Vintage article from the New York Times October 2nd 1862
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  1. #1
    Nov 2012
    149 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Vintage article from the New York Times October 2nd 1862

    My thoughts on the bottom of the article:

    POST-OFFICE STAMPS AS CURRENCY. New York Times Published: October 2, 1862

    It is quite time some effective steps were taken to stop the use of postage stamps as currency. They never were fit for such a purpose, though in the absolute dearth of small change they have been of some service to the business community. But currency, to answer any good end, must have some essential value. It must either be of intrinsic worth, like metal coins, or represent somebody's credit, -- that of the Government, of a corporation, or of private individuals. The only intrinsic value of these stamps consisted in the fact that they might be used to pay postage. When people took them, they thought that they could convert them into this use at least, and that so long as letters had to go by mail they would have some value, and might therefore be safely regarded as currency.

    The Government has now stepped in to destroy this. The Post-office Department, in a circular which we published yesterday, has issued instructions to Postmasters "to treat as unpaid any letter placed in a Post-office for mailing which may be covered by a stamp at all soiled or defaced, or which has apparently been used in payment of postage." It is impossible to circulate these stamps without "soiling or defacing" them more or less; and the very fact of circulating them is thus to render them worthless. The Government, it seems to us, is perpetrating a very gross wrong upon the people, in thus repudiating its own stamps, for which it has received payment in full, on the mere pretext that they have been soiled. It is its duty to destroy the stamps after they have been used, or so to mark them as to render it impossible to use them again.

    But there is no safety to anybody in taking these stamps any longer as money. They have not the slightest intrinsic value. They are not a legal tender. They will not be redeemed by anybody. They will not even pay postage. The public might just as well make wooden buttons or pebble stones a substitute for change as these stamps. They would have just as much value, and would answer precisely the same purpose, so long as the community chose to take them. But somebody must eventually lose very largely on these postage stamps, -- and the sooner their circulation is stopped the smaller the loss will be.

    The rebel Congress has passed a law, authorizing the issue of five millions of dollars in copper coins, of the denominations of five, ten and twenty-five cents. We ought to have had a similar issue -- not of copper, but of silver, so far alloyed as to prevent its being sold at a premium or withheld from ,circulation. Such a currency would be far more convenient and creditable than the paper shinplasters, which are to be issued, and infinitely more so than the sticky and worthless nuisances which have hitherto taken their place.


    My Thoughts:

    This reminds me a lot of what we are currently going through with our money system. Instead of complaining that stamps should not be used as currency because they represent no real value only of what they are promised to be, our dollar is the same. Its very interesting to see the thoughts of people from the past, they had it right back then a currency that contained real value in silver and gold. Even today it seems we are trying to find other things to use as currency, bitcoin for instance. Only time will tell where the system is going but its fun/nice to think it would go back to the old gold/silver standard.
    vpnavy likes this.
    "You're dumping all your coins and I'm reaping all the benefits..." "If you don't try, you'll never know.."

  2. #2

    Nov 2012
    Garrett AT PRO/Garrett Ace 250 + 8.5x11" DD Coil/ Garrett Pro-Pointer & Pro-Pointer AT/ Vibra-Tector 730/ Radio Shack Discovery 1000 (Retired)
    2025 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (4)
    Very interesting.

    8 Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?
    9 And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ - Luke 15:8-9

  3. #3
    Charter Member
    Fly Navy!

    Jun 2008
    York County, PA (USA)
    15434 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Interesting read - ah, the good ole days OnARoll.
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  4. #4
    Oct 2010
    The Garden State
    Minelab Explorer SE Pro & CTX-3030
    2006 times
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    I don't think it worked. People still used stamps as currency from time to time back in the 60's...I remember hearing about it at school and I remember commercials that sold items like K-tell having a disclaimer at the end "Send no stamps, blah, blah, blah..." Really not much difference between a postage stamp and paper money if you think about it, except paper money wasn't cancelled after being used once for it's intended purpose. I'm not sure why they were concerned about people using postage stamps as currency and as stamp collectors like myself can attest to--mint stamps can change hands many times and not get soiled with proper handling.
    OnARoll likes this.

  5. #5
    Jul 2005
    Minelab Explorer SE; Garrett GTI 1500
    284 times
    Well...I think the article doesn't take into consideration a stamp collector. If someone had saved a bunch of stamps from 1862 and prior...I would think that in today's world...they may have some considerable value to the stamp collector thus meaning that they are in fact worth something much greater than there original value, albeit years later.

  6. #6
    Nov 2012
    149 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Yeah DeerHunter i'm not sure what people collected back in the day or even if they did at all..The value they are talking about is that of the mailed value and not of its collectability. The ability to trade 2 stamps for 2 eggs etc.
    "You're dumping all your coins and I'm reaping all the benefits..." "If you don't try, you'll never know.."



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