Card Proofs of the
19th Century

By Greg Waldecker

Presented to the Tidewater Virginia Stamp Club
February 10, 2015

Special Delivery Issues
American Bank Note Company (ABNC)

Along with the regular issues, the Special Delivery stamps were created as card proofs at the same time. The color for Scott E3 was decreed by the USPOD as a measure to prevent confusion with the one cent Columbian stamp and was issued as part of the Columbian Exposition series of stamps.48   It is sometimes referred to as the sixteenth stamp of the series.

Scott Number Denomination Color Year
E1P4 Ten cents Blue 1885
E2P4 Ten cents Blue 1888
E3P4 Ten cents Orange 1893
Scott 230P4 
Deep Blue
Scott 232P4 
Scott 233P4 
Postage Due Issue
American Bank Note Company (ABNC)

As was the case with the Special Delivery stamps, card proofs for the Postage Due issues were prepared as part of the card proof sets and prepared at the same time as the regular postage issues.

Postage due stamps were required by USPOD order beginning in 1879 to ensure the accountability of monies collected when postage was not prepaid and thus collected when delivered. Prior to the mandatory use of postage due stamps, “…there was nothing, beyond the honesty of the postmaster, to insure its delivery to the government.”49  

There are three series, distinguished by color. This first series was printed in brown. Printing is determined by thickness of card. Anyone wishing more information on this is referred to Greg Vaupotic’s article “Thickness of the Cardboard Proofs by Printing” which appeared in the January 2003 issue of the United States Stamp Society journal.

The following is provided for the 1879 issue:

Scott Number Denomination Color
J1P4 One cent Brown
J2P4 Two cents Brown
J3P4 Three cents Brown
J4P4 Five cents Brown
J5P4 Ten cents Brown
J6P4 Thirty cents Brown
J7P4 Fifty cents Brown
Scott J1P4 
Scott J2P4 
Scott J3P4 
Scott J4P4 
Scott J5P4 
Scott J6P4 
Scott J7P4 
Postage Due Issue
American Bank Note Company (ABNC)

The second issue of Postage Due stamps is distinguished from the other two series by its color. This is a red brown color and of the same design as the other two issues of card proofs.

The following information is germane to this issue:

Scott Number Denomination Color
J15P4 One cent Red Brown
J16P4 Two cents Red Brown
J17P4 Three cents Red Brown
J18P4 Five cents Red Brown
J19P4 Ten cents Red Brown
J20P4 Thirty cents Red Brown
J21P4 Fifty cents Red Brown
Scott J15P4 
Red Brown
Scott J16P4 
Red Brown
Scott J17P4 
Red Brown
Scott J18P4 
Red Brown
Scott J19P4 
Red Brown
Scott J20P4 
Red Brown
Scott J21P4 
Red Brown
Postage Due Issue
American Bank Note Company (ABNC)

This final series of Postage Due stamps is of the same design as the previous two issues and distinguished from them by the color, bright claret. As with the other two series, printing is determined by thickness of the card stock used.

The following information is provided for this series:

Scott Number Denomination Color
J22P4 One cent Bright Claret
J23P4 Two cents Bright Claret
J24P4 Three cents Bright Claret
J25P4 Five cents Bright Claret
J26P4 Ten cents Bright Claret
J27P4 Thirty cents Bright Claret
J28P4 Fifty cents Bright Claret
Scott J22P4 
Bright Claret
Scott J23P4 
Bright Claret
Scott J24P4 
Bright Claret
Scott J25P4 
Bright Claret
Scott J26P4 
Bright Claret
Scott J27P4 
Bright Claret
Scott J28P4 
Bright Claret

48 Luff, p. 198.
49 Luff, 245.

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