Official Stamps

343672aOfficial stamps are stamps issued for government use. Since most postal services have always been run as government monopolies, government agencies have usually had free postage. Official stamp issues (rather than regular postal issues used by government agencies) have largely been a matter of accounting control and to prevent government workers from converting postage stamps to their personal use. The United States was among the counties that made the most use of Official stamps. Unlike Argentina and South Australia, each of which overprinted hundreds of varieties of Officials for use by each governmental department, the US issued separate stamps for each department with a total of 126 different postage stamps. Separate stamps were issued for the Departments of Agriculture, the Executive department, Interior, Justice, State, Navy, Treasury and more. All the stamps were produced at the same time as the Banknote issues of the United States by the same printers and have a similar look and feel. The paper they were printed on was a hard, bright paper that took the design well and has aged well even to this day. Thus many nice examples can be found. Take a look in your catalog. If your collecting has reached a point were there is little that you still need, try US Officials. They are attractively printed and considering their rarity quite reasonably priced.

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