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Stamps (Philately)/brown or tan envelopes

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Question
Hi Bill,
Do you know whether brown or tan-colored envelopes in the mid-19th century were cheaper than white ones? Or, perhaps, more expensive? I'm trying to determine why a particular person might have preferred to use them, other than a personal color preference.
Thanks,
Stephen

Answer
Stephen,

US stamped envelopes are sold at cost which includes production, paper and distribution costs added to the value of postage.  

Brown or tan-colored are labeled as buff.  The first Nesbitt series is either white or not white.  All not white are lumped under buff even though there are about 15 shades of buff.

Buff was more popular than white both for cost and for perceived security.  It is more difficult to read anything through buff envelopes.

So, yes, less expensive.  

Stamps (Philately)

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Bill Lehr

Expertise

Almost any question relating to US postal stationery

Experience

Member UPSS 19th century catalog ediorial committee; member UPSS 20-21 century catalog editorial committee; member of APEX examiner committee; published author including regular column on US postal stationery in US Stamp News

Organizations
APS, APEX, IFDSA, IPDA, NSDA, UPSS, PSS

Publications
Postal Stationery, journal of the UPSS; Precancel Forum; US Stamp News; EFO Collector; Air Post Journal

Education/Credentials
Bachelor degree plus

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