Arago: Archer & Daly

Archer & Daly

From the Confederacy's beginning, Postmaster General John Reagan wanted to provide steel-plate printed stamps similar to those used in the United States, but he was forced to use inferior lithographed and typographed stamps during the first two years of the war. John Archer was a practical engraver and steel-plate printer formerly employed by the American Bank Note Company in New York. He was no doubt enticed to the South in 1861 by Confederate authorities. He formed a partnership with Joseph D. Daly, a wealthy and politically influential plasterer in Richmond, Virginia. Archer & Daly procured the contract to print the 5-cent stamps from the electrotype plates provided by De La Rue, Ltd., London, before creating their own engraved designs. Frederick Halpin, a skilled engraver, followed Archer to Richmond. Daly left the firm after the printing of the Type II 10-cent (Scott CSA 12), and his name was removed from the plates' imprints. In 1864, when Richmond was in danger from Union forces, the Confederate government decided to move the production of stamps and currency to a safer city farther south.