William Cochrane reprints an article that appeared in the October 1, 1872 issue of The Stamp Collector’s Magazine (UK) on the Philatelic Database website about poisoned postage stamps.
The story recently appeared in a recent French newspaper according to Cochrane, "...and was doubtless originally translated from some American journal. We translate it back into English, and give it for what it may be worth."
Supposedly a doctor in New Hampshire received a letter from someone he knew. In it were two postage stamps and a request for a prompt reply to an address in New York.
"The doctor, thinking he had unearthed a client, wrote off instantly the required reply, and stuck on the envelope one of the stamps he had received," ...so the story goes.
"But no sooner had he pressed his tongue across the gummed back of the stamp than he felt a sudden qualm. He immediately tried his pulse, looked at his tongue in the glass, listened to his own breathing, and set down in writing the following diagnostic: 'Mysterious sensation of lassitude; convulsive beating of the heart; difficulty in breathing; general disturbance of the system.” Having thus 'diagnosticated,' the doctor called for his wife, and said to her, “My dear I have poisoned myself with this postage stamp.”
His wife did not believe him so he told her to lick the other stamp and "was immediately seized with the same symptoms as those of her husband, but of a much more violent character."
For the rest of the story, click here.