Scarce Newspaper and Periodical Stamps
Own Some of America’s Greatest Stamp Rarities!
Newspaper and Periodical stamps were only in use between 1865 and 1898. Today these stamps from the past are not widely collected because they are so difficult to find. In fact we have a hard time finding enough stamps for our collectors because they were not sold to the public, but to publishers. Attached to bundles, most of the stamps were thrown away with the periodical’s wrappings – making them among America’s rarest stamps.
Because the Newspaper and Periodical stamps were issued for use on bulk packages of newspapers and periodicals, the first stamps were especially large and colorful, so they could be spotted easily by postal workers.
Elaborate designs prevented forgery and made them some of the most beautiful stamps ever issued. Many of the stamps feature full-length females with names like Freedom, Justice and Peace – references to the benefits of democracy. The figures are important symbols, as Congress felt newspapers and periodicals were important for an informed public, making a stronger democracy.
Newspaper and Periodical stamps replaced a cash system. At one point it was estimated that only one third of the money collected by postal employees was turned in. The stamps were an accounting system which kept employees honest and helped the Post Office Department profit.
In 1869, use of Newspaper and Periodical stamps ceased. Five years later, Congress authorized the usage of the stamps again, after reports from the Postmaster General that nearly two thirds of the postage collected for these publications was never turned in. A new rate was put into effect – 2¢ per pound for weekly issues, and 3¢ per pound for publications delivered less than once a week. The new stamps were also affixed to Post Office books rather than the bundles themselves, so the stamps were much smaller.
Stamp Pictures the Statue of Freedom
The Statue of Freedom, designed by Thomas Crawford, is situated at the top of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, D.C. Crawford’s statue is based on the Roman goddess of liberty and freedom, Libertas. Originally called “Freedom Triumphant in War and Peace,” Freedom carries a sword, laurel wreath, and shield with the U.S. coat of arms. The sculpture was also the basis for the design of the Statue of Liberty.
Although the nation was at war and resources were in short supply, President Abraham Lincoln insisted work continue on the U.S. Capitol Dome.
On December 2, 1863, the Statue of Freedom’s final sections were raised to a 35-gun salute. The statue was clearly visible from nearby Virginia, the heart of the Confederate States of America.
Birth Of Adolph Ochs
Newspaper publisher Adolph Simon Ochs was born on March 12, 1858, in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Ochs was born into a Jewish family that had immigrated to America from Germany in 1846. His father taught in schools in the South during the Civil War, though he supported the Union.
After the Civil War, Ochs’ family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he attended school and delivered newspapers. He began working at the Knoxville Chronicle as an office boy when he was 11. His boss there, William Rule, would become a significant influence and mentor.
In the coming years Ochs attended night school, worked as a grocery clerk and druggist’s apprentice. He then returned to the newspaper to work as a “printer’s devil,” performing various duties. When he was 19, Ochs borrowed $250 from his family to buy the failing Chattanooga Times. He made a profit in his first year as a publisher.
The following year Ochs created The Tradesman commercial newspaper and later helped found the Southern Associated press. Then in 1896, Ochs learned that The New York Times was suffering and could be bought for a very low price. So he borrowed money to purchase it, established the New York Times Company and became the paper’s majority stockholder.
With the Times, Ochs set out to “conduct a high standard newspaper, clean, dignified and trustworthy.” Subscribers appreciated knowing the latest news without the sensationalism of other papers. Ochs also lowered the price from 3¢ an issue to 1¢. These efforts helped to save the paper that was nearly shut down. Readership increased tremendously from 9,000 when he bought it to 780,000 in the 1920s. Ochs also coined the motto, “All the News That’s Fit to Print,” which remains on the paper today.
Ochs eventually moved the paper to the Times Square and was noted for his frequent opposition to William Jennings Bryan’s presidential campaign. Under Ochs’ leadership the New York Times became one of the most respected and influential papers in the United States. Ochs also introduced different weekly and monthly supplements including The New York Times Book Review and Magazine, The Annalist (financial review), The Times Mid-Week Pictorial, Current History Magazine, and The New York Times Index.
Ochs died while visiting Chattanooga on April 8, 1935.
Click here to read Ochs’ New York Times obituary.