I had forgotten that I have a second example of the Merchants National Bank draft that I used in Part 2 of this saga. When I ran across it I hoped that it would shed some light on the use of an extra adhesive, as it has one as well.
This draft was written on October 19, 1898, paying Julia W. Smith twenty-five dollars from the Merchants National account in the Fourth National Bank of New York. Ms Smith endorsed the check over to Rosie E. Robotham, and a battleship stamp was applied to tax this third-party order to pay.
But it doesn't look like that is the correct sequence of events.
It looks like Ms Smith took the draft to the Northampton National Bank and cashed it. The ink of her signature appears to be on top of the handstamp ink, though that might be deceptive. If so, How did Ms Robotham get into the picture at all?
The other problem is that the added battleship was canceled by the Merchants National Bank on October 19, the day the draft was written. Did Ms Smith pick the draft up at the bank and sign it over to Ms Robotham then and there? If so, how did the Northampton National Bank get into the scene? Why wouldn't Ms Smith just cash it at the Merchant's National and hand the money to Ms Robotham, obviating the need for a second stamp?
Let's say that Ms Robotham was not at the bank when the draft was delivered, and Ms Smith didn't want to carry around cash, so she signed it over to Ms Robotham later, who cashed it at the Northampton National (which just happened to put their handstamp above Ms Smith's signature and its ink didn't "take" over the ink of that signature.) Then why did the Merchants National add the battleship on the day it was written? Just in case Ms Smith would later sign it over to someone rather than simply cash it?
Or was the draft mailed to Ms Smith? If so, the extra stamp is even more puzzling, as the bank would have had no idea what Ms Smith was going to do.
The Merchants National Bank drafts have the designation of "ORIGINAL" on the face, and just possibly could have been taxed as inland bills of exchange, but even if they were (and it isn't likely, as they weren't "accepted" by the Fourth National as would have been necessary for a bill of exchange) the tax on an inland bill of exchange payable on sight or demand was the same as for a check or draft so payable.
It isn't likely that banks were tossing around two cents here and two cents there in 1898, so there must be some logic to the presence of these extra stamps on the Merchants National drafts.