An Old Stamp

Late 19th century George Washington stamp.

Every time we take out a wall or remove a ceiling we find some interesting item that reveals a little bit more about the past inhabitants of the house. I found this stamp along with some other things at the bottom of the inside of a wall that we were taking out in our dining room (to the left of the chimney). I suspect that a mouse or a rat brought it there to use as nesting material before The Stovers got a chance to use it. In fact, it appears that many generations of rodents had lived happily there, possibly up until the invention of rat poison. I found both skeletal and mummified carcasses of mice inside of this wall all cuddled up in a big fluffy nest.

Wall to the left of chimney where I found the stamp.

The stamp is an unused green 3¢ George Washington stamp, and is, I believe, either an 1870 original, or a reprint from 1878 or 1881. These are all over ebay and stamp collector websites and range in value from a few dollars to $500.
I wouldn't ever sell it, but it was interesting finding something out about the history of stamps when I was looking for information on it.

According to Wikipedia, "the first stamp issues were authorized by an act of Congress and approved on March 3, 1847. The earliest known use of the Franklin 5¢ is July 7, 1847, while the earliest known use of the Washington 10¢ is July 2, 1847. Remaining in postal circulation for only a few years, these issues were declared invalid for Postage on July 1, 1851. The post office had become so efficient by 1851 that Congress was able to reduce the common rate to three cents (which remained unchanged for over thirty years), necessitating a new issue of stamps. This rate, however, only applied to prepaid mail: a letter sent without a stamp still cost the recipient five cents—clear evidence that Congress envisioned making stamp use mandatory in the future (it did so in 1855)."
The First U.S. Postage Stamps, issued in 1847
"The postage stamps issued in the 1870s and 1880s are collectively known as the 'Bank Notes' because they were produced by the National Bank Note Company, the Continental Bank Note Company, then the American Bank Note Company. After the 1869 fiasco with pictorial stamp issues, the new Postmaster-General decided to base a series of stamps on the "heads, in profile, of distinguished deceased Americans" using "marble busts of acknowledged excellence" as models. George Washington was returned to the normal-letter-rate stamp: he had played that role in the issues of 1851 and 1861 and would continue to do so in every subsequent definitive set until the Presidential Series of 1938."

Written by Kerry Baldridge

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