US Stamps

Help needed to identify two mysterious stamps

Jul 18, 2022, 8 AM
Up for a challenge? These two unidentified stamps are presented in hopes that Linn’s readers might be able to help pin down their origin and purpose.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

After almost 75 years of United States stamp collecting, I still see items that leave me wondering, “What’s that?”

Linn’s reader Gary Martin recently came up with two items in that category, and as I often do, I’m turning to other readers to help identify what they are.

The two items are shown here. On the left is an imperf 2¢ stamp labeled across the top “Internal Revenue.” While tempted to assume that means U.S. Internal Revenue, it might not. Could it be a state revenue?

Underneath the heading, there are the initials “E.N.” and “B.C.” with an image of a small open book between them. If the “B.C.” is short for book club, one wonders why a book club would be taxed? Those initials probably stand for something else.

The second stamp, at right, might not even be a U.S. item. This perforated stamp features a portrait of a bearded man inside an oval frame. Across the top of the oval is “SERBMIT” and ”SIRAPAYRUAM” is at the bottom.

Neither stamp has any other hint that would make its origin obvious. If you have the answer or even a plausible theory for either item, I would appreciate your dropping me a line to tell me what you think. Email is My USPS address is Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125.

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