For sale is an original 1873 FIRST NATIONAL BEEHIVE BANK CHECK from Germantown, Ohio. This check is made payable to George Shonk in the sum of $32.70 and is dated November 14, 1873. The design of the check features a graphic of a forest and a beehive. The check includes an 1871 two Cent George Washington Internal Revenue Tax Stamp, an #R135 type orange & black colored stamp. A great ephemera collectible.
To pay for the civil war, the Revenue Act of 1862 created a tax on virtually every document along with proprietary items including matches, perfume, and medicine. Each of the taxable items required a Proprietary stamp with the denomination based on the article’s retail price. Failure to use a stamp on a document was punishable by a $50 fine and having the document declared invalid. Purchase of the Revenue stamps amounted to the prepayment of the applicable tax. After placing the tax stamp on a required document, the purchaser who used the stamp was required to cancel the stamp by writing the date and initialing the stamp. The majority of the taxable documents that spurred tax collections were bank checks.
Butler and Carpenter of Philadelphia was awarded the printing contract scarcely two months before the law was to go into effect. Each First Issue Revenue stamp features the same portrait of George Washington, which is based on a work by Gilbert Stuart. Between 1862 and 1869, Butler and Carpenter printed Revenue stamps on “old paper.” A catch-all phrase, “old paper” is actually a number of different papers that share certain characteristics: they’re grayish-white, thin, unwatermarked, and brittle. These traits were intentionally chosen as they allowed the paper to hold ink well. “Old paper” was in use until 1869. To combat the fraud, a Second Issue was ordered with new designs and ink colors. The stamps were printed on a patented “chameleon” paper containing silk fibers.