4c Proprietary general issue revenue stamp plate proof
In 1875, the Bureau of Internal Revenue awarded the printing contract for revenue stamps, previously held by Joseph R. Carpenter, to the National Bank Note Company. National Banknote prepared a new series of proprietary stamps, commonly referred to as the "second proprietary issue," in 1-cent, 2-cent, 3-cent, 4-cent, 5-cent, and 6-cent denominations. The stamps were issued between October 1875 and the termination of proprietary taxes on July 1, 1883. Imposed to finance the Civil War, the proprietary taxes applied to items such as matches, proprietary medicines, and perfumes.
Three printers produced the second issue proprietary stamps. The National Bank Note Company produced the stamps from1875 through February 1879, when that company consolidated with the American Bank Note Company. American Bank Note held the printing contract until October 1880, when the Bureau of Engraving and Printing assumed responsibility for the production of proprietary stamps. In 1881, the Bureau added a 10-cent denomination proprietary stamp to the series.
Between November 1, 1875, and June 2, 1883, 43,621,245 proprietary stamps were issued in the 4-cent value. The National Bank Note Company printed this 4-cent red brown plate proof on India paper. National Bank Note, American Bank Note, and the Bureau of Engraving and Printing each produced die proof impressions of this stamp in the issued color and trial colors.
Turner, George T., Essays and Proofs of United States Internal Revenue Stamps: A compilation with relative prices, 1974: Bureau Issues Association, Inc., Arlington, MA.
Toppan, G.L., H.E. Deats and A. Holland. 1899. An Historical Reference List of the Revenue Stamps of the United States. Boston: Boston Philatelic Society. Reprinted as The Boston Revenue Book. Lawrence, MA: Quarterman Publications, 1979.