Original 1877 SPECIAL TAX STAMP TOBACCO Certificate


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For sale is a 1877 SPECIAL TAX STAMP MANUFACTURER TOBACCO certificate, number E51689. This stamp is signed by the tax collector who possessed it. Stores had to buy an annual tax stamp from the US IRS at the cost of $5.00 in order to sell tobacco. One of the 12 spaces on the left side of the certificates was punched at sale to represent the month the tax was paid. Tobacco and alcohol excises provided nearly 50% of the federal tax revenues by the 1890s. This certificate measures 14 1/2″ x 7″. Each certificate has a watermark which can be seen if the paper is held up to the light. These certificates are sometimes referred to as the world’s biggest stamp.

Lady Liberty is engraved on each stamp. She’s seated next to a keg of hard liquor and a box of cigars and appears ready to get her drink on. The American eagle is nearby and is glancing at her in a disapproving manner.

The federal government changed the color of the paper for the tax stamp each year to help identify stores with expired certificates. They were engraved and printed by the Bureau Engraving & Printed and the bottom was printed to read: “SEVERE PENALTIES are imposed for neglect or refusal to place and keep this Stamp conspicuously in your
establishment or place of business”.

This tax stamp certificate is unused (not sold to a merchant) and thus the State tax collector punched holes through the unsold stamp to void it.

Weight 1 lbs
Dimensions 14 × 11 × 1 in