Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Solo R161 On-Document Usage

United States Casualty Company Limited Travel Accident Policy
Dayton, Ohio August 16,1898

We previously mentioned the existance of this document when conducting a census of on-document usages of R161, the 1/2-cent orange documentary issue. Now, courtesy of Bob Mustacich,we're pleased to show it. Actually it is just one of two reported solo usages of R161. The other five reported on-document usages all are in combination with other stamps.

The need for a 1/2-cent documentary issue resulted from the one-half cent tax per dollar of premium paid on accident, fidelity,and guarantee insurance policies. R161 usages are rare because it was in use for only a short period of time. Because its color so closely matched that of the 3/8-cent proprietary stamp, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing discontinued printings of the 1/2-cent orange after just two days(the exact total printed is unknown) and changed its color to gray. Proper usages of the subsequent gray 1/2-cent issue, R162, aren't exactly common either; but they are not nearly as scarce as the orange variety.

Unlike many travel accident policies that were good for just one-day, or were trip specific, this one covered Chas R. Boes (who also cancelled the stamp)of Dayton, Ohio for a full year; although the death benefit was only $750, much less than the $5,000 that was typical for most single day policies.

Reverse Side of Policy

The census of on-document usages of R161, the 1/2-cent orange documentary, stands at seven reported documents. If you can add an additional usage please contact us, with scans if possible, at

NOTE: Bob Mustacich , along with Tony Giacomelli, authored The Battleship Desk Reference: A Study Of Proprietary Battleship Revenue Stamps And Their Cancellations. It's an invaluable guide for anyone interested in the proprietary issues. For more information visit Bob's website.

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