This set of 23, all different, Newspaper Periodical Proofs (1875-85) is a neat addition to your collection at an amazing price.
Essays are designs for stamp vignettes, stamp borders, or both combined, that were never approved and used in the final printing of a stamp. Even though a design is finally adopted with only slight modifications, it is still an "essay". To attain the status of a proof, a proposed design, or essay, must be exactly like the issued stamp for which it was submitted.
All U.S. stamps were made by private bank note companies from 1847 to 1894. Essays and printing bids were submitted by those firms. As early as 1851, the U.S. Post Office Department established a policy of advertising for stamp proposals to be accompanied by essays, or examples of the stamps to be furnished. After the bids were opened, an Expert Committee was asked to rule on the designs, colors and paper.
PR9P4 - PR23P4, 15v
PR26P4 - PR31P4, 6v