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US Revenue Stamps

Customs Fee Stamps

Customs fee US revenue stamps were issued in 1887 by the US Internal Revenue Service for the Cashier's Office of the New York City Custom-House

The purpose of these new revenue stamps was to signify the collection of miscellaneous custom-house fees.  They were NOT UTILIZED for the collection of customs duties.

New York City Custom-House circa 1879
Located in the former Merchant's Exchange Building
at 55 Wall St. from 1863 to 1907

During the 19th Century, the Port of New York was the primary port-of-entry for foreign goods entering the United States, and as such, the Custom-House in New York City was the most important in the entire country.  By 1853, the New York City Custom-House accounted for almost 75% of the customs revenue in the United States.

The eight customs fee stamps shown above were issued in 1887.  The stamps are all engraved and rouletted 5 1/2.  They are inscribed U.S. CUSTOM HOUSE, NY / CASHIER'S OFFICE / FEES RECEIVED, and they all feature the portrait of Silas Wright, Jr.

Silas Wright, Jr. (1795-1847) was a Massachusetts-born and Vermont-raised New York lawyer and Democratic Party politician, instrumental in building the Democratic Party political-machine in the State of New York.  He served as the United States Senator from New York from 1833 to 1844.  Wright was offered the Democratic Party nomination for Vice President in 1844, but he declined the position, preferring instead to run for Governor of New York.  He served as the Governor of New York from 1845 to 1846. 

The catalog details are as follows:

  • 20 C.  (1887 - Sc. #RL1) - Dull Rose.
  • 30 C.  (1887 - Sc. #RL2) - Orange.
  • 40 C.  (1887 - Sc. #RL3) - Green.
  • 50 C.  (1887 - Sc. #RL4) - Dark Blue.
  • 60 C.  (1887 - Sc. #RL5) - Red Violet.
  • 70 C.  (1887 - Sc. #RL6) - Brown Violet.
  • 80 C.  (1887 - Sc. #RL7) - Brown.
  • 90 C.  (1887 - Sc. #RL8) - Black.

Bisected examples of the 20 C. denomination, used as 10 C. denomination stamps (Sc. #RL1b), exist on documents.  Another variety of the 20 C. denomination (Sc. #RL1c), in red, exists rouletted 7.

1888 Merchandise Entry Form
with an Example of Sc. #RL1

The use of customs fee revenue stamps was discontinued on February 28, 1918.

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