Stamp News

Where to start a collection of U.S. Official stamps

Many collectors are working on the back-of-the book section of their U.S. collections.

In the Scott catalogs, regular postage issues are listed first. Other stamps that pay for additional fees or services are listed after the regular postage stamps and are generally referred to as back-of-the book stamps.

Official mail stamps are one of the more challenging categories of U.S. back-of-the-book stamps. The first series of Official mail stamps was issued beginning in 1873 for use by cabinet departments and the executive branch of the U.S. government. The use of this first series of Official mail stamps was discontinued on July 5, 1884.

If you are just beginning to collect this area, a good place to start is the 1¢ rose Benjamin Franklin War Department stamp (Scott O83). The Scott SpecializStampsed Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the 1¢ stamp at $240 in unused, original gum condition and $15 in used condition.

The stamp is a good buy in unused, original gum condition without faults at about 80 percent of Scott catalog value. The used stamp, nicely canceled and without faults is a good buy at full Scott catalog value.

The stamp is valued at $115 in unused, no gum condition and is a good buy at around $100.

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