Articles

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Civil War

Stamp Taxes on Nevada Stock Certificates: 1863-1873 — A Geographical Analysis (PDF)

By Michael Mahler

Adhesive Revenue Stamps of Nevada: 1865-1873 (PDF)

By Michael Mahler

Forged Control Handstamps on California: 1858-61, Bill of Lading and Insurance Stamps (PDF)

By Michael Mahler

This report illustrates numerous forged control handstamps on genuine unstamped remainders of the California Bill of Lading and large Insurance stamps of 1858-61. In philately, as in science, basic research sometimes has unexpected applications. Fresh from the meticulous analysis of these stamps summarized elsewhere on this page, I was taken aback by the sight of an Insurance stamp in the distinctive carmine-lake shade with “GWW” control. The stamp was undoubtedly genuine, and the control closely matched that shown in the 1940 Cabot catalog, yet my research showed that no stamps in that color had been delivered to Controller George W. Whitman! Examination revealed that the control differed noticeably from those on an array of stamps still on original documents, and was a probably a forgery struck with the die used to create the illustration in Cabot. (In the days before computers and scanners, illustrations were made with specifically designed printing dies or blocks.) Now the floodgates opened. Comparison of undoubtedly genuine controls with Cabot’s illustrations revealed two more highly recognizable differences: missing periods in the illustrations of “A.R.M.” fancy and “S.H.B” controls; and numerous “missing period” forgeries were detected in collections and dealers’ stocks. Most emanated from the holdings of the late Elbert Hubbard, who in the process of publishing his 1960 updated state revenue catalog had acquired the rights to Cabot’s catalog as well as the printing blocks used by Cabot.

Rebel States, Yankee Stamps (PDF)

By Michael Mahler

On October 1, 1862, a broad tax program designed by the United States Congress to offset the rising costs of the Union Civil War effort took effect, including a detailed schedule of documentary stamp taxes. In a stance at once consistent and paradoxical, the United States government considered these taxes payable also in the eleven “rebellious states” otherwise known as the Confederate States of America. This presentation shows, via intact stamped documents, how those taxes were collected.

This was first done directly, in Union-occupied areas, primarily within U.S. Internal Revenue collection districts established during 1862-3 in Louisiana, Tennessee and Virginia, but also in other occupied areas, as shown by examples from Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina.

The main thrust of this effort, though, came after the cessation of hostilities, when documents executed within the former Confederacy were required to be stamped retroactively. In practice, this applied only to long-lasting documents still in effect, such as deeds, mortgages, bonds, leases, promissory notes and the like. The motivation for stamping them was not so much patriotic as eminently practical: without stamps, both the instruments and any record of them were by law “invalid and of no effect”; they were thus fair game for legal challenge by any party with an interest in having them invalidated.

Here is a rich, fascinating and heretofore completely unrecognized subfield of United States Civil War era fiscal history. This presentation includes illustrations of 52 documents stamped within the Occupied Confederacy, and 47 more stamped retroactively after the war, as well as a census of all recorded examples in each of these classes.

California Bill of Lading and Large Insurance Revenue Stamps of 1858-1861

By Michael Mahler

A Census of Florida Revenue-Stamped Documents, 1862-1872 (PDF)

U.S. First Issue Playing Cards Stamps on Documents

By Kristin Patterson

Robert Schuyler’s 1853-4 Stock Fraud on the New York and New Haven Rail Road: the Paper Trail (PDF)

By Michael Mahler


Spanish American War

Cancellations on the U.S. 1898 Battleship Proprietary Issues

By Richard Friedberg

A selection of pages from the Walter Orton collection of cancellations. The scans were made by Richard Freidberg. The collection is now in Richard’s stock. His web site is on the links page.


Twentieth Century Revenues

The Bonds That Sparked the Chinese Revolution (PDF)

By Michael Mahler

Original article published in the Sep-Oct, 2008 issue of the American Revenuer. Includes an updated catalog of these issues.

New York Mortgage Endorsement, Secured Debt, and Investments Stamp Taxes, 1911-20

By Michael Mahler

There were four printings of these stamps, each in a distinct color. Earlier catalogers failed to incorporate this into their listings. Using the Stamp Record of the State Controllers, supplemented by intact stamped documents, all deliveries by the Stamp Commissioners to the Controllers — 53 of Insurance stamps, 21 of Bill of Lading — have been identified by color. The dates of first deliveries for the four printings are shown to be as follows: orange-vermilion on bluish paper, May 13, 1858; brick red on bluish paper, July 1, 1859; carmine-lake on bluish paper, March 16, 1860; vermilion on white paper, December 10, 1860.

Priced listings are proposed which classify the stamps by color and control hand stamp. These include the remainders, both with and without control, which surfaced circa 1930.


Other Revenues

U.S. Customs Baggage Stamps (PDF)

By Hermann Ivester

Connecticut Revenue Stamped Paper (PDF)

By Don Woodworth