Notes from the Past

Government Stamp Imitations

The government has on occasion, but not often, sanctioned official counterfeiting of some of its postal emissions when desired for some very special purpose.  As an example of government stamp imitations, most collectors will recall at once the official counterfeits of the 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 designs, which were made up to complete the Centennial sets of 1875, when it was discovered that the original dies were no longer available.

Few, however, will think of the stamped envelope imitations shown on the posters formerly used in post office lobby displays as an incentive to the general public to use more stamped envelopes.

These posters illustrated in color a realistic set of stamped envelopes of the 1907 series, in the 1¢ and 2¢ designs.  They consisted of the 1¢ green, on a sort of buff paper, with the 2¢ carmine, on white, amber, buff and blue papers.  They were printed flat without embossing, and appear to be lithographed, with an embossing effect simulated in the portrait by a lightly sketched outline of the features, wig, etc., of the head.  The stamps are in the actual size of the originals.  In the 2¢ there are two types easily distinguished, differing in the expression of the features of the Washington portrait.  On the whole they are very well done and in cut square form closely resemble originals, so much so that many of the 2¢, particularly those on white paper, would pass unnoticed in a collection of cut squares unless closely examined.

- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
January 15, 1944
Posted October 25, 1999

Index of 507 Notes from the Past

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