the stamp above at top. Even though it's bogus, it's an extremely neat item. There has subsequently been discussion that this may actually not be a fake after all, as this is not the only known example of a possible R30b that is very convincing.
1998 APEX certificate. AMFG = Seller of Italian bitters. This is an lovely example of R31c, which is is almost universally found faulty and poorly centered. The Scott catalog states 'Nearly all examples of No. R31 are faulty and poorly centered. The catalogue value is for a fine centered stamp with minor faults which do not detract from its appearance.'
10-cent Bill of Lading imperforate on a March 1863 (EMU) bill of lading for coal to be carried on the bark Benefactor to Hong Kong. Bills of Lading to overseas destinations are quite scarce, and EMUs even more so. The document is on a thin and very delicate tissue paper. No wonder very few survived.
Faulty, but one of only two known multiples of R32b imperforate vertically. As a general rule, part perfs are normally found imperforate horizontally, and only some of them exist imperforate vertically, virtually all considerably more scarce as the latter. Ex-Curtis.
Even though the identifying portion of the stamp is missing, I have labeled it as R32 because the other extant bisects showing the bottom half of the stamp from the same company are all R32. The current catalog value is misleading, as it has not been updated in decades.
Prothonotary of the District Court of Philadelphia.
A wonderful document! The embossed seal is an especially nice graphic. Accompanying advertising cover that originally contained the insurance policy. Tolman P-47.
Very unusual logo/monogram at center.
Part perforate stamps imperforate vertically tend to be far more scarce than their horizontally imperforate counterparts. However, some are incredibly scarce, and this is one example. To date, I have only been able to find one other reported multiple of R36b imperf vertically, that being a lone strip of three recorded in the Curtis Census. The Scott Catalogue does not currently provide separate values for imperf horizontal vs. vertical part perforates, a long overdue improvement.
2011 Philatelic Foundation certificate.
Very unusual! 4 'bisects' on one indenture document. Three partial R36c, two being halves of the same stamp, as well as a bisected R37b which is not listed in Scott. Together, along with the R52c, they comprise the correct 50-cent tax on the $500 transaction. I classify this as a 'fake' as they are not bisects in the truest sense of the word, more likely someone either (1) using up pieces on hand or more likely (2) trying to cheat the government by re-using uncanceled portions of previously used revenue stamps. Still an unusual and interesting item.
Ornate 2-color insurance policy from the Market Fire Insurance Co., featuring a bold red oval handstamp from the insurance agent. Document also features an ornately engraved revenus stamp placeholder in red that explains the rates to be affixed (see composite image below).
Unusual large format (7in x 4in) 'Magic Lantern' glass slide in wooden frame with remains of a 15-cent 1st issue revenue stamp affixed, dated April 29, 1865, approximately two weeks after Lincoln's assassination.
1991 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Very scarce part perf double impression. Only reported example on document. Ex-Curtis.
2011 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Double impression. Superb example, with the cancel doubled in addition to the design itself... how appropriate. Much more scarce than the catalog value implies.
Wonderful 3-color stock certificate from the Triunfo Gold and Silver Mining Co. in San Francisco, CA.
Stock certificate #12 from the Newton Mining Co.
Fake overprint created in the 1930s by an enterprising stamp dealer.
Unusual caricature/graffiti cancel.
Very scarce stock certificate.
Beautiful bicolor stock certificate with paddlewheel steamer vignette and hammered embossed seal featuring a locomotive. This is the first document I've obtained from the Washington Territory.
Documentary use of a negative-image patent medicine cancel that reads 'Juniper * Dean * Street * London'. John Juniper patented Essence of Peppermint in 1762. The image at the center of the cancel appears to be an amphora.
One of the most beautiful stock certificates ever produced (in my opinion).
Superb strike! Tolman P-27a.
Gorgeous vertical pair with striking early-use cancel.
An amazing stencil cancel, thus far the only reported example from this California photographer. This stamp may have set a record for the largest premium for a cancel over the stamp's value when it realized $525 in 1991 as part of the Morton Dean Joyce Collection. Ex-Baryla, from his award winning Civil War Sun Tax exhibit.
Very unusual large crude handstamp cancel. Similar in design to this cancel. Ex-Morrissey.
Just a gorgeous example of a steel die oval handstamp cancel.
A very nice dual-EMU! A May 1863 protest document with the original instrument (a January 1863 promissory note) attached. It's odd in that the 25-cent revenue paying the tax on the protest is affixed not to the protest document itself, but to the original document, overlaying the 15-cent revenue paying the original tax. What is notable though, is that BOTH stamps are EMUs (early matching usage): R40a 15-cent Inland Exchange imperf paying the tax on the original promissory note, and R49a 25-cent Protest imperf paying the tax on the protest.
Not one but TWO R50b part perfs plus an R78c used on an Indiana land sale document. The vast majority of R50b seen on the market are trimmed fakes and you virtually never see one on document.
Very scarce part perf to find still on original document. Part of next stamp showing at bottom.
Amazing almost neon ink cancel.
Lovely early matched usage (EMU) of R51a and R63a on a sight draft.
Brown ink handstamp cancels are extremely scarce, even more scarce than green ink cancels.
2013 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Exceptional margins, and one of very few examples with a handstamped cancel. The cancel company and exact date are identical to the stamp on Philatelic Foundation certificate 179017.
2017 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Only the second authenticated example currently known.
Amazing margin imprint running down the entire left side of stamp. Perfectly positioned!
Fake bisect and overprint created by a dealer in the 1930s. Note that the stamp was overprinted twice, once before being affixed, perpendicular to the overprint on the document.
J.R. Ingersoll, J. Miller Craig and Charles Willing, Trustees of the Trust created by the Estate of William Bingham. Ex-Morrissey.
I guess clerks in the 1860s had time to doodle too...
Superb color contrast!
Unusual crowned globe with a monogram in the center.
Straight line Ct Mutual Life Ins cancel, but what makes this interesting is that the manuscript date is done in gilt (gold) ink. Tolman C-51b-1.
Interesting doodle cancel.
Plate number single with imprint.
Tolman M-74c. Brown ink handstamp cancels are VERY scarce, even more scarce than green ink.
Three strikes of Pacific Mail Steamship Co. single-line cancels, two of the ship MONTANA and one of the ship GREAT REPUBLIC. Mixed-ship occurences, while documented, are very scarce, with only a handful known to exist.
Shipping and commission merchants and agents, Hawaiian Packet Line for Honolulu.
J.R. Ingersoll, J. Miller Craig and Charles Willing, Trustees of the Trust created by the Estate of William Bingham.
Ornate crowned shield or globe with 'A.C.S.' in the crown and a script 'BD' in the shield.
An interesting way to advertise... tiny dealer inormation stamped or printed along the edge of the stamp 'H. NORTH MOBSE, STAMPS AND CURIOSITIES.' Also tiny letters U and S printed over bottom numerals.
Possibly a protest against paying the tax. I wish it were still on the original document, in order to possibly get some context.
Fancy flourishes in corners.
Repaired corner at LR. Superb margins, color and cancel. Featured as lot 195 in John W. Kaufman Auction #58 in 1979.
Lovely steel grey shade. Also an interesting print anomaly: see the partial horizontal line immediately below the top value tablet.
Wonderful and scarce usage of an R79a bottom sheet margin single on a promissory note taxed as an inland exchange, dated the day of Lincoln's assassination. I have only been able to find records of three other examples of R79a still on documents. Ex-Curtis.
Manufacturer of scales.
Two strikes of a wonderful rimless circle cancel with stars incorporated in the design.
Originally written up in the February 1979 American Revenuer:
Illustrated here must be what would be called the only known example of a First Issue $2.50 Conveyance stamp (or is it an Entry of Goods stamp?). The stamp is on a document belonging to ARA member George Alevizos. It is a warranty deed dated September 15, 1871 for a parcel of land in Abington, Massachusetts. The purchase price was $2,500 and required tax stamps totaling $2.50 be attached. However, as can be seen from the illustrations, there was not enough room to attach the two stamps that were to be used to make the $2.50 rate. Curved cuts were made above the 'TWO DOLLARS' and below 'CONVEYANCE' on a copy of R81. A copy of R55 was trimmed close and woven through the $2 stamp. Both stamps are there in their entirety. This $2.50 provisional was then attached to the document and canceled. The cancellation consisting of the initials H.H.P. above and Sep. 15, 1871 between two parallel lines ties both stamps together and to the document as shown in the enlarged illustration. This definitely has to be one of the more interesting first issue items 'on cover.'
Scarce full strike of large format cancel on a promissory note.
2 strikes of HENRY CHAUNCEY in blue, plus 5 strikes of RISING STAR in red. Very rare, one of only a handful of multi-ship examples known, and the only reported example with cancels in 2 different colors.
Tied to document by last digit of date. Catalog value has not been updated in many years.
Horizontal stitch watermark. Very scarce and unusual!
Seven strikes of Pacific Mail Steamship Co. single-line cancels, three of the ship ALASKA, and four of the ship ARIZONA. The thought is that these were canceled at a central office, and because the two words look similar (both begin and end with A, and are only one letter different in length), a clerk grabbed the wrong handstamp, realized their error, and then re-canceled with the correct handstamp. Mixed-ship occurences, while documented, are very scarce, with only a handful known to exist.
2011 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Top half of an R82c used as $1 on document, the bottom half of which was used a day later, on this document.
This image shows the two halves of the stamp superimposed upon one another, showing they are the same stamp.
2011 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Bottom half of an R82c used as $1 on document, the bottom half of which was used the day before, on this document.
This image shows the two halves of the stamp superimposed upon one another, showing they are the same stamp.
H.L. Aldrich was a cotton mill owner. Wonderful use of R83a on document, along with an R42c and R5c. The manuscript cancel is very bold and crisp. Part of the adjoining stamp is visible at lower right.
Wonderful multiple cancels. A SON blue cancel from the New Britain Knitting Co. and also an embossed cancel from the National Shoe & Leather Bank.
Stunning example, vibrant blue color likely due to chemical exposure.
Very unusual gold ink color.
Shipping and commission merchants and agents, Hawaiian Packet Line for Honolulu.
Unusual combination of blue circular handstamp and very ornately printed large boxed cancel. Not document offset, since it is not reversed. Not listed in Tolman.
Signed by Capt. Charles H. Marshall, at the age of 72, 2.5 years before his death in October of 1865. It's a shame this was removed from the document, as it would have been a great EMU.
R97a is rarely ever found with a handstamp cancel.
Absolutely superb. The Tolman listing example.
Just absolutely gorgeous!
Margins beyond compare! The largest jumbo of a perforated issue I have ever seen.
Ex-Morrissey. Very unusual crude oversized 'PAID' handstamp cancel.
Gorgeous contrast between cancel and stamp! Ex-Morrissey.
2011 Philatelic Foundation certificate. The Scott Catalog listing example.
1991 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Dry goods merchant. Until May 2018, the only reported example of R107b. A second example has now been discovered from the same company, containing the other half of this stamp. An image of the two bisect halves superimposed and aligned can be seen here.
Dry goods merchant. A new discovery as of May 2018, only the second reported example of R107b. The other known example is from the same company, containing the other half of this stamp. Ex-Hiram Deats. Given to a family acquaintance shortly before his death in 1963, this item has been off the market for well over half a century. An image of the two bisect halves superimposed and aligned can be seen here.
Beautiful combination of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd issue revenues all on the same document! Must have been backdated, because the 2nd- and 3rd-issue stamps weren't released until 1871.
Superb ornate ooversized oval handstamp cancel. Ex-Morrissey.
Very interesting manuscript cancel written in French. Life insurance cancels are fairly scarce, as life insurance policies were not very common during this era. Not listed in Tolman. Ex-Morrissey.
2014 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Imperforate used on part of a stock certificate. Very rare. Ex-Morrissey.
It's a shame it isn't the entire document. These are very rare on piece or on document. Tied via a lovely embossed cancel with a sailing ship in the center.
Sewing machine perfs are exceptionally rare on document. This stamp appears to have been re-used. The September 30 cancel is tied to the document and matches the date of the document, but there is an earlier handstamp cancel on the stamp NOT tied to the document. I've seen many other examples of this stock certificate, and many of them seem to have this doubly-canceled anomaly.
Very scarce stamp; much tougher than the catalog value would imply.
2014 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Very rare.
Superb example of a VERY difficult stamp. Large margins, sound, and with two crisp cancel strikes. Ex-Morrissey.
Very scarce to find a sewing machine perf that is also a double transfer. Plate position 23.
Beautiful contrasting color strike from the Pacific Mail steamship 'Rising Star'.
Foreign entry, design of $1. Ex-Morrissey. The finest centered example I have ever seen.
Simply superb. The $1.30, $1.60, and $1.90 denominations are virtually never found with aesthetically pleasing handstamp cancels. Ex-Morrissey.
William K. Neal was a Dedimus Justice, a position unique to the state of Maine. Appointed for life, they administer oaths of office. Ex-Morrissey.
2009 APEX certificate. Socked-on-the-nose handstamp cancels are incredibly rare on the high-denomination 2nd and 3rd issue revenues.
Wonderful fancy manuscript cancel with two petit crossed lines of text. Ex-Morrissey.
Absolutely superb jumbo!
2009 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Very scarce on document.
Very nice example of this 3rd issue invert with a lovely cancel. Very scarce on document or piece.
Horizontal strip of 5. I don't normally go after multiples or play the '11th largest known multiple' game, but I made an exception for this piece. Even though it is the 3rd largest reported multiple (there is one block of 6 and one strip of 6), the quality of the individual stamps in this strip is MUCH nicer than those other multiples, with each stamp having centering well clear of the perforations, but also there is a margin imprint capture at lower right. Ex-Morrissey.
While at first glance it appears to be a handstamped cancel, it is actually a printed cancel. See my page devoted to the cancels of the Brady's Bend Iron Co.
Wonderful stamp exhibiting six strikes from the Pacific Mail steamship 'Rising Star'.
While at first glance it appears to be a handstamped cancel, it is actually a printed cancel. See my page devoted to the cancels of the Brady's Bend Iron Co.
This is what happens when clerks got bored in the 1870s. Apparently done by the very same clerk who did this one.
A wonderful example of a rarely seen socked-on-the-nose handstamp cancel on a high denomination. It also has a light cut cancel, and the catalog value displayed above reflects the cut cancel (value for this stamp without CC is $650.00).
2012 PSAG certificate. Gorgeous jumbo margins.
Inverted center; extremely scarce on document.
Very attractive check with plow vignette and stylized lettering.
Attractive shield cancel.
U.S. revenue documents with both U.S. and non-U.S. revenue stamps affixed, paying multiple taxes throughout a chain of transactions are quite scarce. This example was taxed in England and then doubly taxed in the U.S. There is an extensive 2-page writeup of the document here and here.
Very attractive first day of tax usage on an insurance policy. The correct tax for the transaction was 28.5 cents, so this overpaid the tax by a half cent, thus corroborrating the shortage of half-cent battleship documentaries at the beginning of the tax period. Large-format first-day documents are quite scarce.
2018 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Rare provisional overprint recently listed in Scott, similar to Scott R156-158, but smaller format, on a marriage certificate from Huron County, Michigan. This is the second such document reported.
Very interesting item. This is the first solo usage of a half-cent documentary battleship revenue stamp that I have seen. It appears to be a promotional 1-month accident insurance policy. Very innovative marketing idea!
Very scarce solo use of half-cent battleship documentary on an 1899 2-day traveler's accidental death and injury policy from The Travelers Insurance Company. The full name of the railroad in the cancel is Lake Superior & Mississipi and Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad.
Wonderful unusual illegal usage of 1-cent documentary battleship revenue stamp on a leather postcard.
Wonderful fancy flag cancel.
2c Trans-Mississippi (286) used with two each 3c and 5c Battleship Documentary Revenues on registered cover from New Orleans to Edinburgh, Scotland, New Orleans Jul. 1, 1898 registered datestamp, transited New York with registry label applied over 2c Trans-Mississippi, London registered handstamps, Edinburgh and New York backstamps. Most unusual use to pay the 8c registry fee plus double the 5c UPU rate. Despite the illegality of using revenue stamps as postage, this cover passed through both New Orleans and New York without complaint by postal clerks. Ex Dr. Heimburger.
Listed as a tripled surcharge, but I believe this is actually a quadrupled surcharge, which is unlisted. The discolored strip across the center is actually water-soluble varnish, an anti-reuse measure.
Unusual and ornate fancy shield cancel.
Illegal use of revenue as postage on cover, but amazingly on a paquebot cover, from the S.S. Arabic, canceled in Cherbourg-Octeville, Manche, in Normandy, France.
R231 with magenta oval handstamp cancel, along with a Japanese bill stamp with wonderful signature handstamp cancel, on a bill of foreign exchange. Documents with both U.S. and foreign revenue stamps on them are very scarce.
Provisional 'STOCK TRANSFER' overprint.
Incredibly scarce document with manuscript Future Delivery provisional overprints. Three 40-cent, eight 1-cent, and twelve 2-cent documentaries, all manuscript overprinted F.D. The official overprinted Future Delivery stamps were not yet available. This confirmation memo was for 100 barrels of cotton seed oil to be delivered in January 1918.
Serial number 000001. Only one #1 can exist per denomination and year.
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.
Unused (no gum as issued) strip of 6.
Unusual handstamp cancel that includes part of a signature.
Great (illegal?) use of a 1st Issue proprietary on check. Nice mining vignette as well.
2018 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Vertical bisect on a complete label for a trial size of 'Fish's Saratoga Asperient' prepared by George H. Fish & SOns, Saratoga Springs, New York. The regular size would have been taxed at 4 cents, hence the 2-cent tax on the trial size. Scott lists but does not price RB4d. This is the first example I have ever seen. I am aware of one other example, found by a New York collector approximately 40 years ago.
2001 Philatelic Foundation certificate. Ex-Scarsdale.
This is the sharpest strike of the Benton's Tar Troches cancel I have ever seen.
Great 3-D cube with initials ALC, one on each face of the cube.
Nice inverted cancel.
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.
Bottom half of a beautiful large-format druggist fancy cancel on a horizontal pair. I would love to see a complete version of the cancel.
Very unusual maltese cross cancel inscribed 'VERITAS'.
2-cent Proprietary battleship revenue stamp used illegally as postage on an 1899 Spanish American War patriotic cover.
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.
Reconstructed block of 4 (two horizontal pairs) double impression. Only listed as mint in Scott, no listing for used. Value shown is for 4 singles.
Mint full gum block of 40, with creases and heavy hinge reinforcement. By far the largest known multiple (the largest block in the Curtis Census are several blocks of six).
Serial number 4, from the first sheet of RD23a, and also the first double transfer position of RD23a.
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.
Beautiful orange and green bank draft depicting a bank's counter with weighing scale.
Beautiful railroad piece printed in orange.
USPS presentation folder given to honored guests at First Day ceremony. Contains complete sheets of 10 of the RVB1 and RVB2 boating stamps. Catalogue value is for a plate block of 4 plus 6 singles of each stamp. Note that the 2 sheets are not only matching serial numbers, but also very low 2-digit serial numbers. These sheets would have been the 10th sheets of each stamp off the press.
Spectacular double impression.