Registered and Official Mail
Post Office Department Issue
of 1873 -
Replaced by by Penalty Mail in
(Scroll Down for
History of Stamp Issue)
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,
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.
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.
Cancellations on official mail, especially the 1873 issues are
much scarcer than on general issues of the period.