At first glance this looks like a nondescript illegal usage, a bit beat up, likely a $10-15 item at retail.
But the timing is curious. It’s dated February 21, 1891… but that stamp wasn’t issued until 1894. Unless it’s a contrived item, the only thing I can think of is that it was retroactively taxed at the time the check was submitted for payment, some 3+ years later.
The reverse shows nothing except for the endorsement of the payee, presumably a family member.
Reply from Bart Rosenberg:
…seems contrived all the way around, or just a mistake. The tax on checks ended in 1883, there was no reason to put anything on a check in 1891. The next tax on checks was 1898, so it seems unlikely to be related to that tax. So if the initials really match, then someone simply made a mistake.