There was a small series of practice stamps that was used in schools and colleges in the nineteenth century to simulate the then-current usage of revenue and postage stamps. Rather than have students use actual stamps, these practice stamps were used almost daily by many of the students, and most were eventually discarded. Retaining them for a long period of time would probably be equivalent to a high school student today keeping their book reports or graded tests until they retired.
The four different values in this particular series are shown below. Note that they are all rouletted, and are in a milky blue shade.
These stamps can sometimes be found still attached to checks, envelopes, and other school classwork. Just like their real-world counterparts, they are found with manuscript, handstamp, or other cancellations. Examples of almost all business college stamps that are tied to a document of some kind are of significantly higher value than the stamps by themselves.
The marginal borders on these stamps is made up of crosshatched lines, and the text is a solid color.
I recently came across what appeared to be an example of the two cent value being used as a postage stamp on a cover. This not something that I personally have seen too many examples of, of any business college stamp.
I guess I'm not the only one that has an interest in these types of things, as the final bid was considerably more than the $9.95 starting bid. Ten different bidders, including myself, bid on this item.
Once I received it, I saw that the color of the stamp was definitely different than the milky blue types. It also appeared to be imperforate, rather than rouletted.
Hmmm, maybe this was a "new" type?
Out came the magnifying glass, and then I realized that the borders were made up of just vertical lines. And the text was not solid like on the previous set, but was, again, made up of vertical lines.
The cancellation sure looked like it tied the stamp to the cover, but I was wondering why the grid cancel at the top was on the stamp and the envelope, but the grid cancel at the bottom (the one to the right of the dated cancel) was only on the envelope.
I turned the cover upside down, and then I saw that there was a manuscript cancel in that cancellation mess on the stamp, as well. And it appeared to read "3/8/85," the same date in the Boston cancel. Finally, I realized that the black diagonal manuscript line that was between the "8" and the "85" was also
made up of vertical lines. This line is near the center of the "2."
At this point, I'm not entirely sure what I have here. Is the whole thing a fake? Are the cancels fake? Is the stamp a photographic copy of some sort? If so, why on earth would anyone take the time to create this? I don't think that there are that
many collectors of this type of material.
Or is this a discovery of a new type of this design?
Or is it something else entirely?
What do you think?
p.s. Other than some light smudge marks, the only thing on the back side of this cover is a penciled marking that seems to read, "About Miss Lowell."