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Lot #174
Stamp Act: 1765 Blue-Gray Paper Stamp

Rare blue-gray stamp from the Stamp Act of 1765, a leading cause of the American Revolution

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Estimate: $16000+
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Rare blue-gray stamp from the Stamp Act of 1765, a leading cause of the American Revolution

Exceedingly rare blue-gray paper stamp from the Stamp Act of 1765, one of about a dozen known. The embossed stamp on blue-gray paper reads "America / II Shillings, VI Pence" and is loosely laid into a sheet with manuscript description, within a window measuring approximately 1 3/8″ by 1 5/8″. The stamp is backed by vellum which bears an affixed a printed stamp (or cypher) bearing the Coat of Arms of George III numbered "211." The explanatory text reads, in part: "The Stamp Act was passed by the British Parliament, March 22d, 1765. Its object was to raise Revenue from the American Colonies…The exasperation produced by these several Acts hastened the American Revolution and Independence. A box of those stamps (each amounting to 2/6 sterling) was found in the old Houses of Parliament when they were demolished a few years since. Those specimens with others were sent out to Mr. James Brown of New York, by his brother the late Sir William Brown M.P. from South Lancashire, England." It is recorded elsewhere that a box of the stamps was located after the destruction of Parliament by fire in 1834 and was sent out from the well-known M.P. to his brother in New York, a founder of the Brown Brothers banking firm in New York; this stamp is likely from that group. In very good to fine condition, with several tears and fragile creases to the presentation sheet framing the significant stamp. According to the Smithsonian Institution's National Postal Museum, fewer than fifty of these stamps are known extant, and only about a dozen are of the blue-gray variety—the others are blue, beige, or white. The Smithsonian also reports: 'The embossed revenue stamp could be impressed upon ordinary paper; however, it was not possible to impress the stamp on vellum. Instead, for documents prepared on vellum, the revenue stamp was impressed upon either beige or dark blue paper, which had been glued and stapled to the vellum. The back of the staple was covered with a cypher bearing the Coat of Arms of George III, probably to prevent reuse of the embossed stamp. These cyphers are thought to be the inspiration for the first adhesive postage stamps.'

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Featuring Presidents
  • Dates: #658 - Ended February 08, 2023