Monday, June 18, 2012

Tax Stamps on Playing Cards!

I Learn Something New Everyday...

Cute Gypsy Girl Canasta Card
I recently purchased for $1, a pack of adorable Canasta cards.  The color combination of orange and black suggested a Halloween theme.  I thought I might be able to make some cute tags or cards or maybe even a garland.  Today I opened the ziplock bag to take out the cards and I found a remnant of cellophane packaging affixed with an odd stamp: 
I thought it was a postage stamp until I saw the "U.S. INT. REV." printed on it along with the "PLAYING CARDS."  I wondered why playing cards had a tax stamp.  I went online and found a site called Dan and Dave

They said, " Up until 1965, a tax stamp on playing cards was mandatory in the United States. Although most playing cards still incorporate a stamp or seal of some kind, it does not entirely serve the same purpose. When in circulation, a tax stamp was legal proof of taxation and therefore made difficult to reproduce, like currency. In fact, a tax stamp was issued by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the same government agency that designs our currency." 

That's great...but it doesn't tell me why they were taxed.  I did find out that I could narrow down the age of my cards by the pre-cancellation on the stamp.

Two Examples of Cancellations.

Another visit to Dan and Dave informed me that if a deck is found with one of the above precanceled stamps, it had to be sold between July 1, 1940 and July 31, 1965.   So...if my little gypsy girls came with the stamp on the right...I can narrow the age down to between 47 to 72 years...give or take.  Knowing the age of my cute cards is not that important in the scheme of things...merely a way to waste time on a Monday afternoon.

Go Date Your Playing Cards, People!


Little Susie Home Maker said...

Cool! I am learning something new again! This is pretty interesting. Thanks,

Tammy's in Love said...

Oh for crying out loud! I'm gonna stomp people with Trivia with this information that even Cliff Claven wouldn't have known!

A Mae Zing!


Chenille Cottage said...

Hi Shirley!
I guess I'm one of those peoole who loves knowing little tidbits of history, too. I appreciated your research and found it fascinating.
I have a Singer featherweight sewing machine and it has a serial number that can be looked up on the internet. It tells where and it was made...and, I think that's pretty amazing!
Call me silly...but, how nice to know I'm not the only one!
Thank you for your extremely kind words on my blog!
You are a treasure!
Carolynn xo

GARAGE SALE GAL ~ Deb's Earthly Delights said...

Interesting information. I've seen those on decks of cards and didn't pay any attention to them
YES,your little card would be FUN to use for Halloween!

DearHelenHartman said...

Fun fact! I love old playing cards but tend to get the sets in cases. I DO recall stamps on playing cards but I thought it was because ours were bought at Air Force Base exchanges. Love your blog.

My Vintage Mending said...

This is a sweet little girl and you know I love the Halloween connection you made. I think she will need to be revisited...Smiles...Renee

vintage grey said...

What a sweet card, and such neat history! I always love hearing the history behind these treasures we have! xo Heather

LBP said...

What cool info! The most interesting playing cards that I have are some Coca Cola playing cards made during WWII that are enemy airplane spotter cards. I can't even imagine...My great-grandmother gave me the cards when I was about 6.


Creative Breathing said...

So much to say Shirley! What an interesting post this is. I had never heard of such a tax. OMGosh! is your Quick Draw tag ever cute. I wasn't going to peek, but I am so glad I did! You mentioned Top Cat - my absolutely favorite! Your Father's baby journal was so wonderful and sentimental. I love all that you share with us. Such a special place to visit! Elizabeth

The Cottage Market {Andrea} ♥ said...

you know what my friend...i learn something new every time i stop by...i actually feel smarter : ) sending you tons of hugs and maybe just maybe this will help me win a trivia contest one day : ) thanks for being sweet sweet you and thank you always for your encouraging we say here in rock!!! : ) hugs...

Betsy said...

Hi Shirley,

I love how much I learn about history from your posts! I had never heard this. I enjoyed catching up on all your fun posts. Such nice family stories, and boy have you been busy crafting! I don't know how you do it all! I hope all is well with you and your family.