It has been a few years since I've searched the web for stock exchange history from the 1898-1902 period. A few days ago, prompted by the new pile of Eames & Moore memos, I discovered, through Google, a volume called The Stock Exchange in Caricature, published in 1904. Like King's Views of The New York Stock Exchange, the volume features brokers, bankers, and players of the New York financial scene. But unlike King's, there are no photos. Instead, we have drawings in caricature, accompanied by what the publisher refers to as "quatrains", but which in many instances are examples of doggerel. Whatever the case, the volume is a rather quaint monument to the egos of those caricatured. I invite you to follow the link and check out the "private collection of caricatures, cartoons, and character sketches of members of the New York Stock Exchange."
Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Monday, March 1, 2021
A few days ago, a package arrived at the front door from David Thompson in Texas with a cache of broker memos. To most this would not be very exciting. But I'm pumped! Dave has retained what must be the pick of pile, but what's left provides a great cross-section of the NYSE in 1900.
Virtually all of the memos are from sales to the brokerage house of Eames and Moore, mostly with $1 and $2 values attached and the occasional $5. Thanks David! Please continue to come to this site to see more in the coming weeks and months.
Friday, February 26, 2021
Readers that know this website well know the tendencies of my 1898 collecting interests. Those interests have not, so far, included proprietary handstamp cancels. The proprietary printed cancels are another matter, and there are many examples of those on this site, and in the future, likely to be many more.
Bob Mustacich's Battleship Revenue Stamps siteAfter being away from the hobby and the site for several years it is exciting to see some of the new work that is going on in the 1898 world, particularly regarding the handstamped proprietaries. Bob Mustacich's Battleship Desk Reference (BDR) has been a go to guide for identifying cancels on the proprietary stamps over the years. But a new project called BDR2 is now underway, led by Bob and a host of contributors including Malcolm Goldstein, Timothy Kohler, Paul Reese, Frank Sente, and Duane Skeen. The new BDR, currently under development and available online, includes images and historical information, providing for a richer experience when viewing and using the database. The historical emphasis of the 1898 Revenues blog, and the work of Malcolm Goldstein that started online here, can now be found in a more rigorous database. Thanks to all of you working on this.
Navigation to the site is not immediately evident for now when going to Bob's site. The best way to find it is to click on the U.S. Revenue Stamps tab at the top of the page. You will get a drop down that includes the above directory if you click on Proprietary, then Battleships, then BDR2. A shortcut is here.
A synopsis of the project is available and a link to the database called "Directory". Once you click on Directory you can find material like that below.
I'm just getting familiar with this new site and project. More later as I begin to link it to some of the work I expect to do here at 1898 Revenues.
Monday, February 22, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
Thursday, February 4, 2021
Sunday, August 28, 2016
Sunday, May 8, 2016
Mr. Housman was J.P. Morgan's primary broker. The memorandum was likely prepared in January 1990, not 1899 as indicated by the date. By 1/3/99, the hyphen hole perforations on these stamps were not in use.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
R163s are found in the book in addition to a few 1cent postage stamps, presumably used when the IR stamps were unavailable.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
"eGraded" as Superb 100 by eGrade, certificate 370. Go out and buy this one right away. And make sure you pay double because the price is so dang low -- hit "Make Offer" and enter 200 bucks you schmuck.
Geez. I figured we wouldn't see much grading with revenue stamps, especially with a stamp that is worth about a tenth of a cent, like an R163 roulette. At least this humble stamp has all sorts of cool incarnations and can be very collectible, given a range of cancels and uses on piece. But this stamp is a prime example of taking that one in a couple of hundred stamps out of a pile of R163s and assigning to it a ridiculous description and price. Like I wrote years ago, this stamp has its high value because of the grade and certificate, not because of its inherent worth as a well centered stamp. The cert is rare. Not the stamp. This is clearly a case of a dealer fishing for suckers. Are you one?
Friday, April 1, 2016
As understood by 1898 Revenues, factors contributing to this decision include:
- Flooding: The APRL is on the bank of a creek with an occasional tendency to flood. By parting with all of the books on the two lowest shelves throughout the library, the remaining books will be an additional 3 feet above potential flood waters compared to present.
- Orthopedic Injuries: As APS members continue to increase in average age, it is much easier for our members to reach the books on the middle and upper shelves without having to strain to access the lower shelves. A recent spike in library users having back surgery has attracted the attention of epidemiologists looking for answers as to why stamp collectors in Bellefonte have made the town an epicenter for orthopedic injuries. The Friend of other Libraries program will help the APRL dodge this unwanted attention.
- Cost Effectivenss: Simply put, the library just isn't very busy anymore. The cost of maintaining the collection is exceeding revenues, and choices have had to be made. By eliminating the bottom two shelves of books, staff time, flood insurance, and library user injury insurance premiums will decline, helping the APRL produce a balanced budget.
Monday, December 1, 2014
Sunday, November 30, 2014
From Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Manufacturing and Mercantile Resources Of The Lehigh Valley, 1881:
These works, located at the corner of Front and Pine streets were established about thirty-years ago and in 1869 were purchased by a company, and have since been kept in operation by them. They are situated on Front street, at the corner of Pine, and are convenient to the Central Railroad or Lehigh Canal. The works occupy a considerable plot of ground, upon which are large and necessary building, together with ample yard room, the whole being supplied with much new and improved machinery fur producing the various specialties of manufacture. The Company are particularly engaged in manufacturing all kinds of rolling mill work, controlling in this branch of its work a large business from the many mills located in the Valley, possessing very superior facilities, they are enabled to compete in this work with any concern in the Valley; and their productions are known over a wide extent of country. All the buildings, including machine shop, foundry, blacksmith shop, pattern building, etc., are substantially erected, the whole forming an active centre of industry. In the various departments of the works there are employed thirty hands, and a twenty-horse power engine furnishes the motive power for running the machinery, much of which ingenious and particularly adapted for the specialty of work for which it is employed.
The Company is composed of several prominent gentlemen, the works being under the direct control of Mr. David Williams, the managing partner, who is thoroughly conversant with the business. The Union Foundry and Machine Company have a well earned reputation for doing first-class, work and are rapidly building up a large trade. They exercise an important influence in the prosperity of the town.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
In the 1990s, in what was essentially a different career life for me, I was an epidemiologist with the World Health Organization in Liberia. The country was in the middle of its civil war, and the health situation in Liberia was a boggling and complex emergency. I gave up that work when I was asked to run The Carter Center office in Liberia. Former President Carter had involved himself with the war's belligerents to help mediate and resolve the conflict, and I ran the Carter Center's front line office in Liberia for two years.
Back to the present. In August the capital city Monrovia was a hot zone. Dead bodies could be found on the streets and the public had become so fearful that public places were abandoned and the streets were quiet. Medical centers were overwhelmed and patients were turned away. Today Monrovia is different. The epidemic has cooled. There are empty beds in the new Ebola Treatments Units. Fewer patients are showing up each day.
But ebola remains, and patients are coming in, just not in the August numbers. In contrast to the quiet city of August, Monrovia in November has come back to life. Public spaces are lively and many can be found in the streets.
While no one is yet certain why there is a trough in the number of ebola patients, it may be because of the healthy dose of fear that drove everybody inside and to keep away from each other. But today, knowing that some people are still carrying the virus in town and in the rural areas, rapid human to human transmission can be reignited. And the life in the streets that I saw today may signal that we could have a new spike of cases in the coming weeks, simply due to increased opportunity for human to human transmission of the virus.
I will be here for several weeks on this trip and may, if time allows, put up another revenue post. But for now I am immersed in the work of renewing relationships with Liberian colleagues and friends on the front lines of the ebola epidemic.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
The Bonbrights were a prosperous east coast family. William P. created an international banking and broking firm with offices in New York, London, and Colorado Springs. The firm would specialize in capitalizing energy projects.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Provident Savings Life cancels have featured on this website over the years. New examples continue to emerge and expand the list of the use of printed cancels on 1898 documentary revenue stamps. The standard reference for documentary printed cancels, the Fullerton List, only covers documentary printed cancels by railroads and express companies. Provident Savings Life and Assurance Company is the only known insurance company to use printed cancels.
In addition to the stamps seen above that are found in my collection, David Thompson sent in a scan of the R170 pair below:
Several years ago I had an email discussion with Frank Sente regarding the status of these cancels and whether they were printed are not. This post from 2010 includes some of that discussion, and the argument was made then that these cancels were printed. The above pair of stamps does a fine job of presenting proof of their status as having been printed, which the orientation and the precision, placement and clarity of the cancels makes clear. One hitch though is that the separation between the cancels is not proportional to the stamp dimensions. The cancel on the right stamp above is centered to the left relative the the stamp on the right.
Below are larger versions of the stamps shown above. I've included three copies of R170 in the stamps above because of color issues with the cancels. There are two red and one black, and between the reds, there is a clear color difference.
A question I have is why these cancels, now shown on many documentary values, are orphans? By orphans I mean their apparent neglect by established collectors and catalogs. Fullerton and others raised the status of the documentary railroad and express printed cancels; while the proprietary printed cancels have always had a special place in the revenue hobby. Where have these stamps and their cancels been? Have they just been ignored? Does anyone know of an old philatelic article on the subject or a collector that may have had a small collection of these?
The small collection above began with the R170, and has been pieced together over several years through multiple purchases and one gift from Bob Hohertz.
I am always looking for new Provident cancels like these, on new stamp values or with new colors. If you have examples, please write email@example.com.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
During my years in the early 80s at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, the town of Zion, Illinois, occasionally came to my attention, as it was north of Evanston just before the Wisconsin state line. But I never gave the town much thought, except that a favorite pop band of mine, Shoes, was based in Zion.
But then a curious 1898 revenue item came my way this past month that brought Zion, Illinois to my considered attention and led me to research the origin of Zion Lace Industries, the town of Zion, and its Christian theocrat and faith healer founder, John Alexander Dowie.
The curious item 1898 item is the interest coupon below:
Interest was paid semi-annually, in January and July, so coupon 12 was year 6 from the certificate's issue date. John Alexander Dowie's newspaper, The Coming City, advertised (see at left) the sale of the preferred share certificates represented by this coupon in December 12, 1900.
$400,000 worth of $100 certs were available, so the above coupon came from certificate 502 out of a total of 4000. Dowie advertised that he would pay increasing amounts of interest over time, yet this coupon and subsequent coupons in my possession indicate he or Zion Lace Industries only paid 6% interest per year as all the semi-annual coupons were exchanged for $3. There may have been a supplementary coupon that paid what the advertisement to the left calls "contingent" interest, but the semi-annual coupons do not provide an indication that the contingent interest was paid.
Dowie's private newspaper advertised a preferred stock issued by the Dowie owned Zion Lace Industries, sold by the Dowie owned Zion City Bank.
Dowie was an extraordinary figure in American history and American Christian Evangelism. When he died in 1907, he had left behind a new city, collapsing under debt, governed under theocratic laws, and totally created and built by Dowie and his followers.
Zion City's lots were first made available to the public in mid-1901, while Dowie and his staff busied with the creation of the skeletal elements of a new city, including laws, streets and public utilities. Ultimately, Dowie had a stroke in 1905 when he was 58 years old, and never fully recovered before his death in 1907. Because of the dire financial circumstances of the city of Zion, Dowie's managers seized control of the enterprise after his stroke and worked to salvage the viability of the city.
But before Dowie became seized with creating a new Christian city in northern Illinois, he had led a life as a Christian faith healer and businessman with a giant vision and ego, going so far as to consider himself the second coming of Elijah.
Dowie was born in Scotland, moved to Australia with his parents, where he became seized with his evangelical and faith healing passion before moving to the United States. He made a major name for himself in the US by setting up operations across from the entrance to the Chicago World's Fair in 1893, where he conducted faith healing services and preached sermons daily.
Through his Christian Catholic Church and his publications like Leaves of Healing, a weekly paper, he criticized doctors, pharmacists, and Freemasons. He espoused flat-earth theory, while preaching that Anglo-Saxons were a lost tribe of Israel, opining that Saxons are Isaac's sons. He pointed out the inevitable since "Isaac's sons" and "I-sax-sons" are homonyms.
For Dowie, Zion Lace Industries was an important business to try to keep Zion City solvent. His project was largely completed, though Zion's insolvency meant that the lace plant was sold to Marshall Field & Company in September 1907, shortly after his death.
Dowie's thinking behend the lace plant can be found in the The Coming City, December 12, 1900, John Alexander Dowie, Editor and Publisher:
As of 2014, Zion City is a secularly governed city. Democracy was not overthrown, and the US Constitution remains the law of the United States.