Rhode Island Registered and Official Mail
Post Office Department Issue  of 1873 - Replaced by by Penalty Mail in 1879
(Scroll Down for History of Stamp Issue)

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 Executive Department and the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Justice, Navy, State, Treasury, War, and Post Office. They were issued in denominations from 1 cent to $5.00.

The Post Office Department Official Stamps were issued in denominations from 1 to 90 cents. All of the other department's official stamps have the same busts, (portraits) as regular mail issues for similar denominations. The Post Office Officials were the only issues that did not use a bust in the center vignette as shown above.

Town Cancellations on official mail, especially the 1873 issues are much scarcer than on general issues of the period.

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