Arago: General Issues

General Issues

2c Proprietary revenue stamp proof

Scott Catalogue USA: RB2P

In 1871, the United States government issued new documentary and proprietary revenue stamps to replace the 1862 "first issue" revenue stamps. The new stamps were requested due to concerns regarding reuse of first issue stamps by chemically removing the cancellation and the possibly of counterfeiting. With these revenue protection concerns in mind, the security printer then holding the printing contract for revenue stamps, Joseph R. Carpenter, prepared the "second" documentary revenue issue and the "first" proprietary revenue issue with a number of anti-counterfeiting measures. Carpenter printed the stamps using a more complex two-color process and special security paper that would react with chemicals used to remove cancellations.

Carpenter printed the first proprietary issue on "violet" paper from 1871 through 1874 and then "green" paper in late 1874 and 1875, when the firm lost the printing contract for revenue stamps to National Bank Note in 1875, and it replaced the first proprietary issue with new designs, referred to as the "second proprietary issue."

The 1871 proprietary issue consisted of ten denominations, one-cent, two- cent, three-, four-, five-, six, ten-, and fifty-cent, $1.00, and $5.00. The two-cent value had the second largest print run of any denomination in the series. Between September 2, 1871, and October 1875, an estimated 34,945,950 2-cent proprietary stamps were issued on violet paper, with an additional 6,927,148 issued on green paper. Joseph R. Carpenter printed this two-cent green and black plate proof on card.


Turner, George T., Essays and Proofs of United States Internal Revenue Stamps: A compilation with relative prices, 1974, Arlington, Massachusetts: Bureau Issues Association, Inc.

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 An Historical Reference List of the Revenue Stamps of the United States.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, Massachusetts: Quarterman Publications, 1979.

West, Christopher (Elliot Perry), The Revenue Stamps of the United States, 1979, Pacific Palisades, California: Castenholz and Sons.

c. 1871
2.7 x 2.2 cm (1 1/16 x 7/8 in.)
Museum ID:

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