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!