US Stamps

Perpetual demand for 1¢ dark violet Official postal savings mail stamp

Oct 19, 2022, 8 AM
The United States 1¢ dark violet Official postal savings mail stamp on paper watermarked single line “U S P S” is perpetually in demand and is a good buy at 80 percent up to full Scott catalog value.

Stamp Market Tips by Henry Gitner and Rick Miller

Postal savings depositories were established by an act of Congress approved June 25, 1910. Under this act, the U.S. Post Office Department operated a savings bank system that paid about 2 percent interest annually on deposits.

Initially, deposits were limited to no more than $500, but the maximum was raised to $1,000 in 1916. It was raised again to $2,500 in 1918.

Before the establishment of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in 1933, the postal savings depositories had the advantage over other banks in being immune to runs. The FDIC insures all bank deposits up to $250,000 with the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.

In its peak year, 1947, the postal savings system held $3.4 billion in deposits. The postal savings system was abolished on July 1, 1967.

To help account for costs incurred in operating the system, the Postal Savings Act of 1910 required the postmaster general of the United States to produce and issue Official postal savings mail stamps to be used on all government correspondence required to administer the system. The stamps (Scott O121-O126) were first issued and placed in use in December 1910.

The 1¢ dark violet Official postal savings mail stamp on paper watermarked single line “U S P S” (Scott O124) is surprisingly difficult to find in very fine or better grades.

The Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the stamp in unused, hinged condition at $12.50 and in mint, never-hinged condition at $27.50.

This stamp is perpetually in demand by collectors. We previously tipped it in the Stamp Market Tips columns in three issues of Linn’s (Sept. 28, 2015; April 3, 2017; and Dec. 28, 2020). Catalog values are up from $10 in unused, hinged condition and $22.50 in mint, never hinged condition when it was first tipped in 2015.

The stamp is a good buy in very fine grade at 80 percent up to 100 percent of Scott catalog value.

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