United States Match & Medicine Stamps

Discussion in 'United States Stamps' started by Molokai, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    I recently snagged a book on Match and Medicine Stamps for a song on eBay - United States Match and Medicine Stamps – C.West. (I know, ‘When is this guy going to buy some stamps?!) Does anyone here collect them? I am full steam on Newspaper and Periodical Stamps, but the M & Ms are quite interesting!

    These belong in the Revenue Stamps category – Stamps issued by the government for taxpaying rather than postal purposes.

    There are many to collect – Matches with 183 varieties, Medicines with 350 varieties, Perfumes with 33 varieties, Playing Cards with 16 varieties and even a Canned Fruit Stamp! There are also proofs.

    Privately printed, they often meet the high quality of postage stamps. Naturally, a company wants to make their product look good and avail themselves of the extra advertising space!

    Keep in mind, there were never offered to the public so they can be quite rare. Naturally most were destroyed with the opening of the package to which they were affixed. At the time, the late 1800s, postage stamps were the in-thing and there wasn’t very much interest in the M & Ms.

    Perhaps something along these lines needs to be reinvented to raise Federal revenue? Not necessarily matches and medicines, but perhaps electronics, media, pet food (who would deny their dog for ten-cents!) and luxury items. A $5000 Sports Car revenue stamp on Hoch’s Lamborghini!

    For any bookworms out there in StampExchange Land, here is a basic bibliography on the topic:

    United States Match and Medicine Stamps – C.West

    Patent Medicine Tax Stamps – H. Holcombe

    A Census of U.S. Match and Medicine Stamps – M. Aldrich

    Reference List of U.S. Proprietary Match, Medicine and Playing-Card Stamps – Toppan/Holland

    Private Die Match Stamps - West

    Private Die Proprietary Medicine Stamps – Giffinhagen

    United States Private Die Playing Card Stamps – L. Alfano

    Of course, books on revenue stamps (lots of those!) will cover them.

    They must be reasonably popular as I see quite a few auction catalogues featuring them.

    Beer stamps also look interesting… :nailbiting:



    Hochstrasse and James-2489 like this.
  2. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    Hi Molokai,

    I collect the M&M stamps or private die stamps as I like to call them. I have gone to shows for years and always asked to see a dealers private die offerings. Over that time I have accumulated around a 160 or so. I don't have any of the expensive ones, but a nice representative group. They are a wonderful collecting niche. It's a great history lesson into the entire "patent medicine" era.
    Molokai likes this.
  3. Molokai

    Molokai Moderator Moderator

    Howdy, Hoch - That is a nice selection of them, indeed! I haven't fully read the book I purchased but will over the holidays.
  4. Hochstrasse

    Hochstrasse Moderator Moderator

    For the sake of some new members I'm reposting a link for a collection of private die stamps that is virtually complete. It really is something to see if a person is unfamiliar with the genre.
    James-2489 likes this.
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