Notes from the Past

Authorized Imitations.  U. S. Envelopes

To my recent notes on the forgeries of U. S. envelope designs (columns of July 2 and 16, 1949), I add these supplementary notes relative to the facsimile printings of the 1907 oval die designs which were made on order of the Post Office Department about forty years ago when this issue of envelopes was current.  These interesting and unusual items which are seen in two values, the 1¢ and the 2¢, were not produced from the regular envelope dies, but were imitations printed by lithography and, of course are without embossing.  They were lithographed in color, on a large sheet of paper, a price list used as a lobby display in post offices throughout the country to promote the sale of stamped envelopes.

They are excellent reproductions and in cut-square form would prove deceptive to many collectors.  There is a 1¢ deep manila, while the 2¢ in carmine remarkably like the original, comes in white, buff, amber, and dull blue paper.  The colored papers listed are rather good imitations of the regular issue, but the coloring is on the surface only.  They were modeled after Die A in each value and differ in the sketching of the portrait, the eyes, the wig, and the tilt of the head of Washington.  this outlining of the portrait in a faint grayish ink furnished the illusion of embossing.

It is doubtful that many of these were saved but occasionally one of the sheets will come to light when some old post office is cleaned up, usually in a small village office where the postmaster never bothered to remove or change anything once he tacked it to the wall.

- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
July 23, 1949

 Posted December 10, 1999  

Index of 507 Notes from the Past

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