Get a Set of Four Civil War-era Washington Stamps
Just 14 years after the first US postage stamp appeared, civil war threatened to divide the United States. As war became certain, post offices in Southern states that seceded were asked to return their supply of US stamps for a refund. Some complied, but many did not.
If Southerners were allowed to use those stamps, the North would be forced to deliver mail without payment. The solution – make all existing US stamps invalid and issue new stamps within states that remained loyal to the Union. This also forced the South to spend precious time and resources producing its own stamps – something that would take months to do.
The new Series of 1861-62 US stamps were quickly printed and released by the Post Office Department on August 17, 1861 – less than a month after Bull Run, the first major Civil War battle. People living in the North had a short grace period to exchange existing stamp supplies for the new issues.
Each of these four Washington stamps were issued for use during the Civil War:
US #68 – While mail between the North and South decreased during the war, there was an overall increase in volume as soldiers and their families communicated with each other. The 10¢ Washington stamp satisfied the domestic first class letter rate for letters sent more than 3,000 miles. On May 1, 1861, the letter rate was 3¢ if it stayed East of the Rocky Mountains and 10¢ if it crossed them, regardless of the distance. US #68 is the first US stamp known used in Japan. In 1867, a change went into effect allowing payment of the Registry Fee with stamps. US #68 is also the first stamp known used in this manner. A pair paid the fee for a double rate letter from New York to London.
US #69 – The 1861 12¢ Washington stamp was printed in black ink, with gray black and very dark black examples known. Because of its color, cancellations don’t tend to detract from its appeal. However, the color also makes US #69 relatively easy to clean. As a result, some are known to have been cleaned, regummed, and passed as unused stamps. Mystic’s experts examine each stamp carefully and guarantee its authenticity.
US #70 – The 24¢ Washington stamps of the Series of 1861-62 were issued in a number of shades and colors that have been assigned major catalogue numbers. The red lilac 24¢ Washington has been called the scarcest of all the 1861 issues of this denomination aside from the true violet.
This issue repeats the design of the 24¢ red lilac Washington that was released January 7, 1862. The 1861-66 series stamp has a darker lilac color and was released a year later.