R82c $2.00 Mortgage Stamp, Pacific Mail Steamship Co, ALASKA x3



A very rare example of the $1 Third Issue Revenue stamp displaying three strong blue ALASKA cancels reading down.

Some of the most popular revenue cancels are those of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, founded April 18, 1848, as a joint stock company under the laws of the State of New York by a group of New York City merchants, William H. Aspinwall, Edwin Bartlett, Henry Chauncey, Mr. Alsop, G.G. Howland and S.S. Howland. These merchants had acquired the right to transport mail under contract from the United States Government from the Isthmus of Panama to California awarded in 1847 to one Arnold Harris.

Some collected data about the steam­ships of the P. M. S. S. Co. may be of interest to those collectors of the straightline cancels of this company. To recap briefly, the company had four fleets of ships in addition to those used in local ship lanes on the Pacific coastal trade. The Atlantic line, be­tween New York and Aspinwall, Col.; the Pacific line, between San Francisco and Panama, Col.; the China line, be­tween San Francisco, Yokohama and Hongkong; and the Shanghai branch line between Yokohama and Shanghai…All ships are wooden sidewheelers. – Ships of the Pacific Mail S. S. Co., H. P. Shellabear, M.D. The American Revenuer, October 1962


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the federal government still had not paid the $2.7 billion debt it had acquired until 1883, at which time it finally repealed the excise tax.

Additional information

Catalog Number







dark red


Thin Paper


Dec. 12, 1862


straight-line handstamp x3

Catalog Value