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Official stamps

In the 1870s, government departments lost the franking privilege. Separate series of stamps were issued for each department's use. Except for the issues of the Post Office Department, which feature only numerals, the stamps were patterned on the then-current "banknote" issues.

1873 issues, Continental Bank Note Company

Printed on thin hard paper.

Department of Justice

Offices of the Department of Justice were required to use these stamps on official mailings.

Although 1 through 90 issues were printed and the plate numbers used are known, the only reported sightings for any denomination for many years were for a plate block of 12 and a plate strip of 4 of the 10 issue. Recently, examples of specimens and proofs have emerged, many from the sale of the American Bank Note Company archives.

Scott O25SD, 1¢ Department of Justice, specimen, plate number 85

Scott O25S var, 1¢ Justice, specimen overprint on imperf proof, plate number 85

Scott O26SD, 2 Department of Justice, specimen, plate number 90

Scott O26S var, 2¢ Justice, specimen overprint on imperf proof, plate number 90

Scott O27TC3, 3 Justice trial color proof on india paper, plate number 28

Scott O27S var, 3¢ Justice, specimen overprint on imperf proof, plate number 28

Scott O28, 6 Department of Justice, plate number 77

Photographically cropped from the only known plate block.

Scott O28S var, 6¢ Justice, specimen overprint on imperf proof, plate number 77

Scott O29, 10 Department of Justice, plate number 97

Scott O29S var, 10¢ Justice, specimen overprint on imperf proof, plate number 97

Scott O30, 12 Department of Justice, top imprint pair

Scott O30S var, 12¢ Justice, specimen overprint on imperf proof, plate number 91

Scott O31S var, 15¢ Justice, specimen overprint on imperf proof, plate number 99

Scott O32S var, 24¢ Justice, specimen overprint on imperf proof, plate number 115

Scott O33, 30 Department of Justice, bottom imprint single

Scott O33S var, 30¢ Justice, specimen overprint on imperf proof, plate number 110

Scott O34S var, 90¢ Justice, specimen overprint on imperf proof, plate number 113

In 1879, the American Bank Note Company reprinted the 3¢ and 6¢ denominations on soft porous paper.

 

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This page last updated September 4, 2017.

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