An excerpt from Bob Hohertz's

United States Two-Cent Revenue Stamped Paper
The Civil War Designs
Revenue stamped paper bears the same relationship to revenue stamps as postal cards do to postage stamps. The United States Congress first authorized stamped paper in the Revenue Act of 1862 that called into being many stamp taxes, all of which are now gone, and the Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, which is still with us.

Since the Act of 1862 did not impose a tax on checks written for $20 or less, no revenue stamped paper was created. However, the limitation on taxing bank checks was subject to tax avoidance - if I owed you $40, why not write two $20 checks, perhaps dated a day apart, and pay no tax? In 1864 the amount threshold was removed; as a result there was a motivation to produce revenue stamped paper.

RN-A is a small, rectangular design with rounded corners and filigree on the sides. It was used almost exclusively on receipts, although the size would have been perfect for checks.

Used Example

Here on a receipt for shipping tin plate and sheet iron on the Hudson River Railroad in 1866. Although the tax on such receipts had been removed as of August 1 that year it may have been simpler and more economical not to turn the documents in to get a refund of the prepaid tax.

Type RN-B was the first design to be used.

This check, used by Ulysses Grant during his presidency, has both a Type B1 imprint and an adhesive revenue to pay the tax. There doesn't seem to be any reason for the adhesive, so perhaps President Grant forgot that the imprint was there.

Examples of the other major United States RN types of the era.

(See Bob Hohertz's webiste for the full story on 'Stamped Revenue Paper'.)

Type C

Type D

Type E

Type F

Type G

Type H

Type I

Type J

Type K

Type L

Type M

Type N

Type O
This is a brief look into the fascinating world of revenue stamped paper. It can be collected by type, geographic location, user, or vignette. There are imprints with higher values for certificates of deposit, bonds, stocks, agreements, insurance policies, and other documents taxed more than two cents (Scott Types RN-P through RN-W). There are facsimile designs used for a number of years after the tax was abolished.

Documentary taxes were reinstated in 1898 to assist in funding the Spanish American War. A new imprint design was used in connection with these taxes, Type RN-X.

("At some point in the near future I hope to create a website concerned entirely with the Type X imprints.")
(He took the 'Grand Award' at the Minn. Stamp Expo of July 2007 for these issues. - ed.)

And from an interview (click image), Bob notes, "I am an avid collector of parlor car tickets issued between July first, 1898, and July first, 1902, that have revenue imprints. ...

My favorite items are the tickets, and some of the beautifully engraved drafts. I have always been fascinated by the tickets and the role they played in transportation at the end of the 19th c. and the beginning of the 20th c. And the drafts are just magnificent items in themselves. ..."