Saturday, August 30, 2014

E. S. Wells: Another Documentary Printed Cancel

The pursuit of documentary printed cancels continues.  Today is presented a new cancel to me from the proprietary medicine firm E. S. Wells.  The term medicine here is used somewhat loosely, as the firm was well known for making a rat poison it called "Rough on Rats".

The firm used printed cancels on proprietary stamps, and used what appears to be the same canceling plate on 2 cent documentary stamps, likely for their use on checks.  Blocks that include the manuscript-style red printed cancel are illustrated here on the 5/8c proprietary and the 2c documentary.  In both cases it appears the 1898 plate was used.  But for the 2c, part of the second 8 has been removed so that the number more closely resembles a 9.  If anybody has an example of an E. S. Wells 2c documentary on a check, please write or send a scan of the check to  We'll post the scan here.

E. S. Wells
JUL  11

E. S. Wells

The last 8 in 1898 has had the lower left portion of the number planed off to resemble a 9

Sheet music cover the E. S. Wells smash hit, Rough on Rats

From Matt Reynolds, in a comment at the East Carolina Digital Collection website:

"The Wells Company, based in Jersey City New Jersey, offered a wide range of products including Rough on Corns, Rough on Itch, Rough on Toothache, and Wells’ Health Renewer. Wells promoted all of the company products far and wide in both newspapers and via advertising cards. He even produced a Rough on Rats song touting the effectiveness of the poison, which included the chorus: “R-r-rats! Rats! Rats! Rough on Rats, Hang your dogs and drown your cats: We give a plan for every man to clear his house with Rough on Rats” Sadly, some purchasers of the product chose to misuse it both to take their own lives and to take the lives of others. The most notorious case of the latter was the poisoning of Ada Appelgate by her husband Everett Appelgate and his mistress Frances Creighton. Both were convicted of murder in 1936 and were sent to the electric chair at New York’s Sing-Sing prison shortly after.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

2014 Minnesota Stamp Show

The 2014 Minnesota Stamp Show was the site of the American Revenue Association annual meeting this year.  The timing of my annual leave this summer coincided with the show, and I managed to be in St. Paul and attend the show for a few hours on Friday and Sunday, even making the Friday night Association dinner.  I had the opportunity to meet many members for the first time, and see others for the first time in several years.  

 Frank Sente and your correspondent with his 1898 Revenue on-document use exhibit and his many honors, including the show Grand.

Active contributors to this site over the years exhibited 1898 material at the show and experienced top level success.  Frank Sente rolled out the on-document exhibit that he originally showed in Minnesota 3 years ago; this time it won the show grand.  Bob Hohertz showed his Revenue Stamp paper material and took Reserve Grand, and Herman Ivester received a single frame gold for his St. Louis Provisional material.

I look forward, if timing permits, to future Minnesota Stamp Shows!  It was great this year seeing old faces again and meeting new people. 


Frank Sente

A Fiscal History of the US Documentary Taxes 1898 - 1902:
Show Grand
Best Revenue Exhibit
Show Gold

Bob Hohertz

Revenue Stamp Paper of the Spanish-American War Tax Period:
Show Reserve Grand
Show Gold

Herman Ivester

The St. Louis Proprietary Provisionals - July 1898
Show Single Frame Gold

Bob Mustacich

The Rare Bookends of the 1898-1899 Documentary Revenues
Show Silver-Bronze

Bob Hohertz was also recognized in the single frame category for his 1932 check tax exhibit.

Bob Hohertz and his show Reserve Grand.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

1898 Revenues is Back?

As many readers may have noticed, your correspondent has not updated this site or been active for quite awhile.  Due to circumstances, some beyond my control, some having do to do with the weight of other obligations, and some having to do with lost momentum, 1898 Revenues has been dormant.

I'm now in the process of deciding how to handle future publishing targets.  The previous grind of nearly daily posts won't return for awhile.  Outside obligations remain intense, if not as great as in the past year or so.  Look forward to fewer posts than in the past. But there should be at least several posts a month, and when inspired, more than several.

Good to be back.