1861 US Postage Stamps

1861 Rose Pink 2¢ - #64b

3¢ - Rose Pink
Perf. 12 - Scott #64b - 1861


Used: $18-$50
No postmark with gum (MH): $200-$600
Full perfect gum, no postmark, no trace of stamp hinge mark (MNH): $1,200-$1,400


Issued: August 17, 1861. Earliest known use is August 17, 1861

A first day cover of #64b

Plate Size: Sheets of 200 subjects (2 panes of 100).

Printer: National Bank Note Co, using the flat plate printing process.

Grill: None

Quantity Issued: not known

Color: Rose Pink, a fairly common color.

Usage: First class letter rate

How the 1861 series came into being

Montgomery Blair was Lincolns Postmaster General and without doubt the most ardent supporter of the union, the most conservative member of Lincolns Cabinet. He despised the south with passion and was adamant that the south would not profit from the sale of United States stamps. In May 1861, three months after hostilities began he issued an order requiring all Southern states to return their stamps. An order that was widely ignored.

Not to be outdone PMG Blair issued on June 1, 1861, an order that no postmasters in the Southern States were authorised to sell stamps and furthermore any mail bearing stamps from those states were to be treates as unpaid. A copy of the order is shown below

Post Office Announcement of the 1861 Issue,
 setting forth by state the last dates upon which
all current U.S. stamps and stamped envelopes would be
valid for postage

This order was also widely ignored. PMG Blair was persistent, two weeks later he issued a statement that declared that he would replace the current issue with a new issue which would have different designs. That this issue would be available on August 1st and holders of the current issue would have seven days to exchange them for the new issue. After the seven days the current issue would be considered invalid for postage. The date was extended to November 1st, then to December 1st and then again to Jan 1st, 1862. By this measure PMG Blair thwarted attempts by Southern Postmasters to use US stamps. The new issue was only delivered to Union post offices.

'Old stamp no good'
A little preemptive as the stamp was valid for another two days

This last step caused a lot of controversy. Congress was not sure that he has the authority to do this. Besides the delay in the cut off date, it was found that certain post offices in MO and KY were sharing their new stock with their southern neighbours, and thus further shipments to them were curtailed. The order also neglected to mention stamped envelopes so there was a great deal of confusion as to the validity of the pre-1861 envelopes.

1861 US Postage Stamps