12 1/2c Beer revenue stamp proof single
This is a proof of the 1/8 barrel, 12 1/2-cent Beer Stamp of the 1866 issue. The Scott number, if listed, would be REA1P4.
The Note Printing Division of the Treasury Department, precursor of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, printed the 1866 issue. It printed the stamps on white wove unwatermarked paper from plates of twenty subjects, five rows of four stamps each. A small plate number, 1.5 mm high, appeared in the center of the lower middle block of 4. The plate number used for REA1 is unknown.
The Treasury Department issued the stamps to brewers without gum or perforations. The brewers cut the stamps apart, cancelled them, and pasted them over the bung of the beer barrel so that tapping the barrel destroyed the stamp. The stamps included some circular shapes and some square. The stamps had a pattern of thirty-one small holes punched in them before issue. When tapping the barrel, the holes helped destroy the stamp.