Sale 21BP02 | Lot 51

[STAMP ACT] Stamp from the Stamp Act of 1765.

Catalogue: Rare Books, Autographs & Maps
[STAMP ACT]  Stamp from the Stamp Act of 1765.

Lot Details

Lot 51
[STAMP ACT] Stamp from the Stamp Act of 1765.
Circa 1765. An embossed stamp on blue-gray paper reading "America/II Shillings VI Pence", approximately 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 inches, fastened at its center to a slightly larger piece of clipped vellum by a small period stamped medal staple. To the verso of the vellum is affixed a printed stamp (or cypher) bearing the Coat of Arms of George III numbered "211," this stamp approximately 1 x 3/4 inches. The stamp is presented loosely at the center of an explanatory text in manuscript, likely late 19th century. The overall framed presentation 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches. Visibly well preserved, a few short tears to the later manuscript, not removed from the double-sided glass frame.

A very rare example of the blue paper stamp from the 1765 Stamp Act, one of about a dozen known. The Stamp Act required a costly "impressed duty stamp" be affixed to legal documents such as contracts and property transfers. The price of the stamp was set higher in the colonies. In America, despite a history of intense taxation, the Stamp Act was immediately opposed and fanned the flames of growing resistance. The Stamp Act was repealed by March the next year, but "taxation without representation" was cemented as at the core of the independence movement.

The blue paper stamp and face of the staple exhibit attractive detail. The white stamp on verso covers the folds of the staple holding the blue paper stamp to the vellum. This was likely intended to prevent reuse and this white stamp is considered a predecessor to the first adhesive postage stamps. Of the stamps issued during the Stamp Act, the 2-shilling 6-pence stamp was the most common, and the Smithsonian National Postage Museum notes that of about 42 extant paper stamps recorded only about a dozen are on blue-gray paper.

The Smithsonian also surmises that the few extant paper stamps were possibly a remainder after the repeal. The presentation text here reports: "A box of those stamps (each amounting to 2/6 sterling) was found in the old Houses of Parliament when they were demolished a few years since. Those specimens with others were sent out to Mr. James Brown of New York, by his brother the late Sir William Brown M.P. from South Lancashire, England." It is recorded elsewhere that a box of the stamps was located after the destruction of Parliament by fire in 1834 and was sent out from the well-known M.P. to his brother in New York, a founder of the Brown Brothers banking firm in New York, and this stamp is likely from that group. While the stamp is very rare in commerce, we trace a recent example at auction at Swann Galleries, 24 September 2020, lot 21. p. 10

See: BISHOP, JOSEPH BUCKLIN. A Chronicle of One Hundred & Fifty Years: The Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York, 1768-1918, Volume 25, 1918, p. 10.


Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Sold for $11,970 (includes buyer's premium)

Additional Notes & Condition Report

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Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Sold for $11,970 (includes buyer's premium)

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Catalogue Info

Rare Books, Autographs & Maps

Thu, Sep 23, 2021 at 10am EDT