Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Plate Numbers for the 80 Cent Documentary

Below is a reprise of two images from my last post.  These two 80 cent documentary stamps with the plate numbers 8438 and 8445 represent half of the plates used to print this stamp.  Due to low demand for the 80 cent stamp only four plates were ever produced, in contrast to dozens for the 2 cent documentary. 

The plate numbers used for Scott number R172 were:


All of these numbers can be found on stamps with both roulettes hyphen holes.  This would indicate all four plates were produced early in the life of this series, sometime before Januarly 1900, and that they were not used so frequently that production of new plates was required to replace worn plates. 

Cancels for April: W. E. Dickerson

Over the years of collecting documentary battleship revenues the cancels of certain companies show up in different lots of stamps.  For years I've had the half cent stamp below cancelled by W.E. Dickerson of Binghamton, New York.  Three months ago an Ebay lot arrived with a group of battleship plate number singles with a bunch of W.E. Dickerson cancels.  Before the plate number singles arrived I couldn't determine the origin of the Dickerson cancel, and with their arrival I'm no better.  Whatever the case, here they are, with most of the stamps cancelled in April of 1899.  So while I don't have any cancelled for April 1, here are a whole bunch for the month.

Most of these stamps are plate number singles with part of the margin cut off above or below the plate numbers.  I did not do the cutting.  And I regret to say that I have a many more plate number singles in my collection where a previous owner did this same butchering of the stamps. 

Given the values of the stamps used by this company, particularly the 1/2 cent and the 40 and 80 cent values, I would suspect that the firm issued insurance policies.  Can anybody confirm this?

Cancel for March 31: Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway

L.S. & M.S. Ry
MAR  31   1900

1891 Route map for the LS&MS.  Click on image to get an easier to read version.  The image shows why a south Chicago freight office might be very important for the railroad, since the LS&MS' eastern
freight passed thru south Chicago whether going in or out of the city.  I am not quite sure why, but the map prominently shows the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad to the south of the LS&MS.  The CCC&StL was also known as "The Big Four".

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cancel for March 30: New Hampshire Fire Insurance Company


Ezekiel Straw, a President of the New Hampshire Fire Insurance Company

New Hampshire Fire Insurance Company policy
from the 1870s
image from the online "Museum of Insurance"

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cancel for March 29: John Munroe & Company


R172p Hyphen hole used with visible thinning on the right

An American securities firm with major operations in France. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Blog Update: One Year of 1898 Revenues

 1898 Revenues is one year old today - the first post for
this blog was on March 28, 2009

One year ago this blog started out posting railroad cancels on 2 cent documentary battleships.  There have been many railroad posts in the interim, but there have been forays into all types of cancels and unused stamps as well.  This blog/website is a work in progress and a philatelic experiment:  part exhibit, part recruting and sales tool for the hobby, and part diversion therapy for me.  Initially I was not sure how far this blog could go, maybe several months?  But as the months have progressed I realize that even with the material that I own that I can do this blog for years and not run out of possiblities for posts.   I look forward to months and years of public exploration of these revenue stamps and their cancels.  Today I want to review some of the changes and readership of this site, as well as make a few observations about the hobby.

Changing Styles:  Six months ago this site had a black background.  I thought it made the stamps standout.  But it looked sort of goth.  So I changed the site to a white background for a couple of months.  That seemed sort of dull.  But now this site is yellow with a Spanish-American War battle painting in its title.  My wife likes this scheme.  It will stay for awhile.

Observation on Computers and Stamp Collecting:  Over the past few weeks this site has explored transfer errors for the first time.  As I've corresponded with a veteran collector during this time I've been advised to avoid "fly-specking", and that my usual blog subjects are more interesting.  I do agree with that advice, and you won't see too much on double-transfers and the like on this site, even if battleships are rife with these errors.  But the subject led me to think a bit about technology and the habits and practices of collectors.  This blog has come together because of my reasonably large cancel collection and the power of internet, especially the research capability of the Google search engine.  I can enter an unknown company name from a cancel fragment and usually confirm a company's name and much about its business using Google and the information available on the web.  And I live in east Africa!  If this was 30 years ago and I had my collection with me here in Kenya I would have had few available resources to research the cancels that appear on 1898s.  And as a collector staring at a pile of stamps I might have been inclined to spend time fly-specking and looking for small signs of transfer errors on my stamps. 

But I don't spend any time looking for fly-specks.  Instead I can research history, which I very much enjoy.  But the same technology I use to produce this site, especially my high resolution scanner that can scan up to 1200 dots per inch, is perfect for producing extremely fine closeups of potential transfer errors for examination without a magnifying glass.   Some of the same tools I use for my cancel work are also great fly-specker's tools.  Times change and few people look for transfer errors anymore.  But I find very few if anybody doing their collecting online these days.  By this I mean folks that use the web to enhance their collecting experience, beyond making purchases.  I hope this blog might be an inspiration for some.  This process has really made my collection come alive for me.

Invitation to comment:  Hello!  Anybody out there?  I know I'm not completely alone.  Gentleman and member of the ARA David Thompson has confirmed that for me lately.  But I don't hear from many ARA sorts, whether by email or by comments.  In the next few months I plan to make greater efforts to publicize the existence of this site, and this should increase my hit rate and 1898 collector contact rate. 


1898 Revenues Stats Sheet:
As I did six months ago, I ran some web searches this past week using Google.  Entering the search string listed below into Google, this blog ranked as follows:

1898 Revenues                           #1
Battleship Revenues                    #2
2 Cent Documentary                   #13
1898 Series Revenues                 #1
US Revenue Stamps                   #76
Revenue Cancels                         #28
Proprietary Cancels                     #1
Documentary Cancels                  #1

Translation:  These numbers mean that if you used Google to search the term "documentary cancels" last week, the site 1898 Revenues was at the top of the list of sites, and the term "revenue cancels" was the 28th site on the list produced by Google. 

The site uses a counter to record numbers of page views.  This blog is not a popular site in the grand scheme of things.  Over the past month there have been an average of 40 page views per day, though the average figure has been climbing steadily each month since the counter was first installed over six months ago.  I've never expected this site to be a page view magnet.  After all, the subject is revenue stamps, and only the 1898 series, hardly a subject for a best seller.    But there are some interesting stats that can be pulled from these page view numbers. 

6 months ago this blog didn't even show up in the top 100 for US Revenue Stamps on Google.  This stat has improved, mostly since I blogged about the Castenholz' Christopher West reprint that draws a fair number of hits.

Using internet-speak this site is reasonable "sticky".  Many who come to this site tend to stay.  The below pie-chart illustrates this:

Visit Length

Of the last 500 page views:
73 were by visitors that spent less than 5 seconds on the site (green pie slice)
6 were by visitors that spend from 5 secs to 30 secs on the site (blue pie slice) 
32 were by visitors that spent from 30 secs to 5 mins on the site (lt brown pie slice)
15 were by visitors that spent from 5 mins to 20 mins on the site (yellow brown pie slice)
1 visitor spent from 20 mins to an hour at the site (red pie slice) 
11 visitors spent longer than an hour at the site (yellow pie slice)

The majority of visitors, 73 or 52.9% of the last 500 visitors, spent less than 5 seconds at the site.  This is an interesting category of visitor.  Many are drive bys that quickly realize they are in the wrong place.  But some are site rippers that show up to copy the site as an automated process.  This seems to happen when I post about a big corporation.  For example, hours after I posted the McKesson cancels in the past couple of weeks an automated site ripper paid a visit that was tagged to a McKesson server.  These visits never show up as lasting very long.  I guess they copy what they want so that the humans responsible can later review the comments on a blog like this to make sure we aren't doing anyting that might offend them.

Most interestingly for me is that 8% of my visitors have stayed longer than an hour in total.  A further 10% have stayed between 5 and 20 minutes.  These people tend to come to the site and browse for awhile, and so if you are one of those, welcome and thank you. 

Upcoming:  Over the course of the next six months this site will continue to focus on cancels by date and will begin to examine proprietary printed cancels.  I will review the work of Clarence Chapelle and Morton Joyce and feature companies that issued the cancels.  The Joyce lists will provide organization, and stamps I possess from that list will be posted.  I will then ask for those that have stamps on these lists I don't have to send me images of those stamps, and I will post those images.  See you in the next year!

BTW:  Those of you who follow this blog regularly know that I currently live in Kenya in East Africa.  Today I am in Amboselli National Park with a view of Mount Kilimanjaro out my back window.  There were elephants everywhere on the drive into the park.  Fabulous!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Cancel for March 27: Travelers Insurance Company


Today's incarnation of Travelers Insurance Company, The Travelers Companies, is the largest American Insurance Company by market capitalization.  The original Travelers Insurance Company was founded in 1864 in Hartford, Connecticut, and was the first insurance company to issue car insurance and the first to issue a commercial airline policy.  In 2004,  Travelers Companies merged with the St. Paul Company.  Eventually the firm took the name it has today.

As of today, the entry in Wikepedia for The Travelers Companies has this entry written by an obviously disappointed employee of the independent St. Paul Company:

In 2004, the St. Paul and Travelers Companies merged and renamed itself St. Paul Travelers, with the headquarters set in St. Paul, Minnesota. In truth Travelers Insurance took over the well respected St. Paul Companies and swiftly implemented Travelers "Ideals" over long standing St. Paul Companies policies such as strong ethical practices and dedication to their employees. Despite many assurances that the newly formed company would retain the St. Paul name, the corporate name only lasted until 2007, when the company repurchased the rights to the famous red umbrella logo for millions of dollars from CEO Fishman's executive friends at Citigroup and readopted it as its main corporate symbol, while also changing the corporate name to The Travelers Companies. For the few remaining legacy St. Paul Company employees, they will always be members of the much beloved St. Paul Company family and will NEVER embrace the Travelers philosophies which have come to disappoint many.

I wonder when Traveler's corporate ripper bots are going to identify this criticism and help direct Travelers to rewrite the Wikipedia entry.  It is there today!

The Travelers tower in Hartford, Connecticut, once famous as the tallest office tower outside of New York City.

Cancel for March 27: M. W. V.

M.  W.  V.
Albany,  N.  Y.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cancel for March 25: Victor xxx & Company

VICTOR xxx & CO.
129 Pearl St., N. Y.

Fabulous star ringed circular date stamp.  This address on Pearl Street in New York at the turn of the century was  in the heart New York's coffee district.  While I haven't determined Victor's last name, it is likely his company was in the coffee trade.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cancel for March 24: Grand Rapids and Indiana Railway

G.  R.  &  I.
MAR  24  1899
RY.   CO.

The Grand Rapids and Indiana provided passenger and freight services between Cincinnati and the Straits of Mackinac.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cancel for March 22: J. Colhoun

   J.  COLHO

Purple ink, doubled cancel, no date, waffle impression in stamp. 
Likely a cancel for a "J. Colhoun". 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cancel for March 21: A. M. Kidder & Company

A.  M.  KIDDER  &  CO.

At the time of this cancel, A.M. Kidder was a major handler and marketer of railroad securities.

Founded in 1865 as Kidder, Hinckley, and Warren, securities firm Kidder ceased operations when its assets were sold off in 1963.  It was one of Wall Streets largest and oldest NYSE member firms when it closed.  Kidder became the first Wall Street firm to have a female Chairman of the Boad and President when Josephine Bay was named to these posts in 1956.  Within one year of her death from Leukemia her successor, C. Michael Paul, sold Kidder to the NYSE firms Reynolds and Company and Francis I. DuPont and Company.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cancel for March 20: G. T. Company

Used R166p 4 Cent Documentary

G.  T.  CO.

Likely a cancel for a securities firm.  What do the initials stand for?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Cancel for March 18: James A. Webb & Son

New York

From the Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County New Jersey. Illustrated. Vol. II., Lewis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1899, pp1-6:

The history of the United States is best told in the story of the lives of its individual citizens. The aggregate of such lives is the national life exemplified under free institutions. An individual is best studied in the environment of his residence, where the observations and opinions of neighbors receive and retain his conduct for good or evil as a sensitized plate does the image cast upon it. Judged by such a test, the life of the subject of this sketch is readily written, and worthy of permanent record and careful storing as an aggressive force for good, socially, morally and civilly.

A common test of success is the acquisition of wealth. The true test, however, of its power for good or evil lies in its distribution. Money is power, and the individual who has gathered wealth and applied his acquisitions to the elevating of mankind is a public benefactor. Such a man is James Augustus Webb, a prominent resident of New Jersey, and a leader in the business life of the American metropolis for many years. He belongs properly upon that roll of honored American citizens whose efforts contribute to the general prosperity of the community.

Mr. Webb was born in Chenango county, New York, in the town of Norwich, February 3, 1830, a son of Augustus Van Horn and Phoebe (Baker) Webb, of New York city. Orange Webb, the father of Augustus Van Horn Webb, was a prominent merchant and ship-owner in New York, and resided at No. 19 Maiden Lane, opposite Little Green street, now known as Liberty street. He was an elder in the old brick church at the corner of Nassau and Beekman streets, Rev. Gardiner Spring, D. D., being its pastor. Orange Webb had two sons, Augustus Van Horn and David; and his daughters were Catherine C., who became the wife of Rensselaer Havens, of New York city; Fannie, wife of Rev. Alexander G. Fraser, who formerly lived in New York, but, being the heir to the Lovett estate in Scotland, removed to that country in or about 1830; and Sarah A., wife of James H. Leverich, whose business interests connected him with both New York and New Orleans, he being a very prominent man in the commercial circles of the latter city.

Augustus Van Horn Webb was reared in New York city, and in early life engaged in the dry-goods business. He removed to Norwich, Chenango county, New York, in 1830, and engaged in the manufacture of woolen goods. From his father he inherited considerable inventive genius, and during his residence in Norwich he invented a fluid and lamp for lighting purposes, ' a substitute for candles and whale-oil, then in general use for illuminating. In 1836 he resumed his residence in New York city, and about that time he invented "Camphene," and a lamp known thereafter throughout the world as "Webb's burner." He established many branches or agencies of his main business house in various cities of the United States, his main establishment being at 418 Broadway, northeast corner of that and Canal streets. For several years his enterprises were attended with success, but afterward he met with financial reverses, causing the loss of much of his accumulated wealth. He retired from active business ripe in years, and died, honored and beloved y all who knew him.

In writing the personal history of James A. Webb we record the career of one who has attained success in business along the tried lines of honorable effort, indefatigable energy and perseverance. Educated at the academy of Barry & Lockword, at 411 Broadway, he began his business career with his father, where he remained but a few months. In August, 1843, he entered the establishment of Messrs. Doremus, Suydam & Nixon, wholesale dry-goods merchants, located at the corner of Nassau and Liberty streets, opposite the old South Dutch church. There he continued faithful to the interests of his employers until August, 1848, when he entered the employ of Arnold, Southworth & Company, wholesale jobbers and importers of fancy goods. He was the accountant for this firm for some five years, when, in March, 1853, notwithstanding that his prospects for admission as a partner were most flattering, he gave up his position in order to embark in business on his own account. His father, though in failing health, rendered valuable assistance to the young man in his new undertaking, which consisted in the refining of camphene and alcohol and the manufacture of burning fluid, the elder man having invented some important improvements in the production of the articles of commerce mentioned. Our subject built and operated refineries in Newark, New Jersey, and in New York city, and in 1855 he occupied a store at No. 165 Pearl street, in the last named city. He is still located there and is pursuing the same business as in former years, with his accustomed energy and success. Considering the changes necessary upon the conduct of business in the metropolis, the instances are rare where a firm has continued in one location in the same line of business, successively and successfully, for forty-four years.

As Mr. Webb in his early business years proved faithful and loyal to his business superiors, so, in his later life, he has always entertained a proper regard for his own employes, recognizing their manhood and ability, and providing for them when, by reason of impaired health or advancing years, they are incapacitated for further active service. It is quite true to state that a clerk has never left his employ, to receive better treatment or higher compensation, and it has often occurred that, when an employe of his has found opportunity to enter business upon his own account, he has found in Mr. Webb a wise counselor, and received at his hands substantial assistance. With Mr. Webb business has never been a trade, but rather a profession, in which the test was not time service, but a hearty and wholesome loyalty to entrusted interests, which served to develop all that was best in the individual, and tended to develop all that is best in manhood.

Mr. Webb continued his residence in New York city until 1852, when he removed to Madison, where he has been well known for many years. He was married there to Margaretta Baker, a daughter of Jacob and Anna Maria (Brittin) Baker. Mrs. Webb is a native of Westfield, New Jersey. The two children of Mr. and Mrs. Webb are Ella Cebra and James Augustus. The daughter was educated at Vassar College and is now the wife of Edward Packard Holden, of Madison, who for twenty-four years has been connected with the Mutual Life Insurance Company, of New York city. They have three daughters and one son, namely: Margaretta Webb, Eleanor Sanford, Edward Packard and Elizabeth Cebra. The son, James Augustus, Jr., was born in New York city, July 11, 1859, and graduated in Princeton College with high honors, a member of the class of 1881. He was very popular in college and there associated with many who have attained brilliant positions in professional and business life. While pursuing his education James Augustus passed the months of his vacation in his father's office, gaining a practical knowledge of business methods, and upon completing his collegiate course he entered the establishment as corresponding clerk. In 1884 he was admitted to a partnership in the business, under the firm name of James A. Webb & Son, displaying an energy, enterprise and discretion in its management that rapidly won him recognition and commendation among leading business men generally. He was a young man of broad, humanitarian principles and sympathy and was active in church and benevolent work. The poor found in him a friend, bestowing his gifts in such a manner as not to destroy the self-respect of the one who received assistance. His kindly tact and sympathy were as marked as his beneficence, and many have reason to remember him with gratitude for his timely aid. He was a lover of music and found one of his chief sources of pleasure through that art.

In December, 1885, James Augustus Webb, Jr., married Miss Nellie Sanford Packard, a daughter of Davis S. and Eleanor Packard. It was on the 6th of April, 1887, that the useful and noble career of this worthy young man was ended by death. His loss in every honorable walk of life ' in business, in social circles, in the home and in Christian work ' has been most keenly felt.

"His life was noble and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, 'This was a man.'"

His father, in commemoration of his upright career and devotion to all that is truest and best, erected in Madison a beautiful memorial known as the Webb Memorial Chapel, a fitting monument to one whose every act was prompted by a lofty purpose.

Postcard of Webb's Memorial Chapel, Madison, NJ

James A. Webb, Sr., also is active in the work that develops the character and lifts man from the sordid things of life to "a purer and broader view." He was one of the organizers of the Young Men's Christian Association of Madison, and was its second president. He continues in his efforts to promote its interests. A life-long member of the Presbyterian church, he has been treasurer of his home church and was superintendent of the Sunday-school for more than thirty years, and has ever labored earnestly for the advancement of Christianity among men. His belief, too, is evidenced in those practical efforts wherein assistance is rendered in tangible form ' gifts to those who fail to secure success and the advancement of various interests that contribute to the material welfare, the aesthetic culture and the happiness of the individual. In this way he has been instrumental in promoting the interests of Madison.

The commercial activity of any city contributes to the welfare of all its citizens, and realizing this truth Mr. Webb has been an active factor in promoting a number of her enterprises. He is a director and vice-president of the First National Bank of Madison; was one of the organizers and directors of the Morristown Trust Company; a director of the Safe Deposit Company of Morristown, a member of the Washington Association of Morris county, and is interested in several banking and trust institutions in the city of New York, and is a director and officer in several large manufacturing concerns in that city.

In his political affiliations Mr. Webb has been a stalwart Republican since the organization of that party, and has been a conspicuous figure in local and state politics. Though frequently urged to become a candidate for office, both state and national, he has steadily refused, and will accept no political office, having served only in positions in Madison when he felt that his duties of citizenship demanded his services. He was a Harrison elector in 1892, and has served as commissioner of appeals of Madison and Chatham townships for more than a quarter of a century. Mr. Webb was closely identified with the formation of Madison borough, resulting in the establishing of first-class water works and the installing of an electric-light plant of the very best order. Through his personal efforts and guaranty, the benefits of a metallic-circuit telephone exchange are now enjoyed by the citizens of Madison. In short, whenever co-operative effort will inure to the benefit of his fellows, Mr. Webb is always at the front. He is the owner of a large amount of town property. His own home is located on High and Prospect streets, Madison, in the midst of ample grounds, standing on an eminence which commands a splendid view of the surrounding country.

Mr. Webb's prominence in the business world has made him well known by reputation throughout the country. He is a familiar figure in Washington and in New York, and, among his friends are some of the most distinguished statesmen of the capital city, the most celebrated representatives of the Congress and the most prominent business men of the country, and he is accorded that honor and respect everywhere given to true worth. The world instinctively pays deference to the man whose success has been worthily achieved, who has attained wealth by honorable business methods, acquired by merit the highest reputation in his chosen calling, and whose social prominence is not the less the result of an irreproachable life than of recognized natural gifts.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Re-Entries, Double Transfers, and Shifts: Illustrations for Comparison

A few days ago a stamp was featured here that showed extensive signs of either reentry or a shift.  Over the past couple of days I've worked on how to manipulate the images to compare against a "normal" stamp. 

Left stamp with "error", right stamp normal

Left stamp with "error", right stamp normal

I am studying the literature I have to understand whether from the evidence shown in the illustrations on the left there is a shift or evidence of reentry.  Helpful comments are welcome.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cancel for March 17: McKesson and Robbins

McK.  &  R.
MAR  17  1899

McKesson and Robbins handstamp cancel on R164 2 cent documentary

McK.  &  R.
NOVEMBER,  1898.

McKesson and Robbins printed cancel on RB29 3 3/4 cent proprietary

McKesson and Robbins used printed cancels on many stamps of the proprietary series, on multiple values and with multiple dates.  An exploration of those cancels is pending on this site.

McKesson and Robbins is today known as the McKesson Corporation (NYSE: MCK) and is the largest health care company in the world.  2009 sales were $106.6 billion.  Today the firm's headquarters are in San Francisco.  The firm was founded in New York City in 1833 by Charles Olcott and John McKesson.  A third partner joined later and the firm's name was changed to McKesson and Robbins after Olcott died in 1853. 

McKesson experienced a scandal of Enron proportions in the 1930s.  The firm was taken over by a man named Phillip Musica operating under the alias F. Donald Coster.  He was a twice convicted felon who used his brothers to create a shell company to which he directed bogus payments.  By the time the fraud was discovered, $20 million of $87 million in assets on McKesson and Robbins' books were bogus.

Today McKesson is one of the oldest continually operating corporations in the United States.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Example of Extensive Re-Entry Marks on a 2 Cent Battleship Documentary

At the end of the of the documentary battleship listings in the Scott Specialized Catalog (after R172) is a little note that says: "Numerous double transfers exist on this issue."  Battleship stamps have long been the stepchildren of US revenue stamps.  And here is more proof.  First issue double transfers in some cases get their own listing in the catalog.  For the battleships, Scott just says there are a bunch of 'em.  And there are.  Philatelic literature abounds with illustrations of these "errors", especially on the 2 cent documentary.  Today this blog will consider one example. 

Retired Master Sargent David Thompon of Nevada sent a great image of a plate screw head in the margin of a 1 cent proprietary a week ago which I posted on this site.  A couple of days ago he sent a few stamps for my inspection by snail mail including the 2 cent documentary below he suspects as having evidence of a triple transfer.  I am not much of an expert or even amateur in these kinds of re-entries, whether they are double or triple transfers or a shift of any kind.  As a collector I am mostly interested in what I call macro-issues, like cancels and the companies that made them.  Closely examining 100s if not thousands of R164s to ID shifts and extra transfers is not where I naturally gravitate.  However, though I am not driven by the process of discovery with these kinds of plate varieties, I am more than happy to examine a confirmed specimen like the one below.  And David is certainly right about this stamp showing reentry marks.  They cover the stamp on the left, right, bottom and beyond.  Whether this is an example of a triple transfer, I don't know.  But I do have some literature on this subject for R164s available to me, and now I have a reason to read it carefully. 

Below I will show the full stamp and some close ups of the stronger reentry markings.  I have scanned this stamp at 800 dpi allowing sharp and clear enlargements of sections of the stamp.

R164 2 cent documentary with re-entries

Upper left 2.  See the red lines and dashes within
the white field of the 2.

T, E, and D with reentry marks

Reentry signs everywhere here, but most striking in each E, particularly the last
E which looks mangled.

Overall blurry appearance.  There is a small dash on the left
corner outside the frame line

I could have created graphics with arrows showing the greatest areas of evidence of multiple transfers, but the images themselves are the best evidence.  You can click on each image to see a much larger version.

There is literature available on transfers and shifts on the battleships, especially the 2 cent documentaries.  The American Revenuer ran an extensive series on 2 cent documentary reentries by Warren L. Bosch starting with the May 1983 issue and continuing through January 1984 for over 20 pages of narrative with illustrations. 

In 1981, Bosch came upon a trove of roughly 5000 cashiers checks in sequential order from a bank in South Dakota that was moving from its original building.  These checks bore the 2 cent battleship.  He worked to reconstruct the panes/sheets using check sequences, centering, watermark fragments and perf matching.  And then he proceeded to examine the stamps for reentries.  If you are interested in battleship reentries this series is a must.  Write the APRL if you don't have access to old copies of the American Revenuer. 

Bosch's masterful work didn't include a full literature review for reentries though, and he comments on the lack of such material, only referring to the work of George Black in Weekly Philatelic Gossip from 1938 to 1940.  Bosch missed what can be easily found these days using Riley's Fiscal Philately Handbook, which is an index of articles in the literature for revenue items.  Using Riley's index I have a stack of articles from the Bureau Specialist from the 40s and 50s in which the Bureau Specialist's revenue chairman, C. Brinkley Turner devotes columns to battleships and to reentries and plate markings of all kinds.  July 1949, March 1950, and December 1950 editions focus on the 2 cent battleship. 

Page 160 from the July 1949 Bureau Specialist highlighting
reentry marks and other plate markings like layout lines. 
The original is also a bit blurry.  The Bureau Specialist is now the US Specialist.

Turner and Bosch both show multiple examples of reentries though neither show a stamp with as extensive reentry markings as Mr. Thompson's stamp above. 

There might be more literature out there on reentries but the Brinkley Turner and Warren Bosch material is a good place to start.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cancel for March 14: New York Central & Hudson River Railroad

N. Y. C. & H. R. R. R. CO.

The New York Central made itself famous for its water level route to the midwest, with trackage running north from New York City paralleling the Hudson River and then turning west to Buffalo once it reached Albany.  The route was reasonably flat and straight and allowed for low torque locomotives designed for swift travel.  The NYC's main competitor for east-west traffic was the Pennsylvania Railroad, but the PRR ran through the mountains of Pennsylvania, requiring locomotives designed to lug up moutains and hills. 

The NYC linked up with the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railroad, controlled like the NYC by the Vanderbilts, in Buffalo, allowing this system to move traffic to and from Chicago.

1901 NYC&HRR Route Map

The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad's
Empire State Express featured on Scott #295.  This stamp first
appeared in 1901.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Cancel for March 13: Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad

Printed corporate initials, handstamped date:

C., B. & Q. R. R. Co.
MAR   13   1899

1898 CB&Q RR Route Map

The CB&Q ran from Chicago out to the American heartland, and remained one of America's greatest railroads well into the 20th century before a series of mergers led to today's status as a named partner in one of America's largest railroads, the BNSF (the B came from Burlington).  The BNSF is now the property of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway.

Early in the life of this blog I broke down the components of the current BNSF using 1898s cancelled by BNSF antecedent companies.  I will do a quick review here of some of the historical component parts of Mr. Buffet's company:

B. & M. R. R. R.
JAN 14 1899

The Burlington and Missouri River Railroad in Nebraska was merged to and became an important component of the CB&Q in the early 20th century.

G. N. R. R.   W. F. S.

The Great Northern Railroad was "Empire Builder" James J. Hill's great creation.  The GNRR ran from Minneapolis St. Paul out to the Pacific and it mainline also ran into Chicago.  The GNRR would eventually take over its competitor and ever financially troubled Northern Pacific.  The merger of the pair with the CB&Q would create the railroad the Burlington Northern.  Much later the BN would combine with the railroad commonly known as the Santa Fe to create the BNSF.

The A. T. & S. F. Ry. Co.
SEP   12

The Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe is an American railroad of legend.  Its merger with the Burlington Northern would complete the creation of the current BNSF with all of its major components in place.


On November 3, 2009, Berkshire Hathaway announced that it would acquire the remaining 77.4% of BNSF that it didn't already own for $100 per share in cash and stock  The total deal was valued at $44 billion.  On February 12, 2010, shareholders of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation voted in favor of the acquisition.