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Winchester Discounts

1884 5c Postage Due - red brown - U.S. # J18

1884 5c Postage Due - red brown - U.S. # J18


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The 1884 5c Postage Due Stamp in red-brown stands as a testament to the evolution of postal services in the late 19th century. Postage Due stamps, introduced in 1879, marked a significant departure from traditional stamps as they did not prepay for mail delivery but instead indicated the amount of postage owed by the recipient for insufficiently prepaid mail.

Designed with functionality in mind, these stamps featured large numerals denoting the amount due, maintaining a consistent design for twenty-five years. While the colors varied from brown to red-brown to deep red, the basic design remained unchanged since their debut by the American Bank Note Company in 1879.

In 1894, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing assumed responsibility for producing Postage Due stamps, introducing subtle design changes such as featuring the numeral in a diamond shape rather than an oval.

Further refinements occurred in subsequent years, including the transition to featuring numerals in a half-circle format in 1930, followed by a shift to a horizontal layout in 1931. Despite these changes, the stamps retained their utilitarian aesthetic.

A notable milestone was reached in 1959 with the introduction of two-color printing for Postage Due stamps, enhancing their visual appeal with a carmine rose border and background complemented by black numerals. Additionally, new denomination values were introduced.

Sadly, the era of Postage Due stamps came to an end in 1985 when they were discontinued by the Postal Service, marking the conclusion of an important chapter in postal history. Nonetheless, these stamps remain valuable collectibles, offering a glimpse into the evolution of postal systems and the intricate world of philately.


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