1864-66 calling card photo of young girl, with tax stamp

$10.00 CAD

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Nice CDV photo of a young American girl sitting. On back is a 2 cent "Proprietary" revenue tax stamp.

No photographer name on back.

Toning spot left side of photo, smudge UL corner. Light crease LL corner. Light scratch LR of image. Some toning on back.

4” x 2 3/8”

(Red text is an electronic watermark that is not physically part of the photo for sale)


Faced with the financial demands of the Civil War, a June 30, 1864, act of Congress placed a new luxury tax on "photographs, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes or any other sun-pictures." Photographers were required to affix a properly denominated revenue stamps on the back of the image and cancel it by initialing and dating it in pen.

However, there was not a special stamp created for photography. So, you will see on the backs of the calling card photographs US revenue stamps originally intended for Bank Checks, Playing Cards, Certificates, Proprietary, Bill of Lading, etc. These were accepted by the Federal Government on cartes de visite as long as the stamp denomination was appropriate.

The amount of tax required for a carte de visite was determined by the cost of the photograph:

Less than 25 cents: 2 cent stamp
25 to 50 cents: 3 cent stamp
50 cents to $1: 5 cent stamp
More than $1: 5 cents for each additional dollar or fraction thereof

Most calling card images cost between 25 and 50 cents. Thus, the majority of cartes de visite have a 2 or 3 cent revenue stamp affixed to them.

One cent stamps began being charged for less expensive photos from March 1865 to 1 August 1866. The tax on photographs was repealed on that date.