Liquor revenue stamp dating
The more expensive the retail price of the cigar, the higher the tax.
Rates were , , , and (a whopping 4¢ a cigar). In 1864 an equally colorful 15 1/2” stamp was issued in the same denominations.
Finding one of these 1878/1883/1898/1901 stamps on a box should alert you that you may have a collectible box; it does NOT in and of itself mean you have a rare box.
During the 32 years they were used, tens of thousands of companies pasted them on 2,000,000,000 boxes of cigars. The issue of 1869 ends the use of color coding the five denominations.
This issue is rare on or off boxes in any denomination, especially 250 and 500. The short-lived issue of 1868 is another you will seldom find on a box.
Note the cancelation stamped on the 100; this is the first issue to mandate rubber stamp cancellations rather than hand written signatures. When used, all these early issues wrap onto all four sides of a box.
As a result, in 1863, cigars became one of the first products for which paper revenue stamps were issued to indicate goods upon which taxes had been paid.
Yael makes a Between the Sheets and explains how sometimes all it takes is the warmth of a stiff drink to calm nerves and mend a relationship.
When taxes were raised in mid year, new denominations were stenciled, stamped or hand written and signed by the inspector making the changes.