Notes from the Past

1865 Revenue Experiment

Even during civil War days the government was aggravated by the cleaning and fraudulent re-use of revenue stamps, and experiments were conducted regularly toward the production of stamps that would withstand efforts to recondition them again after a prior usage.  I have recently seen an interesting item in this category.  This was the $15 blue, "Mortgage," of the first issue, of 1862, printed on a very heavy paper, -- fully perforated in the correct gauge, 12, and gummed.  The whole face of the stamp however was coated with a shellac and the stamp inscribed in pen and ink, "Cancelled B & C Nov. 23, '65."  "B & C" of course were the initials of Butler and Carpenter, Philadelphia, Bank Note engravers who then held the contract with the government to furnish the revenue stamps.  The stamp described was, apparently, just another trial effort to prevent the re-use of the stamps, but whatever they were aiming for in this instance was not adopted.
- George B. Sloane
Sloane's Column
July 11, 1953

Posted September 11, 1999

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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