I've only ever seen these pictured in books; I'd never seen one in person. So when a fellow collector offered it to me at an eminently reasonable price, I didn't hesitate.
It's a complete playing card wrapper from the Samuel Hart & Co. playing card company for their "Linen Eagle" playing cards. It features 2-cent and 3-cent Playing Cards stamps with printed script December 1863 "SH&Co." cancels. Presumably the selling price of the deck of cards increased at a later date, thus necessitating the addtiion of the 3 5-cent Playing Card stamps using a later single-line block style handstamp cancel.
This deck would have to have been priced at $1.50. That's a VERY expensive deck.
If you want to compare the value of a $1.50 Commodity in 1864 there are three choices. In 2017 the relative: real price of that commodity is $24.10 labor value of that commodity is $213.00 (using the unskilled wage) or $463.00 (using production worker compensation) income value of that commodity is $323.00 economic share of that commodity is $3,060.00
Most of the wrappers shown in Kristen Patterson's book "It's a Wrap!" from this era range from 1-cent to 5-cent rates, with the 5-cent tax rate not being uncommon. It appears that the Samuel Hart cards were more expensive than the norm, as there are 15-cent and 20-cent taxed Samuel Hart decks pictured in the book.
So I don't know that you can jump to the conclusion that the wrapper usage is contrived.
I would expect that the 3 cent and 2 cent are certainly original. The strip is a bit more difficult to prove, but since the government provided a rate one must assume that there were packs of that price available.
This a great first wrapper for your collection. As you assumed, Hart decks were more costly than others and I assume the deck originally was listed for sell for over 36c in Dec. 1863. When it was sold by the reseller sometime between Aug. 1, 1864 and July 31, 1866 at which time the deck price was over $1 and the tax was 20c. So the reseller added the strip of three 5c Playing Cards stamps to cover the tax and required cancellation on the stamps with S.H. & Co. hand stamp.
Looks legit to me. A really nice wrapper and great history.