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U.S. Revenue stamps - Proprietary, Match, Medicine and Private Die issues

Proprietary stamps

Early series

Scott RB1a, 1, plate number 1C

Scott RB1b, 1, used, plate number 1C

Scott RB1P, 1¢ proof, plate number 1B

Scott RB1P5, 1¢ proof on bond, plate number 1B

Scott RB2a, 2, plate number A3

Scott RB2P4, 2¢ proof on card, plate number A3

Scott RB3, 3¢, straddle plate number 13

Scott RB3P3, 3¢ proof on India paper, plate number 18

Scott RB4a, 4, plate number 7B

Scott RB4P, 4¢ proof, plate number 7A

Scott RB4P3, 4 proof on India paper, plate number 7B

Scott RB4P4, 4¢ proof on card, plate number 7B

Scott RB6a, 6¢, plate number 12

Scott RB7P4, 10 proof on card, plate number 4

Scott RB11a, 1, plate number 4

Scott RB11b, 1, plate number 4

Scott RB11c, 1¢, plate number 4

Scott RB12b, 2, plate number 6

Scott RB13b, 3¢, plate number 7

Scott RB14b, 4, plate number 12

Scott RB16a, 5¢, plate number 11

Scott RB16P3, 5¢ proof on India paper, plate number 11


Battleship series (1898)

Scott RB20, 1/8, plate number 8135

Scott RB20p, 1/8, plate number 11911

Scott RB20r, 1/8, rouletted, plate number 8265

Scott RB21, 1/4, plate number 7962

Scott RB21p, 1/4, plate number 11199

Scott RB21r, 1/4¢, plate number 7981

Scott RB22, 3/8, plate number 7979

Scott RB22p, 3/8, plate number 9414

The plate number is inverted -- the bottom of the plate number should be toward the stamp image as on all other issues.

Scott RB23, 5/8, plate number 9357

Scott RB23p, 5/8, plate number 11448

Scott RB23, 5/8¢, plate number 8061

Scott RB24, 1 green, plate number 7928

Scott RB24p, 1 green, plate number 11594

Scott RB24r, 1, plate number 7928

Scott RB25, 1-1/4, plate number 8046

Scott RB25p, 1-1/4, plate number 11444

Scott RB25r, 1-1/4, plate number 8044

Scott RB26, 1-7/8, plate number 8375

Scott RB26p, 1-7/8, plate number 8365

Scott RB27, 2¢, plate number 7945

Scott RB27p, 2, plate number 9464

Scott RB27p var, 2¢, plate number 12078 with negative offset (Image courtesy of Eric Jackson)

Scott RB27r, 2, plate number 7956

Scott RB28, 2-1/2¢, plate number 8021

Scott RB28p, 2-1/2, plate number 9400

Scott RB28r, 2-1/2, plate number 8047

Scott RB28a, 2-1/2¢, imperforate horizontally error, plate number 8021 (Image courtesy of Robert Siegel Auction Galleries, Inc.)

Scott RB29, 3-3/4, plate mumber 8363

Scott RB29p, 3-3/4, hyphen-hole perf 7, plate number 8357

Scott RB29r, 3-3/4, plate number 8357

Scott RB30, 4¢, plate number 7944

Scott RB30p, 4¢, plate number 9441

Scott RB30r, 4, plate number 7949

Scott RB31, 5, plate number 8014

Scott RB31p, 5, plate number 9439


Brown Numerals (1911)

Scott RB32, 1/8¢, hand-entered plate number 267

Scott RB34, 3/8¢, hand-entered plate number 266 (without "PL")

Scott RB35, 5/8¢, plate number 388

Scott RB36, 1-1/4, pair with hand-entered plate number 269

Scott RB44, 1/8, hand-entered plate number 267

Scott RB45, 1/4¢, hand-entered straddle plate number 260

Scott RB48, 5/8, plate number 268

Scott RB50, 1-1/4¢, hand-entered straddle plate number 269

Scott RB51, 1-1/2, hand-entered straddle plate number 256

Scott RB54, 2-1/2, hand-entered straddle plate number 270


Blue Numerals

Scott RB65, 1, straddle plate number 3623

Scott RB66, 2, plate number 9783

Scott RB67, 3, plate number 4786

Scott RB68, 4, plate number 3720

Scott RB69, 5, plate number 4007

Scott RB71, 10, plate number 3926

Scott RB73, 40¢, pair with straddle plate number 3770


Semi-Private Proprietary stamps

The law requiring the use of the "battleship" proprietary stamps took effect July 1, 1898. The stamps had not yet arrived at the Binghamton, NY, revenue office, home of one of the largest mailers of proprietary medicines, Dr. Kilmer & Co., by the deadline for their use. The Kilmer company was unable to persuade local revenue agents to allow them to ship their goods and pay the taxes by sworn statement and a lump sum, and no other source for the required revenue stamps was available. Faced with huge losses if their goods could not be shipped, or huge penalties if they shipped the goods without the required tax stamps, Kilmer improvised by overprinting the 1, 2 and 3 regular postage issues of the day with one of two types of private overprints - in effect, creating "semi-private" proprietary stamps. The overprints are on the 1 green Franklin, Scott 279; 2 carmine Washington, Scott 267a; 2 red Washington, Scott 279Be; and 3 Jefferson, Scott 268.

Eight types of stamps, Scott RS307 through RS315, are known canceled with dates ranging from July 5 to July 15, 1898, after which presumably the required Battleship stamps arrived in Binghamton and were used going forward. Single examples of these overprinted proprietary stamps are rare enough in themselves; plate number material has not been seen by this writer. If you know of examples of plate number singles or blocks of these overprinted issues, please submit them to our web site so we can illustrate them for all collectors.

Private Die Match stamps

Scott RO130c, plate number 7 (Image courtesy of Eric Jackson)

Scott RO135d, plate number 52 (Image courtesy of Eric Jackson)

Scott RO176d, reversed plate number 238 (Image courtesy of Eric Jackson)


Private Die Medicine stamps

Scott RS14d, with lozenges watermark, plate number 79

Scott RS14P3, proof on India paper, plate number 79 (Image courtesy of Bill Langs)

Scott RS223b, unknown partial plate number at upper left, not listed in Durland (Image courtesy of Eric Jackson)


Emerson Drug Company, 2-1/2¢ Scott RS280d plate number 11203; 5/8¢ Scott RS281 plate number 11084;
1-1/4¢ Scott RS282 plate number 11038, and 1/4¢ RS283 plate number 11038
(Images courtesy of eBay / ckstamps)

Scott RS284r, rouletted, plate number 8807 (Image courtesy of eBay / harvard-mba)

Scott RS286p, hyphen-hole perf, plate number 8827

Scott RS286r, rouletted, plate number 8827


J. Ellwood Lee Co., complete private die medicine set from 1898-1900. 1/8¢ Scott RS290 plate number 11003;
5/8¢ Scott RS291 plate number 10977; 1-1/4¢ Scott RS292 plate number 10991; 2-1/2¢ Scott RS293 plate number 11000;
and 5¢ Scott RS294 plate number 11006 (Images courtesy of eBay / ckstamps)

Scott RS303p, hyphen-hole perf, plate number 8794 (Image courtesy of eBay / harvard-mba)

Scott RS303r, rouletted, plate number 8794 (Image courtesy of eBay / harvard-mba)

Scott RS305p, hyphen-hole perf, plate number 8839


Private Die Perfumery stamps

Scott RT2P3, 1¢ proof on India, plate number 100 (Image courtesy of Bill Langs)

Scott RT13TC3, 2¢ trial color proof on India, plate number 128 (Image courtesy of Bill Langs)

These stamps were originally printed by American Bank Note Company. When BEP took over the printing, they erased the ABNCo imprints but retained the original plate numbers even though they did not fit in the BEP plate numbering scheme.



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This page last updated November 13, 2023.