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Stamp Act

May 2024
1min read

The lacy geometry of the American Bank Note Company has imprinted itself upon our history since 1795, when its founder, Robert Scot, was appointed the first engraver of the National Mint. Responsible since then for bank notes, currency, and bonds of various countries, the company also produced the nation’s postage stamps from 1879 to 1893. Around 1900, for unknown reasons, the firm’s apprentice artists were set to work designing the elaborate collages shown here. Two book-sized volumes, each page planned around a theme of stamps, and ten large wall pieces—framed compositions of currency, securities, and countless stamps—were offered recently at Christie’s. The two volumes sold for $264,000, which may be counted a record, since nothing like them had ever gone on sale before.

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