Revenue Stamps

Revenue Stamp collecting has a long history in the United States. The “Boston “Revenue book (so called because it was published by the Boston Philatelic Society in 1899) was the culmination of years of research on the Civil War revenue stamps and the private die revenue stamps of the Match and Medicine companies of the late nineteenth century (patent medicine companies were permitted to produce their own advertising labels that could be used on their bottles instead of government revenues to indicate tax paid status). When Maurice Apfelbaum, our founder, began selling stamps in 1910, Revenue stamps were a large proportion of his business. Indeed, most collections from that period contained quantities of revenues.

This was true for major European collections as well as US philately. Few collectors would boast any completeness without a comprehensive showing of revenues. But times have changed. Today, US revenue collecting is still popular but not nearly to the extent that is was a century ago. The revenues of France and Colonies, a field at least as interesting as US revenues (and with stamps just as nicely engraved) has been reduced to comparatively few collectors. And its been years since I’ve seen a nice collection of German and area revenues, from which there are thousands of collectible varieties.

Those of us who believe that collector’s passion for their collecting object is unlimited are probably wrong. There is a limit to the number of varieties that most collectors will entertain as the upward number in their collections. Approach this and they begin to narrow the criteria of the search. Thus as new issues proliferated and new countries began issuing stamps, postal stationery, cut squares and then Revenues began to drop out of most collections.

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