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Identifying U.S. narcotic stamps

I've run into an identification issue where the Scott Specialized catalog is of no help whatsoever.

Specifically, how do you tell the difference between #RJA15 ($45) and #RJA39 ($3.25)?

Both are overprints on type R22. Both are perf. 11. Both are watermark 191R. Both are carmine rose. Both are offset printed. Both are overprinted "NARCOTIC". Both are possible in black.

What am I missing? I see no differentiating factor.

I have a MNH plate block of 6 (unlisted in Scott) and it would be nice to know which variety it is...


  • I think the difference I detect if you will note above RJA9 thru RJA25 the narcotic markings are noted as "handstamped" Whereas on RJA33 thru RJA40 are noted as "overprinted" below that list it says "The overprint on Nos. RJA33 -RJA41 was produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing..." An overprint like most precancels are, I think, produced all at once from a plate or something. Handstamping each is a different process I think and would have a different effect. Ther is probably something different in the technique as well as the final effect of the finished stamp. You could probably email Eric Jackson who dealsd in revenue stamps. [email protected]. I don't know if that is his personal email though.
  • You sure have a nice site. I'm not half through it.
  • Coinpictures,
    Did you ever figure out which # your stamp is?
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