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Lovely Pair Of Illegal Use Revenue Documents

 
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Posted 11/29/2020   8:25 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add revenuecollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
This pair of documents appeared together on eBay last week. I put in a snipe, somewhat fearful of what the lot might go for, but I guess people were busy or missed it, as the lot ended up finishing nowhere near what I expected.

It's a pair of drafts from the National Black River Bank in Proctorsville, Vermont, each with a 2-cent postage stamp used illegally as a revenue stamp, tied with handstamp cancel. One went through uncaught, whereas the other one was caught at the bank where submitted, the National Exchange Bank in Boston, where a revenue stamp was subsequently affixed and hammered by a bold boxed handstamp cancel.

The added bonus being that both documents are dated July 1, 1898, the first day of the tax.

Wonderful contrasting pair of first day, illegal use documents.

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Posted 11/29/2020   9:13 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add m and m to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
nice find.
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Posted 11/30/2020   07:40 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Dianne Earl to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Great find

Dianne
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Posted 11/30/2020   08:17 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add therevenueman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A nice find indeed.
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Posted 11/30/2020   12:47 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ericjackson to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What a wonderful find. Congratulations!
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Posted 11/30/2020   3:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revenuermd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, a wonderful find.

I continue to refrain from calling these illegal uses, because there is no evidence that any of these were ever prosecuted. There was a penalty for tax evasion. Rather they were tolerated, because they could not build the case that anyone was trying to EVADE the new tax. Rather, I continue to call these Improper Uses, in some cases out of ignorance or simply because the proper stamps were not readily at hand.
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Ron Lesher
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Posted 11/30/2020   7:33 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In all candor I frequently will use both "improper" and "illegal" when referring to them just because "illegal/improper" is cumbersome. I tend to use the term "illegal" more often, simply because that was the term I was taught when first encountering these usages.

Were they really "tolerated" though? If they were caught, proper tax was frequently then assessed, as in the case of the first document. "Not heavily scrutinized" may be more accurate.

It's similar to revenue stamps used for postage on cover. If caught (or recognized as not being valid postage), they were typically held for postage due, but many made it through unscathed.
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Edited by revenuecollector - 11/30/2020 7:35 pm
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Posted 11/30/2020   9:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revenuermd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Dan,

In the case of the mail, if a revenue stamp was caught on an envelope, it was assessed a penalty. Double the rate in the Spanish-American War Era. To the best of my knowledge, there is no example of prosecution and a fine assessed (there was a prescribed fine!) for the attempt to evade the tax. That is why I prefer improper and not illegal for the postage used as revenue. Yes, a few banks corrected those situations when caught (and your examples are the exception and these are very delightful), but there is no government involvement in the correction. And I believe the vast majority of the postage used as revenue were never caught. In any case the government never intervened and prosecuted.
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Ron Lesher
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Posted 12/01/2020   07:01 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add m and m to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
most uses would have been accidental or philatelic with no attempt at evasion.
the most likely reason why no prosecution was they got the revenue, even if not credited to the right department. the cost involved also would have been a factor.
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Posted 12/01/2020   07:42 am  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
most uses would have been accidental or philatelic with no attempt at evasion.


I disagree with respect to philatelic. The majority of 1898 tax illegal/improper usages come from non-urban areas at the beginning of the stamp tax period, areas likely to have revenue stamps in short supply or not yet arrived. Contrived/philatelic usages are even less common in Civil War era material than 1898 period.

I think you see FAR more philatelic creations with revenue stamps used as postage on cover than postage stamps used as revenues on documents. Yes, they exist, but not in great numbers IMO. From personal experience, I would put the populations (in general) as Accidental > Evasive >> Contrived... of course one frequently cannot tell 100% for certain what the motivation was.
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Posted 12/01/2020   09:32 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add m and m to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
i agree overall, but collectors are collectors. I do not do not doubt evasion existed but I do not think it was widespread or organised. lack of stamps was definitely a factor. to the public 2 cents was 2 cents.
for the civil war period I doubt seriously that philatelic uses occurred. reuse evasion and ignorance followed by error would be my view point.
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Posted 12/01/2020   09:56 am  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Not to be pedantic, but isn't reuse a form of evasion as opposed to a separate category?

That's where some of the documents with multiple bisects on a single transaction come into play. I don't consider them to be valid bisects as they weren't created to pay a specific rate for which they did not have stamps. Rather, it was an attempt to evade the tax by reusing uncancelled portions of stamps.

For example:

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