Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Newspaper and Periodical Stamps

The Web site has an interesting article about "back of the book" newspaper and periodical stamps.

According to author Craig Whitford in the early 1860s most newspapers were sent in bundles on trains and by steamboat for local distribution by dealers.

Craig writes, "...newspapers moved so slowly through the mail that the publishers and news dealers found it faster and cheaper to send their papers by other methods, and avoid the red tape of the postal system."

In 1865,the Post Office Department attempted to gain back some of the newspaper business from private companies and introduced newspaper and periodical stamps as an accounting tool to preclude unscrupulous agents from pocketing the fees.

The use of newspaper and periodical stamps was discontinued in 1898. At that time the stamps were devalued and those in the hands of postmasters were ordered returned for credit according to Craig.

Many of the issues are quite common in "Mint, Post Office Fresh" condition, while finding stamps which have been canceled and are attached to their receipt stubs are quite scarce if not rare.

Shown above, some early newspaper and periodical stamps including the twenty-five cent "Giant Red" which was the first U.S. postal issue to depict President Abraham Lincoln.

To read the entire article, click here.

For more on newspaper and periodical stamps along with closeup photos, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM