Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Battleship Proprietary Printed Cancels: G. H. Mumm and the Joyce/Chappell Lists

Three weeks ago Dave Thompson emailed the images of two proprietary stamps with cancels from a G. H. M. & Co. to confirm that these cancels are from the French Champagne firm Mumm.  Those images are below.  Dave is right.  The cancels are from Mumm, a firm that still exists and produces fine Champagne today.  One indication that these are by Mumm other than the initials and the prominent "FRANCE" in the cancel is that the stamps are one and two cent proprietaries.  The proprietary tax extended to sparkling wines, and they were taxed at a rate of one cent for less than a pint and two cents for more.  So each of these stamp values would have been required by Mumm for its products.  Pharmaceutical or medicine manufacturers rarely used the one and two cent stamps.

There has been a great deal of work by philatelists regarding proprietary printed cancels like those of G.H. Mumm.  Franklin Smith, Clarence Chappell, and Morton Dean Joyce had extensive collections of printed cancels and published articles about these cancels and lists of the companies that issued them.  But all of these gentleman conducted the bulk of their work on these cancels in the early to mid-20th century, and there has been little high profile work since.  An American Revenue Association publication in the 1950s edited and written in part by Morton Dean Joyce is the last major work on the subject, but it is a very effective tool for guiding and organizing a collection of these cancels. 

Cover of the Morton Dean Joyce/Clarence Chappell
proprietary printed cancel lists published by the ARA.
The original cover was light blue.

A copy of this publication can be borrowed by mail from the American Philatelic Research Library if you are a member of the American Philatelic Society.  As mentioned in a previous post, the Battleship Desk Reference  is a more current publication that presents extensive research and a major database that helps collectors identify handstamp cancels on proprietaries.  But the work of Mustacich and Giacomelli does not cover the printed cancels.

In the Joyce/Chappell publication you will find lists by company of the printed cancels on the proprietary battleships.  There is much detail and the lists are extensive, if not exhaustive.  At the time of the publication of this list, Mr. Joyce was calling for members of the American Revenue Association to send in evidence of cancels not yet listed so they could be incorporated.  If he produced a more complete list it was never published. 

Mr. Joyce's 2 page introduction to the volume is included below.  Click on the images to see a larger and readable version. 

Internet technology, with the ability to post images and get information returned in real time might make the compilation of a new and more complete list much easier than 50 years ago when Mr. Joyce last made the attempt to update Clarence Chappell's original lists.  However, it is unclear how many collectors there are out there who possess this material, know and understand it, and are conversant enough with using the web to facilitate this enterprise.  For now here is Mr. Joyce's introduction to his lists, and below I will work through identifying where Dave Thompson's G. H. Mumm stamps fall in the listings. 

Joyce mentions early members of the ARA and collectors of these cancels in the intro above, names like Tolman, Imbler, and Chappell.  Some of my material comes from Henry Tolman's collection, which went up for sale by Robert Siegel approximately 3 years ago.  From what I can tell that material has been in Mr. Tolman's closed binders for the past couple of decades without them ever being opened.  There are notes between Mr. Joyce and Henry Tolman included in one of the Tolman binders.  Now that the binders are open again this site will explore printed cancels. 

Back to Dave Thompson's Mumm cancels.  Below is the section of the Joyce listings for G.H. Mumm Company.  It is impossible to read the image below.  It can be downloaded for a full size version by clicking on the list.  Lists of cancels for other companies look the same throughout this volume.  In order to make the list more usable I will also type out sections in order to highlight examples of cancels listed and compare them against the list. 

The list above is quite possibly a complete list for all cancels produced by G.H. Mumm, with the exception for a few dates, and those can be logically inferred to exist, and by example, proven to exist.  How does this list work?

Joyce breaks the Mumm cancels into three different types, and I will use Mr. Joyce's exact language:

Type 1: Three line horizontal printed cancelation in serif type, with the initials above, "FRANCE" in the second line, and theyear in a smaller font, below.  "Co." is in upper and low case letters.
Ed. note: This type has a year date only, no month or day.  The tax law originally was unclear about what type of date was required.  By late 1898 it was clarified that day an month were required in the cancel and year date only cancels were stopped.

Type 2:  Four line horizontal printed cancelation.  The first three lines are the same as in type 1, with the day and month in figures, added below.

Ed. note:  There is only one example of this type, date January 27, 1899.  My guess is that this is a transitional cancel as Mumm switched from year date only cancels to day/month/year cancels.  Later Mumm cancels would only be dated on the first of the month.  This is the only Mumm cancel not dated on the first, and is the only Mum cancel using for lines.  Tolman notes this particular cancel as a rarity in pencil next to his copy of the stamp.

Type 3:  Three line horizontal printed cancelation.  The first two lines are the same as in type 1, with the date, in figures, added below.

Ed note:  Mumm used printed cancels on these stamps through the full tax period that ceased with the cancel date March 1, 1902.  Most of Mumm's cancels used a type 3 style, dated the first of each month, so that Mumm only produced one printed cancel date per month, with the exception of January 1899 in which it prented a type 2 cancel and a type 3.

1 cent proprietary with March 1, 1901 Mumm printed cancel
2 cent proprietary with December 1, 1900 Mumm printed cancel
It should be noted that the date is ordered not using an American date protocol but a  French one, with the format day/month/year.

So according the the Joyce/Chappell typology, both of Dave's stamps above are type 3s, and used the red and blue inks as also noted in the list. 

According to the list, Mumm printed type 1 1898 dated cancels on the 1 and 2 cent stamps, for two collectable types.  Mumm printed the type 2 cancel using only one date (1/27) on only the 1 cent stamp for a single collectable type.  And Mumm printed type 3 cancels using 36 dates on the one cent stamp, and 30 dates on the two cance stamp, creating 66 collectable types.  The list, however is short of a few dates, and those will be pointed out in the posts over the next week or so. 

For now, here are examples of Joyce/Chappell's three types:

 G. H. Mumm printed cancel type 1

G. H. M. & Co.

G.H. Mumm printed cancel type 2

G. H. M. & Co.

G. H. Mumm printed cancel type 3

G. H. M. & Co.
1/7  1899

Georges Hermann of Mumm, Head of the House of Mumm from 1852 to 1876

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