Revcollector anticipated the story a bit and mentioned the tax paid revenues Continental
was producing. Perfet lead in
They are actually the starting point for the story I intend to tell you.
In 1868 the Continental
Bank Note Co. had a contract with the Department of the Treasury to produce some tax paid revenue stamps. Here are some of the engraved designs they were using for tobacco and snuff stamps. These were in regular production.
However, in the first quarter of 1869 it was already becoming apparent that the designs the National Bank Note Co was using for its new series of postage stamps (the Pictorials) were going to fail, so Continental
quickly modified some of their tax paid revenues into postage stamp essays
, in an effort to win away the contract. The first large numeral
essay now listed in Scott is the initial transitional stage from a proposed 1 pound manufactured tobacco stamp design, later used on the 32 ounce snuff stamp pictured here. They removed the framing decoration around the numeral
and replaced the vignette with one of Washington. The lettering for the figures of value were removed. The mutilated essay in the right surfaced in 2010 and in the 2011 Specialized
was the listing copy for this design as 145-E1.
However, a year later an intact version (below left) also surfaced and it
is now the catalog listing piece. So far these are the only two known of this essay die state.
The next state of the die produced what up until 2011 used to be 145-E1, but it is now called 145-E1C (right). This is the full design for the only one cent so far known for this series. The lettering which had been in the numeral
is now replaced, and intricate framing details have been added outside the numeral
Here is a closer look at the rather remarkable details of this design. The Washington vignette is a cameo portrait and is but the center of a theme recalling the American revolution of 1776. All the rose engine work inside the numeral
from the tax paid revenue has been preserved, and this is flanked by columns of stars and acanthus decoration around the initials for the United States. The entablature around the vignette now specifies "U.S. Postage," and the words "ONE CENT".
Though most of the surviving material has been cut down in various degrees to what we usually see on the market, a small handful of the full sized essays
for this series still exist. They are maked in their upper right corner with a handstamp identifying the "Continental
Bank Note Co. New York" as the source, and bearing the date Dec. 30 1869. This puts them right in the time frame for when National was ordered to redesign the postage stamps for release in 1870.