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Thread: Seals/Stamps

  1. #1
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    Seals/Stamps

    Here is an easy question for you historians: When were the paper Stamps/Seals across the caps of Whiskey bottles discontinued? I have some bottled in bond bottles that were bottled in the early 1980's that have these seals that state "United States Government supervision, bottled in bond". On these the year made and year bottled are printed on the same seal. (very helpful) On other bottles, the inscription "Tax Stamp, US Internal Revenue Tax Paid" or "Manufactured in accoudance with US government regulations". On these later stamps, no date is given. The presence of the stamp itself should give some indication of age if I knew when this practice was current.

    I know this is an elementry question, but still of good use to us newcomers.

    Mark A. Mason, El Dorado, Arkansas

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Seals/Stamps

    As I recall, the tax stamps became legally superfluous early in the Reagan administration, when the system of federal "revenue men," who actually, physically controlled access to the warehouses, was discontinued. Tax compliance thereafter has been monitored through computer reports supplied by the distillers. I believe some makers continued to use the stamps for some period thereafter until they implemented another way to "seal" their bottles. Today we take those breakaway-type caps or plastic capsules for granted, but on liquor bottles they were an innovation of the early 1980s. Until then, most bottles had a simple twist on cap and the only seal was the tax strip.

    - chuck


  3. #3
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    Re: Seals/Stamps

    Chuck Cowdery wrote:

    "Today we take those breakaway-type caps or plastic
    capsules for granted, but on liquor bottles they were an innovation of the early 1980s. Until then, most
    bottles had a simple twist on cap and the only seal was the tax strip."

    Actually, the breakaway cap is older than that. I have a 1936 ad for Gilbey's Gin; this ad is followed
    several pages later in the same magazine by another ad highlighting the metal breakaway cap that
    sealed the bottle of Gilbey's. The ad was from the manufacturer of the cap, and its headline screamed
    THIS SEAL MAKES THE BOTTLE OF GILBEY'S GIN AS TAMPER-PROOF AS AN EGG!

    If I get a chance, I can scan this and make it available on my web page.
    Attachments don't seem to work on the board.

    Michael Shoshani


  4. #4
    The Boss
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    Re: Seals/Stamps

    I think everyone will find that unless you are being prevented from posting binaries by a firewall, the attachment mechanism works just fine on this board.

    Regards,

    Jim Butler
    StraightBourbon.com
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
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    Re: Seals/Stamps

    Perhaps I haven't figured out how to view attachments, then.

    I'm expecting them to show up as part of the message. Is this correct?


  6. #6
    The Boss
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    Re: Seals/Stamps

    You just click on the file name in the "attachment" field of the message header, the image should then display on your screen.

    Regards,

    Jim Butler
    StraightBourbon.com

  7. #7
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    Re: Seals/Stamps

    I have to be so careful what I say around here. I didn't mean to suggest that breakaway caps were only invented in the 80s, but they weren't in common use, at least not on bourbon products. Brown-Forman was a client of mine when they introduced their first plastic capsules after the necessity of tax stamps was eliminated in the early 80s. Eventually, most people went to some kind of breakaway plastic cap. Some, like Maker's Mark, had different ideas.

    Despite your Gilbey's ad, "tampering" wasn't much of a concern in those more innocent days, which is why Gilbey's eventually went back to the non-breakaway cap. In the 30s, there was probably still some concern about bathtube hootch being packaged in "real" bottles. The tax stamps eventually solved that problem because Liquor couldn't legally be sold if the tax stamp was not intact. That and other kinds of government control made counterfeiting a very minor concern.

    - chuck


 

 

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