Philatelic and Postal History Primer
Types of Stamps - Revenue and Back of the Book Issues

Introduction//Stamp Types//Collection Types//Getting Started//Associations

Types of Stamps - Revenue and Back of the Book Issues

Revenue, Postage Due, Parcel Post, Special Delivery, and Official Stamps are referred to by collectors as "Back of the Book" issues due to their placement in the Scott's Specialized United States Catalog. Shown below are examples of Revenue, Parcel Post and Official Stamps.

Revenue Stamps are stamps that are affixed to documents, spirits, stock certificates, playing cards, tobacco, etc. to show that the required government tax has been paid. The revenue stamp illustrated on the left is the Proprietary Stamp Issue of 1862-71. The stamp shows the  private Pre-Cancel of Dr. Seth Arnold and was affixed to patent medicine bottles which were taxed by the government during this time period.

Parcel Post Stamps were only issued for a short period of time as a test of the new Parcel Post class of mail service. Beginning on November 27, 1912, the stamps were shipped to post offices offering parcel post service.

Printing of Parcel Post and Parcel Post Due stamps was halted in 1913

  (The USPS produced 12 parcel post and  5 parcel post due stamps, usable only on parcel post packages beginning on January 1, 1913 and ending on July 1, 1913. Other stamps were not usable on parcel post during this period.)

Official Stamps were authorized by Congress on March 3, 1873.  On May 1, 1879 the Official Stamps were replaced by Penalty Envelopes and were declared obsolete on July 5, 1884. 

The stamps were issued for the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Justice, Navy, State, Treasury, War  and the Executive and Post Office Departments. The stamp shown to the right is the 3 Cent Official Post Office Department issue of 1873 to 1879.

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