Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Incoming Bill of Exchange

When I saw this rather bedraggled first of exchange, directed to a U.S. company from Mexico City, at a stamp show my heart beat a bit faster due to its date - July 1, 1898. That feeling quickly dissipated when I saw that the Mexican revenue was canceled on that date, but the U.S. revenue not until July 6. I bought it anyway.






The dating formed a logical sequence, as the bill was issued in Mexico City and sent to New York for payment. The U.S. stamp was added by a representative of the Hidalgo Mining Company, possibly in Pittsburgh on the 6th of July, as there is an undated handstamp on back indicating payment from the Lincoln National Bank of Pittsburgh to the Seaboard National Bank of New York. The Seaboard National marked the instrument as paid on July 7th.

All well and good, but the tax paid was not sufficient. In the Compilation of Decisions Rendered by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, January 1899 it was clearly stated, "Checks drawn in a foreign country, but payable in the United States, taxable 2 cents on each $100 or fraction thereof." The tax on this $996.65 bill of exchange would have been 20 cents. But at least one bank found it necessary to ask the IRS for that ruling.

It really isn't clear from reading the War Revenue Act what the proper tax should have been - two cents like a check cashed in the United States or twenty cents like a bill of exchange written in the United States - so the Hildago Mining Rep can be excused for adopting the cheaper view. If only the timing had been such that he had added the stamp on July 1.....

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Bit of a Puzzle

This interesting certificate of deposit was discovered by Mike Morrissey. He sold it to me when he moved several years ago:


Certificates of deposit were taxed from July 1, 1898 through June 30, 1901. If no interest was offered nor granted the tax was a flat two cents, no matter how much was deposited. If interest was guaranteed, the tax was two cents per one hundred dollars or fraction of one hundred dollars. Many deposits fell into an intermediate category where interest was given only if the money was left for a particular length of time, usually six months. In such a case, two cents tax was paid at the time of deposit, and the remainder was paid if and when interest was granted.

The certificate shown above bore interest of three per cent per annum only if the deposit were to be left at least six months. It was properly taxed two cents via imprinted revenue at issue on December 20, 1900, and an additional thirty-four cents when redeemed, since the total tax on the $1773.22 deposit was thirty-six cents if interest was paid.



Since interest was paid, the certificate was not redeemed before June 20, 1901. In fact, the handstamp used on the added revenues on the back is dated July 1, 1901. This is what makes the certificate unusual - if the certificate had been redeemed July 1, NO additional tax would have been payable, as the portion of the tax law concerning certificates of deposit had been repealed as of that date.


Two possibilities come to mind. First, if the bank did not realize that the tax had been repealed, it could have collected it in error. This is not likely, as there were more sweeping changes effective on that date, such as no longer needing a revenue stamp on checks payable on sight or demand. The repeal would have been widely known for some time, surely by the First National Bank of Jamestown.

The second possibility is that the certificate was redeemed on Saturday, June 29, and that the bank routinely processed such surrenders on the following Monday. Under this scenario the depositor would have collected his money on Saturday (or even Friday?) and paid the bank for the stamps, which were applied to the certificate and canceled Monday, July 1, along with any other certificates that had come in on the weekend. The redemption would have been properly taxed, but the date on the stamps would not have reflected the actual date of the transaction.

The only way to get a better feel for what went on here is to find other certificates from the same bank which show deposits redeemed near the end of a calendar month. I have another one dated in December of 1900, but it apparently was redeemed sometime after June 30, 1901, since there are no additional stamps on the back. These certificates do not seem to be too uncommon, so perhaps others can offer additional data points.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

E. P. S. Works: El Paso Smelting Works

E. P. S. Works
JUL 9-  1898

Dave Thompson sends in this pair with a confirmed ID of the the company represented by the initials EPS Works after Frank Sente posted a full on-document use of the cancel.  Thanks to Frank for his post and Dave for sending in the scan of this R164 pair.


Outbound Bill of Exchange from US to Mexico

Consolidated Kansas City Smelting and Refining Co.
22.58 Silver Peso Bill of Exchange to Mexico
July 13, 1898

The Consolidated Kansas City Smelting and Refining Company was a huge conglomorate of numerous companies by 1898 including the Mexican Ore Company ( bill signed by their cashier), and the El Paso Smelting Works (cancel on US stamps). Without the documentation that likely accompanied this payment it's hard to tell who was paying for what other than someone involved with the CKCS&RC was sending 22.58 Pesos to someone in Mexico.

Because 22.58 Peso is less than $100 yet the bill was taxed 4-cents with a pair R164 battleship revenues, it's likely that only a single copy of this bill was issued. The relevant tax was 2-cents per $100 on each copy if bills were written in sets of two or more, or 4-cents per $100 if written singly. The bill was also taxed 4 centovos in Mexico by the Banco Comercial de Chihuahua in Juarez, just accross the Rio Grande from El Paso.

Today Juarez is one of the most violent cities in the world due to the Mexican drug wars, but in 1898 there was an open border between Mexico and the United States.

El Paso Smelting Works cancel:
E.P.S. Works
JUL 13, 1898

Friday, November 26, 2010

What are the Odds? Another Money Wire to Richwald!

Receipt for Money Wire to Richwald
F. A. Kail Banking and Exchange Office
42 Avenue C, New York, NY
June 6, 1899

Our thanks go to JW Palmer for providing today's subject document. Actually JW sent this scan to me several years ago asking if I thought it had anything to do with foreign exchange. We both assumed it involved foreign exchange, but alone, by itself, neither of us understood it was a receipt for a money wire. It wasn't until some other similar documents, like the P. V. Obiecunas, Max Schamberg, and Maurice Grau receipts, came to our attention did we recognize this to be another example of a money wire. Sometimes in philately, as elsewhere, understanding doesn't occur until a critical mass of material is accumulated. Alone each piece is hard to understand, but looking at them all together makes it easy to see that they are simply receipts for transfers of money that didn't involve paper documents; i.e. money wires!

And it never ceases to amaze me what I learn when I look at items critically, as one must when creating an exhibit, or writing an article, or, in this instance a blog. It wasn't until I decided to include this item in this series of blogs about money wires that I recognized this K. A. Kail Co. money wire for 50 Kr. sent from New York City is addressed to a party residing in Richwald, the same small town in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to which the P.V. Obiecunas money wire was addressed. Given the thousands of immigrants who must have sent money back to family and friends in Europe, what are the odds that of the handful of recorded examples, two (one from Pittsburgh and one from New York City) would be addressed to the same small town where less than 1,000 people resided?

As 50Kr is less than $100 it is properly taxed as a singly written bill of exchange, the tax for which was 4-cents per each $100 in value, or fraction thereof.

Other than the date, June 6, 1899, the cancel regrettably is illegible.

We'd appreciate reports to 1898revenues@gmail.com of other examples of similar money wire receipts.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving from 1898 Revenues!

Cancel for November 25: Provident Life & Trust Company Of Philadelphia

THE PROVIDENT LIFE & TRUST COMPANY OF PHILADELPHIA.
11  Mo
25
1898

Interesting big cancel, with a long name spelled out in a CDS.
Top it off with "11 Mo" for November, a Quaker dating method in which the names of the months are not used.  Provident Life and Trust was likely a Quaker owned and operated company.


David Thompson sent me this image of an R175 with a similar cancel to that above.


Another example of a Provident Life cancel. 



From Wikipedia:
The Quaker "plain calendar," or "scriptural calendar," differs from what Quakers refer to as the "world's calendar".  The plain calendar uses numbers to denominate the names of the months and days of the week. It emerged in the 17th century in England in the general non-conformist movement but became closely identified with Friends by the end of the 1650s and continuously since that time.

The plain calendar does not use names of calendar units derived from the traditional names due to their derivation from pagan deities. Instead, it uses ancient terminology as found in the bible where the days of the week were numbered; for example, Jesus' followers went to the tomb early on the First Day of the week. From this, the plain calendar week begins with First Day (equivalent to the traditional Christian Sunday) and ends on Seventh Day (Saturday). Similarly the calendar's months run concurrently with the traditional months albeit named First Month, Second Month, etc..

***

Provident Life and Trust Company:  In 1922 The Provident Life and Trust Company split into two companies: the Provident Mutual Life Insurance Company and the Provident Trust Company.  Eventually through mergers and name changes the Provident Trust Company would become the Provident Naional Bank and eventually the Provident National Corporation.  After Provident National Corporation merged with Pittsburgh National Corporation in 1982, the merged companies became PNC, one of the largest banks in the United States today.


Provident Life & Trust Company building,
409 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia
Built in 1879 and demolished in 1959
Designed by architect Frank Furness

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another Money Wire to Europe

Receipt for Money Wire to Europe
P.V. Obiecunas, Pittsburg(h), PA
December 28, 1899

Wasko Szandala sends 40Kr. (about $10.00) by wire through P.V. Obiecunas in Pittsburg(h), PA to Mila(sp?) Czupa in Boglarka, Hungary, a small village now located in Northeast Slovakia. The "P.O. Richwald" reference suggests that the money would be sent to that neighboring town as it had a post office where the money could be received.

According to the 1913 census Boglarka had 248 inhabitants, all Ukrainian(Ruthenian). Richwald had 850 residents, all Slovaks. Although Richwald had a post office, it did not have a telegraph. The closest town with telegraph service was Bardejov, about 15 Km to the East.

It's unclear where Obiecunas sent the wire, but the money was most likely converted to a postal money order and sent to Richwald for delivery.

Untied Pen Cancel: P. V. O.
Stamp Tied by Datestamp and Payer's Name

That the stamp is tied by the name of the payer and the datestamp suggests it was already affixed to a blank receipt form. Many Pittsburg area immigrants likely sent funds to family members in Europe via Obiecunas and other similar firms providing banking and European exchange services. That the P.V.O. pencancel doesn't tie suggests it was a precancel, another hint the forms were prestamped and ready for use.

As the amounts were most likely small (under $100) it would have made sense to set up the receipts in advance with a 4-cent stamp paying the tax on a singly written outbound bill of exchange. Again, as there was no financial instrument was actually drawn, the receipt provided the medium for recording the tax payment for the transaction.

Monday, November 22, 2010

International Money Wire Taxed as a Bill of Exchange

Receipt for Money Wire to Europe
Max Schamberg & Co., Pittsburg, PA
March 11, 1901

For years Max Schamberg was the consul for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, or at least for the Austrian Monarchy, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. In 1866 he founded his own company providing banking and transportation services, primarily to serve the ever increasing immigrant population in Pittsburg. He sold the business in the 1880s to Issac E. Hirsch, who is identified as the proprietor in the upper right corner of this 1901 receipt.

That this receipt for 10 Roubles is taxed 4-cents suggests that the money was transferred to Europe via cable where it either was converted to a postal money order or sent via registered mail to the intended recipient. Had an actual bill of exchange been drafted and sent through the mail, the tax stamps would have been affixed directly to that document and not this receipt. The receipt simply served as an appropriate medium for the tax stamps required by the wire transaction.

We do seek assistance regarding the name and location of the recipient. It appears to be Szachne? Lawsonordiz? in Lasman? We may be far off the mark with those spellings. As the amount was given in roubles, I suspect this may have been going to the Ukrainian area of the Austro-Hungarian empire, but that's purely supposition. Can anyone offer more definitive information?

As best I can determine, 10 roubles would have been worth around $100 in 1900. It would have been considered to be a singly-written bill of exchange for which the tax was 4-cents per $100 in value, so the tax of appears to be is correct. We'd appreciate comments from anyone who might otherwise confirm the exact exchange rate between roubles and dollars in 1901.


Double-ring Circular Date Stamp:
MAX SCHAMBERG & CO.
MAR/11/1901
Pittsburg, Pa.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cancel for November 21: Columbus, Hocking Valley, and Toledo Railway


F. B. EVERETT
NOV
21
1898
AUDITOR

F.B. Everett was the auditor for the Columbus, Hocking Valley, and Toledo Railway.  At the time of this cancel the company was in receivership and would be reorganized in early 1899 as the Hocking Valley Railway.  By 1930 the Hocking Valley Railway would be merged into the Chesapeake and Ohio.

Logo of the Hocking Valley Railway, successor of the C, HV & T


Bob Hohertz' sent in this scan of the only known imprinted Hocking Valley Parlor Car ticket to complement this post.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Maurice Grau Heads for Paris

John Munroe & Co. Bank Transaction Statement
for a Money Wire Taxed as a Bill of Exchange
September 26, 1898
Tim Kohler scan

From 1898 to 1903 the Maurice Grau Opera Company produced the operatic season at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. Grau often travel abroad personally to secure contracts to bring top European talent to the Met's New York stage.

The above banker's statement documents a cable transfer of 50,000 francs "for credit of" Maurice Grau indicating that Grau was wiring money to himself for use while in Paris. As there was no tangible draft, check, or bill of exchange upon which to affix the tax stamps required by the exchange transaction, the bank placed them on the statement sent to Grau documenting the transaction.

That no actual tangible bill of exchange ever existed for this transaction highlights the point that what was being taxed in this instance was the transaction, not the document itself. In other instances however, such as with miscellaneous legal certificates, it clearly was the War Revenue Law's explicit intention that the physical document be taxed, and not necessarily the underlying transaction it represented.

Double-ring Circular Date Stamp
JOHN MUNROE & CO.
SEP/26/1898
*
Tim Kohler scan

The tax on an outbound single-copy bill of exchange, as this was considered, was 4-cents per $100, or fraction thereof. The 50,000 francs, plus the cost of the cable, converted to $9,587.83. So the tax should have been calculated as (96 x .04 = $3.84). Presumably the clerk handling the transaction miscalculated as $3.88 in tax is present on the statement, an overpayment of $0.04. Usages of the $3.00, R174 Commerce issue, and the 3-cent, R165 Battleship are uncommon; to find them both on the same document, extremely so.

Our thanks go to Tim Kohler for providing this unusual bill of exchange document.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Bill of Exchange from the Territory of Hawaii

459:3:8 Pounds Sterling Bill of Exchange (Second Copy)
from Bishop & Co. Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii
to Gaspar Sylva for payment through N.M. Rothschild & Sons, London
July 13, 1900

Cancel from Reverse
BISHOP & CO.,
JUL 13 1900
HONOLULU, H.I.

Hawaii became a US territory on July 7, 1898 just days after the War Revenue Law took effect. The law was applicable to US Territories as well as States so applicable documents from Hawaii had to be taxed as they were in all the other US Territories at the time. Examples of taxed documents from the US Territories are uncommon and from Hawaii, even moreso.

At the standard rate of exchange, $4.85/£1.00, £459:3:8 equaled about $2,228, so this second of exchange from a set of three was properly taxed 46 cents at the rate of 2-cents per $100 in value or fraction thereof.

Because of the vagaries of the mails and other forms of transit, it was standard practice for banks and major companies to write payment drafts like this bill of exchange in sets of two or three copies, sending each separately, often by different routes, with the understanding that only the first to arrive would be negotiated. All copies of bills of exchange written in sets were taxed at the rate of 2-cents per $100 or fraction thereof. As this second of exchange shows no evidence of being cashed, one of the other copies must have arrived first.

Bishop and Company, founded by Charles Bishop, was the first bank in Hawaii. It became the First Hawaiian Bank in 1960 and continues today as part of the BancWest Corporation.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Outgoing Bill of Exchange to Hungary

Lewis Johnson & Co. Bill of Exchange (check) for 59 Kronur
to Jeanette Friedman, Kaschau, Hungary


L. J. & CO.
JAN/14/1901
(note inverted year date)


Unlike inbound Bills of Exchange which were taxed at a flat rate of 2-cents per $100 in face value or fraction thereof when paid, outgoing Bills of Exchange instead were taxed when written. If written singly they were taxed a flat rate of 4-cents per $100 in value or fraction thereof or, if written in sets, each bill in the set was taxed 2-cents per $100 in value.

The above bank check from the Washington, DC banking house of Lewis Johnson & Co. , the first of a set of two, was properly taxed 2-cents; 59 Kronur(sic.) being worth much less than $100.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Cancel for November 15: Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad

T. H. & I. R. R. CO.
NOV  15  1898
TREASURER.

This stamp and cancel came off a "Vandalia Line" check of the Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad.  


Check cancelled the same day and with same cancel type as the single above.  These stamps were clearly cancelled in the same batch.  The check was acquired in an Ebay lot and the single was a part of Henry Tolman's collection sold in an auction by Robert Siegel. 

In March 1865 the Indiana legislature changed the name of the Terre Haute & Richmond Railroad to the Terre Haute & Indianapolis Railroad.  On 1 January 1905 the TH&IRR consolidated with the St. Louis, Vandalia & Terre Haute, Terre Haute & Logansport, Logansport & Toledo, and the Indianapolis & Vincennes to form the Vandalia Railroad Company.

Frank's Hammar Brothers post in October makes note of the company's reference to the presence of the Vandalia Line at its East St. Louis factory.

Postcard image of a TH&IRR 4-4-0 locomotive

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A 2nd Day, July 2, 1898, Bill of Exchange

$5,000 Bill of Exchange, Consolidated Kansas City
Smelting and Refining Company, Mexico City
to an unidentified Mexican payee
paid through Consolidated's New York Office
JW Palmer scan

We've blogged about several foreign bills of exchange inbound to the United States in recent days. Today we view another one courtesy of JW Palmer that was taxed on July 2, 1898, the second day of the Spanish American War tax! The "sight date" for this draft was July 1, 1898, the first day of the war tax, when it was "accepted" for payment 10 days later on July 11 per the draft's terms of payment.

Why wasn't it taxed on July 1, the date it was accepted? Was the Consolidated Kansas City Smelting and Refining Company unsure about whether or not tax was due -- it was written June 25, 1898 some 5 days before the tax went into effect; or didn't they have any stamps on July 1, or? The new tax stamps were hard to come by in New York City on July 1, 1898 and it might have taken Consolidated a day to acquire some or to find out that, yes, even though the draft was written prior to the effective date of the new tax law, the tax was required as the payment date, the relevant date for taxation, was after July 1.

It's a nice early usage of a pair of the R171 50-cent battleship documentaries, properly paying the 2-cent per $100 in face value tax on a $5,000 inbound bill of exchange. Their usage suggests that the $1 Commerce issue may not have been available in New York on July 1.

Reverse of BOE showing transmittal endorsements and
Mexican Revenues: two 1-Peso and 1 50-Centavos from the 1897 issue
JW Palmer scan

It is unclear to whom Consolidated directed this draft; the Payee's name and their transmittal endorsement on the back are not readable; nor is the handstamp on the Mexican revenue stamps. A hint appears in the bottom left corner on the front where "H. S. & Co. No.........." is handstamped in red with number 66658 entered in pen on the dotted line; presumably Consolidated's internal reference to the payee's invoice or letter of credit number. But we've been unable to determine the identity of "H. S. and Co."

It is clear that "H. S. and Co." referred the draft to an international banking house, Lazard Freres, in New York, who collected the payment from Consolidated's New York headquarter's office. The Lazard Freres firm today continues as Lazard and John previously has blogged about their cancels.

Detail Showing July 1, 1898 Accepted Handstamp of CKCSRC
and cancels on the 50-cent stamps
In Purple:
JUL 2 1898
In Red:
International Metal Co. (double strike)

Curiously the stamps are cancelled with a single-line handstamp of the INTERNATIONAL METAL CO. Like the Consolidated Kansas City Smelting and Refining Company, the International Metal Company was a huge mining firm doing business in many Western States and then US Territories as well as in Mexico. The firms may not have been directly related, but they shared some common directors. Maybe Consolidated got the 50-cent tax stamps from International?

We'll likely never know, but it sure is a nifty draft and our thanks go to JW Palmer for sharing it.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cancel for November 13: University Club, New York

UNIVERSITY CLUB.
NOV
13
1898
*   N.   Y.   *

Cancel on partial piece with enough information to indicate that this stamp was likely used on a check University Club?  Partial cancel but very likely with its definite U, likely N, and the ITY and CLUB. 

The University Club of New York is a prominent social organization established by a group of college friends, mostly Yalies, who met in 1861 to create an organization for the:  "promotion of literature and art by establishing and maintaining a Library, Reading Room, and Gallery of Art, and by such other means as shall be expedient and proper for such purposes." 

The club currently exists at 1 West 54th Street in Manhattan in an architecturally significant Italian Renaissance revival building designed the the architect Charles Follen McKim.

Cancel for November 13: Lewis A. May Company

LEWIS A. MAY, CO.
NOV
13
1900
Lewis A. May and his business partner Eugene Enslen were both southern businessmen from Alabama that operated a brokerage firm in New York City.  Enslen remained in Birmingham, Alabama and was inactive in the day to day affairs of the Lewis A. May firm. 

Though the firm was formed in August 1898, the firm went bankrupt in late 1900 after the Exchange pulled its ticker machine from the Lewis A. May office in New York.  The story of the firms closure can be found in this New York Times article.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Bill of Exchange from Colombia

$500 Bill of Exchange
Pedro Mantilla, Rionegro, Colombia to Munoz & Espriella, New York
October 10, 1898

Without any of the accompanying documentation; there is a pencil notation "carta" (letter) dated 14 October 98 at the bottom of the draft; one can only speculate the purpose of this 90 day sight draft drawn against the Munoz & Espriella firm of New York. The firm appears to have been a shipping agent so perhaps this was a request for payment for some a shipment.

Reverse of $500 Draft Showing Transmittal Endorsements and
10-cent, R168 Battleship Revenue Stamp

The draft was routed through Silva Otero Brothers in Bucaramanga, the main city in the Department of Santander, Colombia where Rionegro also is located. Silva Otero Brothers sent the draft to Munoz and Espriella who accepted it on November 9, 1898 for payment as of February 7, 1899. At the rate of 2-cents per $100 in face value, or fraction thereof, Munoz and Espriella paid the proper tax, 10-cents, with an R168 ten cent battleship revenue.

Cancel of Munoz & Espriella:
M. & E.
NOV/9/1898
N.Y.

The draft looks pedestrian, but it was printed on Crane Japanese Linen paper with an ornate watermark featuring a crane and the year date 1896. A similar watermark may be found here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Fullerton List: Express Company 010, The American Express Company, Type 2s

This post is part of a continuing series on Richard Fullerton's 1952 Catalog of Railroad Company, Street Railway & Express Company Printed Cancellations on the 1898 U. S. Revenues.

Examples of the cancels, when available, are posted.

Express Company 010: The American Express Company, Type 2s


Type 2:  Two lines of plain type block type all caps 2.75mm high.  Initials are 18mm long.  Dates are 2.5mm high.  Date 189 is 5mm long.  1900 is 7mm long and 1901 is 6.5mm long.  Date 189 is 2.75mm below initials and dates 1900 and 1901 are 2mm below initials.  All date figure "1"s are serifed.  Normally without vertical rectangular periods.  There are varieties of spacing.  Last figure of the year 189 is usuall added by pen. 

Varieties listed below combine those from the main section of the Fullerton list and those from the addendum at the back, with a bit of re-ordering:

Basic varieties by year date:

1ct  Pale Blue       a.  Date 189     (1)  Roulette
                                                    (2)  HH
                            b.  Date 1900   (2)  HH
                            c.  Date 1901   (2)  HH

a. (1)
189  roulette

a. (2)
189  HH

b.  (2)
1900 HH


c. (2)
1901 HH


Below are the varieties of the basic cancels above listed by Fullerton.  There are many other varieties known and many have already been posted on this site nearly a year and a half ago.  I will let those older posts stand as examples of many of the possible varieties of the types below for now, and will return to this area when the time comes to put together a revision of Mr. Fullerton's list.  However, included below are two major unlisted varieties:

Varieties of a., 189 year date:

1ct Pale Blue          as. (1)  Large square periods AM, roulette
                                   (3)  Small square periods AM, roulette
                                   (5)  Horizontal rectangular period after EX, roulette
                                   (7)  No period after CO, roulette
                                   (8)  No period after CO, HH
                                   (9)  No period after EX, roulette


Varieties of b., 1900 year date:

1ct Pale Blue          bs.  (2)  No period after CO, HH
                                    (4)  Diagonal period, square, after CO. HH


1900 invert, unlisted

Varieties of c., 1901 year date:

1ct Pale Blue         cv.  (2)  Invert

1901 doubled, unlisted

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cancel for November 10: Elgin National Watch Company

As this website has spent a bit of column space over the past couple of months reviewing Richard Fullerton's battleship documentary printed cancel list, there are many questions and issues that have arisen to this correspondent.  One question has been Mr. Fullerton's choice to exclude other users of printed cancels on the documentary issues, including Provident Savings, The Girard Trust Company, and a county clerk's office in Vermont.  But perhaps the greatest curiosity for me has been the cancelling practices of the company that cancelled the stamp below, with a neatly printed cancel that clearly shows the cancel was applied after the stamp was placed on a document.  Contrast this example with the other examples below from Elgin National Watch Company.  I would have been convinced that these cancels were applied to these stamps while they were still in unused sheets.  The example just below shows otherwise, at least for this particular stamp:

Elgin National Watch Company document fragment showing the cancel was printed once the stamp was applied to the document.


Close up showing second 8 printed on the document.

How were these cancels printed?  Elgin National Watch obviously required the systematic cancelling of a large numbers of stamps on documents, and had the capability to do so.  I do not know whether any complete documents with these stamps and cancels are known.  The fragments don't tell us enough about what type of documents these are.  If someone has a complete ENW document with and 1898 series stamps and cancel, please let us know at 1898revenues@gmail.com.  And if any experts in printing out there know how these cancels might have been applied we would also appreciate an email sent to the same address.


E. N. W. Co.

NOV. 10, 1898
ELGIN, ILL.

Printed cancel, sans-serif font
same date and cancel as on the document fragment above



E. N. W. Co.
JULY 11 1898
ELGIN, ILL.
Printed cancel, sans-serif font
Scan courtesy of Frank Sente


Bob Hohertz sends this scan to complement Frank's piece above.  This item shows the J of July printed on the document.

E.  N.  W.  Co.
ELGIN,  ILL.
----
Oct.  25th,  1900.

Printed cancel, serif font, HH stamp

A future, revised version of the Fullerton catalog should consider the addition of all documentary printed cancels, and should probably include the ENW cancels.  However, it would be important to understand just how these cancels were printed.

**********


Elgin National Watch Company's Father Time logo


Commonly known as the Elgin Watch company, the ENW Co.was founded in 1864. Former associates of the Waltham Watch Company and Chicago watchmaker J.C. Adams had discussed forming the first large watch company in the Midwest, and after a trip to Waltham, Massachusetts, Adams approached former Mayor of Chicago Benjamin Wright Raymond as an investor. Adams and Raymond convinced many others to invest.


The growing young city of Elgin, Illinois, some 30 miles to the northwest, was chosen as factory site. The factory was completed in 1866.  Elgin National Watch stopped producing watches nearly 50 years ago.  The rights to the name "Elgin" were sold to a company called MZ Berger Inc, that specializes in manufacturing its watches in China and distributing them outside the traditional watch dealerships. Elgin-branded watches produced after 1964 have no other connection to Elgin or the Elgin Watch Company.



Elgin National Watch supplied time pieces to the US military and advertised that fact.