As a part time historian, I’ve been looking forward to the issue of the new Civil War commemorative stamps. The 2011 issue depicts the beginning of the war in April 1861 at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and the first major battle of the war three months later at Bull Run, near Manassas, Virginia. A souvenir sheet of two stamps will be issued each year through 2015 including four releases marking events from Antietam to Appomattox Court House. The stamp pane’s background image is a photograph dated circa 1861 of a Union regiment assembled near Falls Church, Virginia and the pane includes comments on the war by Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, and Robert E. Lee.
When I collect modern stamps that are difficult to lift or soak off envelopes, I like to get the First Day Covers. I’m not crazy about USPS’ digital color postmarks, but the black and white cancellations here are quite nice. The font used with the shield here fit well into the theme of Civil War history. I remember during the Civil War craze surrounding the PBS series that there were a lot of history books and magazines with a similar look.
I don’t personally collect revenue stamps, but I find them interesting from an anthropological perspective. The Stamp Collecting Round-Up recently featured this post, via The Anniston Star, about drug stamps and how they are popular with philatelists.
It turns out that several states issue illegal drugs stamps, some of which are quite nice. I found some of the disclaimers on Kansas’ Department of Revenue web site interesting, to say the least.
“Attach the stamp to the marijuana and/or controlled substance immediately after receiving the substance.”
“A dealer is not required to give his/her name or address when purchasing stamps and the Department is prohibited from sharing any information relating to the purchase of drug tax stamps with law enforcement or anyone else.”
While I don’t have any direct experience in this area, years ago I met a gentleman while volunteering who was serving some drug related community service time. He had mentioned the stamps in North Carolina, with the advice to buy them if you intended to deal drugs. His position was that “When you get caught…and you will get caught…they will check to see if you’ve paid your taxes. If you haven’t, you’ll have to pay the taxes and fines for not paying them.” Sound advice from a career criminal?