Sunday, September 28, 2014

Documentary Printed Cancels: Dr. Fahrney & Son

Dr Fahrney's shop window display
Library of Congress 

Dr. Fahrney, like Mrs. Winslow, liked to make medicine from morphine.  One of the pusher's, excuse me, Doctor's, favorite active ingredients was morphine.  And the company put it in products like Dr. Fahrney's teething syrup.  Nothing like a 2 year old junkie.  The 1898 tax period became a peak period for these companies, just before the crash induced by the progressive era and pure food and drug laws.

We are now left with the remnants of these companies.  Bottle collectors that contained these nostrums stay busy with Dr. Fahrney & Son's material.  And revenue collectors the same.  In the case we have today, Frank Sente and Ron Lesher sent in scans of Dr. Fahrney cancels.  The 5/8 cent stamp immediately below would be expected: a proprietary stamp that was used on a proprietary medicine bottle.  But below the proprietary stamp is Ron Lesher's find of a 1/2 cent documentary stamp with a similar Dr. Fahrney cancel.

Dr. Fahrney & Son
2 23 1899.
Hagerstown,  Md.

Sente scan

Dr. Fahrney & Son
8  9  1900
Hagerstown,  Md.

Lesher scan

Why did Dr. Fahrney produce printed cancels on 1/2c documentaries?  One theory is that they might have been used on combination with 1/8c proprietary stamps to produce a 5/8 cent total.  Whatever the case, we now have another documentary printed cancel, and one that joins the series that includes stamps canceled by proprietary medicine companies.  

In the coming day, there will be a post on Charles E. Cornell, who also used printed cancels on 5/8 cent stamps, and appears to have done the same on 1/2 cent documentaries.

Thanks to Frank and Ron for sending these scans several years ago.  I finally pulled them out of the warehouse after matching the C.E.C. proprietary and documentary cancels for Charles Cornell, and I figure we might have a pattern of some kind.

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