Wednesday, June 30, 2010

July 1, 1898: First Day of the War Tax, and Time to Print Cancels!

Some proprietary product manufacturers cancelled many stamps with the date of the first day of the tax period.  The firms H.E. Bucklin and Dr. Jayne and Sons clearly cancelled enough stamps with the date July 1, 1898, that they were using the stamps with those cancels far beyond the actual date of the cancel. 

Again, from the former collection of Henry Tolman are examples from these two companies.  Each of the pages below show only cancels from July 1, 1898, with multiple types from each company for July 1.  Mulitples for the Dr. Jayne and Son cancels show how multiple fonts were used within the same sheet.  

H. E. Bucklin  July 1, 1898 cancels

Dr. Jayne & Son  July 1, 1898 cancels

July 1 1898, The Spanish American War: The Rough Riders Storm San Juan Hill

The first day of the revenue tax supporting the Spanish American War was also the date of the best known battle of the war.  The Rough Rider's charge up San Juan Hill, Frederic Remington's famous depiction of the scene, and Teddy Roosevelt's role in the charge have made the event almost as well known as the explosion and sinking of the battleship Maine.

Frederic Remington's famous painting of the charge

San Juan Hill and Kettle Hill (which is the subject of the title art of this blog) are part of the San Juan Heights.

The battle on this day made the career of Teddy Roosevelt.  When he returned to the United States he was soon elected Governor of New York, and soon after that, nominated to be McKinley's running mate. 

Auctions: R163 one cent documentary block of 100 with IGNRR printed cancels

I regret that I did not save an image of this block, but Eric Jackson's self administered June auction was closed yesterday evening and the sale included a 10x10 block of one cent battleships with I&GNRR printed cancels.  The item sold for $376, a good price for the buyer who would use it for the showpiece that it is. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cancel for June 30: Argonaut Oil and Mining Company

AO&M Co.

Manuscript cancel of Ellis LeMaster, Secretary of the Argonaut Oil and Mining Company.  Stamp part of a block of 4 from a stock certificate.

Argonaut Oil and Mining Company block of 4 from original stock certificate.  The tax on stock transactions was 5 cents for each $100 of value of stock; $2.00 in documentary stamps would have paid the tax on $4000 worth of stock.  See the certificate below.

Full Stock Certificate.  Certificate can be viewed in full by clicking on the cert and downloading the image.
$2.00 in stamps paid the tax on the $4,000 transaction.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cancel for June 29: June 29, 1898 Bill of Lading

Yes, June 29, 1898.  Frank Sente sends in this Bill of Lading from the West Shore Railroad of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad for a shipment by the Jacob Hoffman Brewing Company of New York.  The BOL was filled out and a tax stamp applied two days before the tax went into effect.  Not only was the tax stamp not needed, but there were few of the battleship stamps printed and distributed by June 29.  So this is a very unusual and interesting item.

West Shore RR and New York Central and Hudson River Railroad bill of lading for 70 half barrels and 75 quarter barrels of lager beer produced by Jacob Hoffman Brewing Company

Every bill of lading during the official tax period which started July 1, 1898, required a one cent documentary tax stamp

Frank Sente reportes that "by 1898 Hoffman was shipping beer upriver to Rondout(Kingston,NY) from his NYC brewery likely to supply his operation there that serviced daytrippers from NYC to Kingston Park."

Jacob Hoffman's Oriental Brewery letterhead

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cancel for June 27: Manistee and North-Eastern Railroad

Obscured cancel for the Manistee and North-Eastern RR.

The Manistee and North-Eastern Railroad was a short line in the U.S. state of Michigan. Organized in 1887, The railroad served the northwestern quarter of Michigan's Lower Peninsula in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The railroad's main line stretched from Manistee to Traverse City.  The railroad was originally built to help exploit the old-growth timber resources in its region. Logs were carried to mills in Manistee.

The Manistee and North-Eastern was consolidated into the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in 1955.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cancel for June 26: Fireman's Fund Insurance Company

F. F. INS.  CO.
JUN  26  1900

R163 1 cent documentary

JUL  12  1900

California-based Fireman's Fund Insurance still exists today and provides coverage to individuals and businesses all over the world.  Today the company is owned by the German firm Allianz. 

Fireman's Fund was named for an early arrangement in the firm's history when it paid 10% of its profits to the widows and orphans of firefighers.  It no longer strictly tithes 10%  though the corporate website boasts that the company still maintains a social mission to proved support to fire departments across the country.

The company issued the world's first airplane policy.

Auctions: Harmer Schau Sale 86, Lot 869 - Battleship Printed Cancels

Interesting lot under BOB collections in the current Harmer Schau sale.  It is listed as a collection of battleship proprietary cancels but it has some very interesting documentary printed cancels too.  Find the lot here.

One page of documentary printed cancels is posted online:

The image is low res and grainy by this blog's standards, but it is clear enough to show the printed cancels of 4 different railroads. 

Proprietary material is available too:

Opening or current bid (I am not sure which) is $2900. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cancel for June 23: New Home Sewing Machine Company

Orange, Mass.

The New Home Sewing Machine Co was formed in 1882 at Orange, Massachusetts, following the reorganization of the Gold Medal Sewing Machine Co. Their machines were sold using many marques. It has been claimed that by 1884 production reached 500 machines per day. The company also boasted a considerable needle manufacturing facility, producing needles for competitors' machines as well as its own. The company was also well known for its greyhound trademark.

Reports state that in the year 1906-1907 sewing machine production was approximately 150,000, with a workforce of 743. By the 1920s the company began to lose ground against competitors, and around 1930 the Free Sewing Machine Co took control, with plant moved from Orange to Rockford, Illinois. It has been estimated that 7 million New Home machines were in use by 1937.

Video demonstration of an early 20th century New Home sewing machine:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 22, 1898: The Spanish American War - The US Invasion of Cuba

The US military landing at Daiquiri, Cuba, June 22, 1898, 
from Harper's Pictorial History of the War with Spain, 1899.

United States troops landed in Cuba on this day in 1898 at sites near the city of Santiago.  The main force landed at Daiquiri while a smaller contingent went ashore at Siboney.  US citizens and businesses would not begin to pay documentary and proprietary taxes to pay for the military actions until July 1, 1898.


From the 1980 movie Airplane!:

Ted Striker: My orders came through. My squadron ships out tomorrow. We're bombing the storage depots at Daiquiri at 1800 hours. We're coming in from the north, below their radar.

Elaine Dickinson: When will you be back?

Ted Striker: I can't tell you that. It's classified.


When I was a kid my dad made the best frozen daiquiris.  Lime only - never strawberry or banana or anything too fruity.  And being that we lived in New Orleans, I always had a little "taste."  And if my dad would turn his head I might have another taste, and another...  The Caribbean and Cuba have given us some great things, like rum, daiquiris, Cuba Libres, and great cigars. 

Cancel for June 22: Western New York and Pennsylvania Railway

W. N. Y & P. Ry.
J.  F.  R.

Incorporated in 1887 as the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroad, the company was reorganized in 1895 with the Railway name.  The WNY&P Railway's independence was shortlived.  By 1900, soon after this stamp was cancelled, the Pennyslvania Railroad took over the railroad.

1900 Route Map

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bank Cancels: The Equitable Trust Company

XXX  1902

The Equitable
Trust Company.

The Equitable Trust Company of New York was a very large and successful New York bank.

Chase National Bank purchased the Equitable Trust Company of New York in 1930, and as a result became the largest bank in the world.  John D. Rockefeller Jr was the largest stockholder of Equitable at the time of the sale. 

World War I morale poster produced by The Equitable Trust Company

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Updating the Joyce/Chappell Lists: M. M. Fenner, Fredonia, New York

Dr. M. M. Fenner produced a product called Dr. Fenner's Kidney and Backache Cure.  The product was sold widely, and the bottles in which the product was sold, while collector's items today, are common enough that they are not very expensive.

Dr. Fenner was a commuity leader in Fredonia, such that in 2010, despite his death more than 100 years ago, the Fredonia Fire Department has a unit called the "M. M. Fenner Hose Company."

The cure was sold in units that required the use of two values of the battleship proprietary series.  Dr. Fenner's only made use of the 5/8c and 2 1/2c stamps.  On these two values were used two types of cancels.  Type 1 is characterized most prominently by diagonal or slanting outer vertical strokes on the Ms in the cancel.  Type 2 is characterized by vertical strokes on the Ms.  These types are known to appear within the same sheet of stamps and there is an example below.

Type 1 cancel.
The 5/8c Type 1 from 1898 is unlisted by Joyce

Type 2 cancel

Joyce/Chappell listing for MM Fenner, with descriptions of the cancel types:

To view an excel file of this list with new dates added, click the link below:

5/8c 1901 block of six.  The middle two stamps are examples of type 1, the top and bottom two stamps examples of type 2.

Complete page from Henry Tolman's MM Fenner material

Cancel for June 20: Bank of Willmar

Bank of Willmar
JUN  20  1899
Willmar,  Minn.

Now known as Bremer Bank, the Bank of Willmar was robbed by Machine Gun Kelley and his gang during The Great Willmar Minnesota Raid in 1930.  The gang stole $70,000 and wounded three people.  The town was a division point on the Great Northern Railway which helped stimulate the growth of the town during the 1800s. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cancel for June 20: Bloomsburg National Bank

Bloomsburg,  Pa.

Now known as the First Columbia Bank and Trust Company, Bloomsburg National Bank opened its doors in 1899.  In 1926, the Bloomsburg Bank-Columbia Trust Company was formed when the Columbia County Trust Company, established in 1916, consolidated with the Bloomsburg National Bank. In 1990 the name of the Bank was changed to First Columbia Bank & Trust Co.  You can read more about the history of the bank here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Updating the Joyce/Chappell List: Hamlin's Wizard Oil

Hamlin's Wizard Oil poster from 1890

While not literally snake oil, Hamlin's Wizard Oil was sold as a miracle cure for just about everything, as you can see from the list on the poster above.  There is little doubt that the concoction cured anything. Despite its lack of efficacy, it was marketed aggressively and sold many units, such that Hamlin's elected to print cancels rather than only use handstamp or manuscript cancelling. 

The following two images are from the Joyce/Chappell list of battleship proprietary printed cancels, published in the 1950s.  In this list, Joyce describes the types of cancels that can be found, however, in the years since the production of this list, many dates have come to light not catalogued by Joyce.  In Henry Tolman's collection below you see may of those missing dates.  There must be more out there.  Do you have any?

Using the list above as a base, adding Henry Tolman's cancels and the cancels known by Frank Sente, a more complete list of known cancels is linked here:

upadated as of April 21, 2010

Below is a the Hamlin's page from Henry Tolman's printed cancels collection.  Tolman's collection contained many cancels unlisted by Joyce.
Tolman's page of Hamlin's printed cancels has a note in his hand making reference to an American Revenuer article on these cancels.  Two cancel dates on the 1 1/4c are illustrated in that article that are not listed by Joyce.  See below.

Following are images of cancels unlisted by Joyce:
Aug. 15 '99.
unlisted by Joyce

March 22 '00
unlisted by Joyce

JUNE 25, '00
unlisted by Joyce
image courtesy of Frank Sente
JULY 26, '00
unlisted by Joyce

OCT. 19, '00
unlisted by Joyce

DEC. 1, '00
unlisted by Joyce

JAN. 9, '01
unlisted by Joyce

MAY 13, "01
unlisted by Joyce

inset from 2003 Jan-Feb The American Revenuer (TAR) article on Hamlin's Wizard Oil illustrating two cancel dates, 2/16/1900 and 4/27/1900, not listed by Joyce
TAR article written by Jim Fletcher

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cancels by State: Michigan

M.  S.  B.
DEC 28 1898


M.   A.   CO.
MAY 29 1901
Wyandotte, Mich.

M. C. R. R.
DEC  4  1898
(Michigan Central Railroad)

R. S. Mfg. Co.
Detroit, Mich.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Cancel for June 15: Nickel Plate Road

Built to compete directly with the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad, the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad, aka Nickel Plate, operated from 1881 to 1964.

N.Y. C. & St. L.
JUN  15  1899
R.   R.  Co.

The corporate legal name for the Nickel Plate was the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad.  But early in the history of the railroad it was dubbed The Nickel Plate.  Below is a short history of the origin of the Nickel Plate name:

From the 1954 book "The Nickel Plate Road, A Short History of the New York, Chicago & St. Louis R.R."  The book includes an address make by former Nickel Plate President Lynne White to the Newcomen Society in North America: 

"Through northern Ohio, already served by four railroads, location of the line developed intense rivalries among cities. Three routes were surveyed and communities along each proposed route vied in the raising of public subscriptions to donate rights-of-way. The road's general offices at Cleveland frequently were besieged by delegations hoping to bring about the routing of the line through their communities. During these inter-city rivalries was born the nickname for the New York, Chicago and St. Louis - The Nickel Plate Road - which rapidly became the name most commonly used.

Numerous legends have grown about when and how the name "Nickel Plate" was first applied. The accepted version is that it appeared first in an article in the Norwalk, Ohio, Chronicle of March 10, 1881. On that date the Chronicle reported the arrival of a party of engineers to make a survey for the "great New York and St. Louis double track, nickel plated railroad."

Later, while attempting to induce the company to build the line through Norwalk instead of Bellevue, Ohio, the Chronicle again referred to the road as "nickel plated" - a term regarded as indicative of the project's glittering prospects and substantial financial backing.

In 1882, the Nickel Plate recognized F.R. Loomis, owner and editor of the Norwalk Chronicle, as originator of the term and issued him Complimentary Pass No.1.

Nickel Plate route map from the Nickel Plate Road Historical
and Technical Society

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Provident Savings Life cancel on R172: Printed Cancel?

XXR 20 1900

This looks like a printed cancel, though I would like confirmation and a story behind this cancel if one exists. 

In answer to this query, Frank Sente sent in the following image and analysis explaining why the cancel was likely printed:

"A clear sharp cancel certainly is suggestive of a printed cancel. Note that although my Provident isn't socked on the nose like yours it does exhibit the exact same axis orientation as yours.  If they were handstamped it would be hard to maintain an EXACT axis like that. Having a third confirming example would be helpful.  The exactness of the axis orientation, at least to me, also suggests that some type of print master was set up to make this cancel. We need someone familar with early 20th Century printing techniques to take a look at these."

For background on Provident Savings Life is this clip from The Monetary Times of March 27, 1903: