Here's your chance to get something entirely different for your U.S. collection - a Postage Due Specimen stamp. Specimen stamps have an interesting history - postal history you'll want to have in your album. And this stamp is in nice mint condition after surviving almost 140 years! Add it to your collection today while it's still available and so affordable.
The concept of Specimen stamps was born at the 1878 Paris Congress of the Universal Postal Union (UPU). It was decided by the member countries that their postal administrations would each provide three examples of every newly issued postage stamp to all other members. The purpose was to provide a reference of each country’s valid postage issues. It was hoped this would help prevent forgeries.
As of 2018, the rule was one set of each new issue to each member country. Also 15 sets to the International Bureau, headquarters of the UPU, located in Berne, Switzerland. That makes a total of 235 sets.
Most U.S. Specimen stamps of 1851-1904 are overprinted with the word “Specimen”. Postage Due stamps issued from 1879-1884 are overprinted in small red all-capital letters. This is the type D overprint. Postage Dues after that time have a hand-stamped purple overprint in upper and lower letters, which is type E.
Read on to discover more about Postage Due stamps…
U.S. Postage Due stamps were authorized in 1879 (20 years after they were introduced in France). They were unique, since they were the first U.S. stamps issued which didn’t prepay for the delivery of mail. Instead, they denoted the amount of postage due on mail that was insufficiently prepaid. This amount was paid not by the sender, but rather by the recipient of the letter.
Designed solely for functional purposes, the stamps were plain with large numerals indicating the amount to be paid. For twenty-five years, this design remained unchanged – although the colors varied from a brown to red brown to a deep red. These first issues were printed by the American Bank Note Company and were released on July 1, 1879.
In 1894, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing took over the contract for producing the Postage Due stamps, and the design changed slightly. While the early issues featured the numeral in an oval, these new releases had the value figure in a diamond.
In 1930, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing changed the designs so the numerals were featured in a half-circle. The following year, the Bureau changed the format of some of the stamps slightly – a horizontal format was used as opposed to the previous vertical one. The design remained the same.
In 1959, Postage Due stamps were printed in two colors for the first time. The designs on these issues were similar to the 1930-31 stamps. However, the border and background were printed in carmine rose, while the numerals were printed in black. In addition to the color change, new values were used. In 1985, Postage Due stamps were discontinued by the Postal Service and are now obsolete.
Now you know all about Postage Due stamps and Specimen stamps. A perfect background for owning a Postage Due Specimen stamp. Order yours today!