US Stamps

By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

When Bacchus served man his first beer on a stamp: Tip of the Week

September 15, 2016 01:00 PM

  • The 1875 United States 12½¢ Bacchus Serving First Fermented Brew to Man beer revenue stamp (Scott REA30) is a good buy at the 2016 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers value of $25.

By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Dionysius was the Greek god of wine. He was also known as Bacchus. His followers comprised a mystery cult within the greater Greek pantheon. The celebration of his cult often involved wild orgies of drunkenness, sexual license, and sometimes violence reminiscent of a National Lampoon’s Animal House toga party.

Bacchus seems an unlikely subject for commemoration on an American stamp, yet there he is, serving the first fermented brew to man on the beer revenue stamp set of 1875 (Scott REA30-REA36). 

In the 2016 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers, values for the major-number listed stamps in the set range from $25 up to $650. Values are for canceled stamps with small faults. The 12½¢ blue and black stamp (REA30) is a good place to start, and it is a good buy at Scott catalog value of $25. This set is also popular with topical collectors of mythology on stamps.

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