The Kansas-Nebraska Act & Overprints

May 30, 1854 – The Kansas-Nebraska Act becomes law establishing the U.S. Territories of Kansas and Nebraska.

On May 1, 1929, the United States Postal Service issued stamps known as the Kansas-Nebraska Overprints.  These were Regular Issue stamps with an added black colored overprint that read ‘Kans.’ or ‘Nebr.’ The letters in the overprint resemble typewriter characters with serifs. Only the denominations of 1-cent to 10-cents were overprinted. The overprints were authorized and added to the 1926–27 printings to counter the rash of stamp thefts suffered by various mid-western rural Post offices. It is estimated that a one-year supply of the Regular Issues received the overprinting. Officials believed that stamps overprinted with the abbreviated names of the individual states would be difficult to sell, or ‘fence’, in other states. The original plan was to produce overprints for all states, and Kansas and Nebraska were selected to initiate the experiment. As events turned out Kansas and Nebraska were the only states to receive this type of overprint. Every Post Office in Kansas and Nebraska received overprinted stamps except for those in Kansas City, Topeka, Wichita, Omaha, and Lincoln: in these larger cities, security at post offices was considered adequate; accordingly, the use of overprinted stamps was deemed necessary only in small, usually rural, post offices. Unfortunately, the rules for selling these overprints resulted in general confusion among both customers and postal clerks: consequently, the overprinted stamps remained in use for less than a year, being discontinued on March 29, 1930. Printed with the Rotary Press, the overprints were issued with perforation size, 11 x 10½. The overprints were added before the stamps received their adhesive gum on their backs. Fakes and forgeries exist for some of the more valuable overprint issues which are usually detected by noting the impression the forged letters leave in the adhesive gum on the reverse of the stamp, as any fraudulent overprinting is always applied after the stamp has received its gum and has been issued.

Kansas Nebraska Overprints U.S.A. - 1929


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