Sunday, August 23, 2015

"You need to let the little things

 that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.” 
                                                                           ~Andy Warhol

I have been sorting through a variety of merchandise that has been bagged, boxed, and bundled.  In a bag of odds and ends, I found this little make-up container.
I think it is a blush container...I could not find any information on the company though.  I love the little applicator.  When you look at small things like this, you realize how much attention to detail existed in the past.

 When I flipped the little box over, I saw this.
I had never seen one of these stamps before, and so off to research.  It seems the Civil War expenses sent the Federal government to issue the Revenue Act of 1862.  It created ways raise revenue as well as forming the Department of Internal Revenue. (I guess now we just let war debt grow hoping it will suddenly vanish into thin air.)

Anyway, every document was taxed...deeds, insurance policies, telegrams, stock certificates.  Some luxuries were also taxed including playing cards, liquor, matches, and perfume.  Revenue stamps were put on these items to prove the tax was paid, but the cash coming in was not enough so Congress passed a new tax in 1864 (see...there was a time when Congress actually did something!).
This tax was on "photographs, ambrotypes (photo on glass), daguerreotypes or any other sun-pictures."   Photographers were required to affix a properly denominated revenue stamp on the back of the image and cancel it by initialing and dating it in pen. There was not a special stamp created for photography, thus you will see stamps on images for Bank Checks, Playing Cards, Certificates, Bill of Lading, etc. These were accepted by the Federal Government as long as the denomination was appropriate.

The photography companies organized against the stamps since it appeared they were being overtaxed, and in 1866 Congress repealed their tax but kept cotton, tobacco, and alcohol under the proprietary tax laws.   It took until 1922 for the perfume and cosmetic taxes to be repealed, so this little blush container has to be pre-1922.  But those little stamps caused Congress to respond.  Maybe we need to bring back tax stamps!
                         Even the largest avalanche is triggered by small things.
                                                          ~Vernor Vinge

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