R27c First Issue Revenue Stamp, 1866 Jay Cooke NY cancel
Jay Cooke & Company was a U.S. bank that operated from 1861 to 1873. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with branches in New York City and Washington, D.C., the bank helped underwrite the Union Civil War effort. It was the first “wire” brokerage house, pioneering the use of telegraph messages to confirm securities transactions with clients. The bank became overextended in the building of the Northern Pacific Railway and failed, contributing to the Panic of 1873.
In August 1862, while the American Civil War was being waged, the United States government began taxing a variety of goods, services and legal dealings. To confirm that taxes were paid a ‘revenue stamp’ was purchased and appropriately affixed to the taxable item, which would in turn pay the tax duty involved. The new stamps were printed in several colors and depicted a portrait of George Washington on all thirty denominations from one-cent to $200. The new revenue stamps were used to pay tax on proprietary items such as playing cards, patent medicines and luxuries, and for various legal documents, stocks, transactions and various legal services. The cancellation of these stamps were usually done in pen and ink, while hand stamped cancellations were seldomly used and subsequently are more rare. When the Civil War ended it did not mean an end to revenue taxes as the federal government still had not paid the $2.7 billion debt it had acquired until 1883, at which time it finally repealed the excise tax.