The First Postage Stamps of United States

The issuance of postage stamps was one of the great technological and commercial innovations of the nineteenth century. Postage stamps allowed easy prepayment of postage and reduced postal labor costs enormously as each letters no longer needed to be weighed and paid for separately as it came in. But bureaucracies are slow to change and it was five full years after Great Britain issued the Penny Black that the first postal entity in the United States-the New York Post Office-issued the first United States Postage stamp in 1845. It is designated by Scott a Postmaster Provisional and it was for use only on letters going from New York. The design will seem familiar. It looks very similar to the design of the 10c general issue stamp (Scott #2) that was issued by the United States Post Office two years later. As with most classic philately, the fewer issues a particular area has to collect the more likely collectors are to find varieties worth collecting on the stamps at hand. There are numerous paper and printing varieties on the New York Postmaster Provisional and the stamps were usually initialed by the postal clerks as they were sold as a control measure which also produced many additional varieties. Compared to rarity the New York Postmaster Provisional (Scott #9X1) sells for a fraction of what it would if it were a general issue United States stamp. Its popularity has also suffered from the fact that the Scott National Album, which has been the standard collecting album for United States Stamps, places them on the same page with numerous other Postmaster Provisionals that are among the great rarities of philately and which almost no collector can afford. This has inhibited most collectors from buying any stamps from that page.

Share on:
Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top