Card Proofs of the
19th Century

By Greg Waldecker

Presented to the Tidewater Virginia Stamp Club
February 10, 2015

Newpaper Issues

One area where the USPOD suffered losses of revenue was from the delivery of newspapers and periodicals. Then, as now, the publisher would have to deliver the newspapers or journals to the USPOD, have them sorted, then transported and finally delivered. The express companies and other private enterprises involved in the delivery of such material was far more expedient. Through Congressional action, in a bill approved on March 3, 1863, which provided specific authorization for such matters, USPOD was able to reclaim this stream of income. It wasn’t until the end of the Civil War, however, before this became a general practice. On November 15, 1865, the Postmaster General announced the preparation of stamps for this purpose.52 

From the standpoint of the collector, this has to be the most difficult series of stamps in the card proof – and stamp – area. The colors, even on the card proofs, are very similar. In the case of the 1879 card proofs, the ink is fugitive, meaning they cannot be allowed to become wet in any way.53  The very close colors of the twenty-five cent stamps of the 1865 issue were a challenge, as were the lower values in black for the 1875 versus 1879, and the rose versus red versus carmine issues of 1875, 1879 and 1885, respectively.

Newspaper - First Issue

The following information is provided for this series:

Scott Number Denomination Color
PR2P4 Ten cent Green
PR3P4 Twenty-Five cents Orange Red
PR4P4 Five cents Blue

There were no card proofs created of PR1; instead, the card proof for that denomination is PR4P4.

Scott PR2P4 
Scott PR3P4 
Orange Red
Scott PR4P4 

51 Snee, p. 766.

Newspaper - First Issue Reprints

The following information is provided for this series:

Scott Number Denomination Color
PR5P4 Five cent Dark Blue
PR6P4 Ten cents Deep Green
PR7P4 Twenty-Five cents Dark Carmine Red

This is an original envelope which was used to package the proofs of the 1865 Newspaper and Periodical stamps. Although given the date for the stamps from which the proofs were created, all of these card proofs were created between 1873 and 1895. These envelopes were used to house the proofs for sale to the public. Inside would be the three proofs of this issue. These envelopes are scarce as most were discarded once the proofs were mounted in the collector’s albums.

Scott PR5P4 
Dark Blue
Scott PR6P4 
Deep Blue
Scott PR7P4 
Dark Carmine Red

52 Luff, p. 223.
53 In my emails with Greg Vaupotic, he was kind enough to specifically warn against soaking any 1879 stamps or card proofs because of the fugitive nature of the inks.

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