Down with the FRAUDS: Taxation as Consumer Protection

March 12, 1999 – September 10, 1999

National Postal Museum
2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, DC

Rarities Vault, Lower Level Floor Plan

On view are 25 revenue stamps that identified imitation food products and paid for enforcement of new consumer laws. During the 19th century, imitation food products such as oleomargarine and filled cheese were sold at bargain prices as authentic farm products. A reform movement to regulate and tax these adulterated products began in the 1870s. Highlights of the exhibition include an 1871 imported cigar stamp, an 1872 imitation wine stamp, 1926 and 1931 oleomargarine stamps, a series of 1952 filled cheese stamps, and a manufacturer's annual special tax stamp used on mixed-grain flour.