R3c 1 cent Proprietary first issue revenue stamp MH


Civil War era, First Issue

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as the federal government still had not paid the $2.7 billion debt it had acquired until 1883, at which time it finally repealed the excise tax.

Tax duties include:

  • Agreement
  • Bank check
  • Bill of lading
  • Bond
  • Certificate
  • Charter party
  • Contract
  • Conveyance
  • Entry of goods
  • Foreign exchange
  • Inland exchange
  • Lease
  • Life insurance
  • Manifest
  • Mortgage
  • Passage ticket
  • Playing cards
  • Power of attorney
  • Probate of will
  • Proprietary
  • Surety bond

Additional information

Scott Number



F mint hinged, original gum




thin paper

Number Issued

The total number issued up to Aug 31, 1871 was 429,230,729

First Issued

First printed Sept 11, 1862. First delivered to Dep't. Sept. 27, 1862.



Scott Catalog Value