Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cancels by State: Minnesota

In commemeration of my vacation days in Minnesota this summer, here are a few 1898s with Minnesota cancels:
Bank of Willmar
JUN  20  1899
Willmar, Minn



ST. P. & D. R. R.
APR 11 1899

Cancel for the St. Paul & Duluth Railroad.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

American Revenue Association Web Site

The ARA has a new design for its web page.  The redesign provides a more modern appearance and interactive framework.  Kudos to ARA officers and web people for updating the site.  Overall content has changed little, though you will find a link to this site on the links page! 

July 28 screen capture for the home page of the ARA web site.

Adding Content to the Site:  Links to articles and research are posted on their own page on the site.  These links make me wonder why on the page for The American Revenuer there are no links to archives of old TAR issues or articles.  This would be a great way to add content heft to the site.  And as TAR is the property of the ARA, and the site is the ARA's, doesn't the ARA have the right to post these articles, especially if the site recognizes and makes clear the copyright status of the individual authors in each issue?  I know there are lawyers in our group that could help clarify this issue, but I am certain that almost all contributors to TAR would be thrilled to have their work made more available, and that the ARA could readily protect itself with a simple disclaimer. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cancel for July 29: Atlantic Mutual Insurance

JUL  29  1901
Founded in New York as the Atlantic Insurance Company in 1838, the company would become a "mutual" insurance firm in 1842.  By the 1850s the company was the largest marine and general insurance firm in North America. 
The company was the only marine insurer in New York for generations, and consequently is associated with some very famous shipwrecks, including:

  • Titanic - Atlantic sold the policy for most of the ship's coverage.
  • Mary Celeste - this brigantine is famous for having been found adrift in the Atlantic with no crew and no explanation for her abandonment. 
  • SS Central America - this sidewheeler was loaded with gold from California when it sank in a hurricane.  The wreck was found in 1987 by the Columbus-American Discovery Group.  Atlantic and a group of other insurance companies sued for claim to the wreck.  Atlantic lost the case and Columbus-American was awarded 92% of the find.

Today the firm is located at 100 Wall Street and specializes in personal property/casualty insurance for wealthy individuals with high-value assets to protect.
Screen capture from current Atlantic Companies site that you can find here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cancel for July 28: Robert Bines

JUL   28   1898

No telling what sort of transaction this stamp was used for unless one can find a trail of documents from Robert Bines on which other battleship documentaries are found.  Bines was a player in the high business community in Chicago.  He was born in Bloomfleld, Ohio in 1842,  arrived in Chicgo in 1866 and by 1869 was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade.  By the time of this cancel he was a member of the Board of Directors.

The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald from January 21, 1902 reported the Mr. Bines had enough capital to speculate in Chicago area land claims:

Robert Bines, of Chicago, began, on the I7th inst., the " payment, at Dowagiac, Mich., of $34,000 to the Pottawatomie Indians [$ioo to each] for their title to lands along the lake front of Chicago." He evidently believes their claims to these lands to be sustained.

Bines was in the brick business too, as reported in the History of Chicago, Illinois by John Moses in 1895:

Among the leading establishments engaged in the manufacture at this time are the following: The Tiffany Pressed Brick Company is a corporation composed of the following directors : J. Van Inwagen, president ; J. Tiffany, vice-president ; N. K. Fairbank, Robert Bines, and J. B. Lyon.  The capital of the concern is $200,000, and the value of the investment estimated at $300,000. It employs 75 hands, to whom are paid wages amounting to $4,500 per year. The value of the material used is $20,000, and of the output 100,000. The factory is at Momence, 111.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Documentary Printed Cancels: The Girard Trust Company

Today's featured document is contributed by Frank Sente.  The document includes a seldom seen printed cancel by The Girard Trust Company, . 

G.T. CO.
APRIL 1. 1902

This stamp comes from a share certificate for the Choctaw, Oklahoma, and Gulf Railroad Car Trust company.  The full document scan is shown below.

I am seeking other values of the battleship series with a GT Co printed cancel.  Has anybody seen these?  This cancel was not documented by Richard Fullerton in his guide to documentary printed cancels from 1952.

Stephen Girard
1750 - 1831

The Girard Trust Company was started by and named for Stephen Girard.

The charter of Alexander Hamilton's First Bank of the United States expired in 1811.  The bank was located in Philadelphia, the home of Stephen Girard, who was the richest man in the United States at the time.  Girard bought up the stock and assets of the bank with the charter expiration and created his own bank, which eventually came to be known the Girard Trust Company.  Girard's bank was the main source of financing for the US government for the War of 1812 - Girard personally underwrote 95% of the government's war loans.  The Girard Trust Company merged with Mellon Bank in 1983. 

My mother's family has roots in Girard, Richland Parish, Louisiana, near the town of Rayville.  The family home in Girard was located on a piece of a Stephen Girard plantation, and the family still has some of the land from the plantation today.  Girard never travelled to Louisiana but worked through a local agent, Judge Bry, to purchase land and establish his plantation.

inset from the full document of the stamp and signature

Share document for the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad Cart Trust

From The New York Times, April 15, 1902:


Speyer & co. Deposit with Girard Trust Company Majority Stock,

  PHILADELPHIA, April 14.--Over 155,000 shares of the stock of the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad had been deposited with the Girard Trust Company in favor of the sale of the road to Speyer & Co. of New York up to the close of business today.
  The total shares of the Choctaw issued amount to 296,000.  This settles finally the question of ownership of the road, which goes to the New York banking house, and it is expected will be turned over to the Rock Island system.
  The minority holders have until May 7 to accept the offer made, which is ofr the purchase of all common stock at $80 and preferred at $60.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cancel for July 25: Bennett, Hutchinson & Company

Hutchinson & Co.,
JUL  25  1898

Cold trail for this insurance firm, though I think it was located in Indiana.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cancel for July 24: C. D. F.

C.  D.  F.  &  CO.

We are in the slow days of summer and your correspondent has been taking a break. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Cancel for July 18: Pennsylvania and Northwestern Railroad

P. & N. W.
JUL  18  1901

This post card documents seven coal deliveries to six locations via the Pennsylvania and Northwestern Railroad.  The tax on coal deliveries was one cent per location, and the six cents worth of stamps paid for the deliveries to the six different locations listed on the card.  There are many of these P&NRR postcards still around.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cancel for July 18: Baring, Magoun & Company

R182 One dollar documentary


From Dorothy R. Adler, British Investment in American Railways 1834-1898 (Charlottesville, Va.: The University Press of Virginia, 1970), p. 144:

Barings was strictly an English firm until 1891 when a New York firm comprised of a family member was established (Baring, Magoun & Co.) by Alexander Baring, formerly of Kennedy, Tod & Co. (NY) and George Magoun, formerly of Kidder, Peabody & Co. The English firm dealt with Baring & Magoun in New York and Kidder, Peabody in Boston. The Baring family had migrated to Exeter, England from Bremen, Germany in 1717, and their descendants, Alexander and Henry Baring, married Americans. Barings had been one of the first English firms to handle American railroad bonds, and had a long-standing relationship with the B&O Railroad in Maryland.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Updating the Joyce/Chappell Lists: The Fenaline Company

Fenaline is a firm that seems to have disappeared to history.  Online searches are extraordinarily productive with many companies from the 1898 era; The Fenaline Company draws not a single hit on Google.  Joyce and Chappell had no information to even state city or state of origin, and we remain in the dark here at this blog.  If you have any information on this company I would very much appreciate you help.

The J/C list is below.  This is a short list, with only three collectable cancels posted.  Below, however, are five scans from my collection of different collectable cancels, including a new type, which I have added to the new updated list/spreasheet for this firm.

Type 1
Sep. 30, 1899

Type 1
Feb. 10, 1900
unlisted by Joyce

Type 2
Sept. 25, 1900

Type 2
Feb. 20, 1901

Type 3
May 24, 1900
unlisted by Joyce

ex-Tolman page of The Fenaline Company printed cancels

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Missouri Pacific Railway Bill of Lading

Another interesting contribution today from Frank Sente following the Missouri Pacific Railway (MOPAC) post from several days back.  Below is a MOPAC bill of lading for "ordnance stores" weighing a total of 211 pounds that were shipped from the Springfield Armoury in Massachusetts to the Ordnance Office at Fort Crook in Nebraska.  Unforunately, there are no details as to what types of ordnance.  The shipment was for 211 pounds, which isn't all that much weight when bullets and shells and other type of ammunition are involved. 

Bill of Lading

MOPAC printed cancel on BOL from March 26, 1900

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 14, 1898: Mekeels Advert for Battleships

Advert for M.C. Berlepsch for newly issued battleship revenue stamps
in the July 14, 1898 edition of Mekeel's

Two weeks after the war taxes came into effect, and stamp dealers were busy selling battleship revenue stamps.  Note that a plate strip of 10 of the 4 cent proprietary was for sale for a $1.40 from Mr. Berlepsch. 

Monday, July 12, 2010

Updating the Joyce/Chappell Lists: Benjamin Brandreth's Allcocks Manufacturing and Porous Plaster Company

This is Mr. Benjamin Brandreth.  He was born 1807 in England and died in 1880 in Ossining, New York.  Mr. Brandreth was one of the first great proprietary medicine manufacturers in the United States, and pioneered mass marketing and advertising to generate sales for his "purgative' pills which were touted to purge the blood of toxins.

In 1849 a congressional committee reported that Brandreth was the largest proprietary advertiser in the United States, and that for 1862 and 1863 Brandreth's average gross income exceeded $600,000.  Brandreth's pills were mentioned in Melville's Moby Dick

Benjamin Brandreth's business was known as the Brandreth Pill Works when he first opened the business.  He purchased Allcock's Porous Plaster from Thomas Allcock in 1848, and eventually renamed the firm to Allcock Manufacturing. 

During the Civil War tax period, Brandreth had a private die stamp printed for Allcock Manufacturing:

The firm's proprietor, B. Brandreth, is listed on this stamp, as are the two key products of the company: Brandreth Pills and Allcock's Porous Plaster.

Private die stamps like the example above were powerful branding tools.  In the years following the Civil War and after the proprietary tax was lifted, many companies that used private die stamps had labels printed similar to their original private die stamps to place on their product's packaging.  Many proprietary pharmceuticals of the time were neither efficacious or safe, yet a US Government tax seal for many consumers implied the imprimateur of the government.  So when the taxes were retired, many private die users replaced their tax stamps with labels that looked the same as the stamps.

Allcock Manufacturing used these labels after the Civil War tax period:

By the time of the 1898 war tax period, the labels were still on the Brandreth products, though new taxes and new stamps had to be applied to the pills and the plasters.  The labels above were applied to their products along with 5/8c tax stamps.  The top A. M. Co, example is for Allcock Manufacturing; the bottom P. P Co. example is for Porous Plaster Company.  Examples of these labels with battleship stamps attached are not uncommon -- both Frank Sente and J.W. Palmer have sent scans from their collections. 

The original Joyce/Chappell list for the Allcock or A. M. Co. cancels is very short, indicating only 5 collectable varieties. Three of the varieties listed are present due to printing issues associeted with planing or a shaving down of the 12-12-1900 canceling plates. The original J/C list lacks an explanation for what Joyce and Chappell note to be cancels with these "planed electros". I am not expert in printing techniques during the 1898 period, however, from the stamps I have and those noted in the J/C list, it is clear to me that several philatelically significant things were happening when Allcock Mfg decided to print new cancels for the year 1901:

  • The 12-12-1900 cancelling plates had their dates planed down to create new dates. The first 2 was planed off to yield a January or 1 months, and the final zero in the year was planed off to yield a slightly curved 1, so that the cancel would appear as a 1 -12-1901.
  • Inconsistency in the planing process would yield different widths of the remaining piece of the zero, so that each cancel might appear slightly different, so that there may be many varieties of this cancel, though J/C only list the major variety of a zero having been left unplaned on the 5/8c stamp.  There is an example below of a cancel with nearly all the zero gone, with only a small fragment of the original numeral left.

Planed electro example - following the first 1 was a 2 on the orignal canceling plate.  It is gone in this example, as is 2/3s of the final zero. 

 Planed ectro example as in the second stamp above.

Example of a dramatic printing variety of the planed electro in the year date.  The final zero is, to use the words of Henry Tolman "all but obliterated".
I would be very interested in examining a large group of these Allcock cancels to gauge the varieties of planed zeroes.
ex-Tolman, now Langlois Porous Plaster cancels.  Two handstamp examples at bottom and a third at left with label attached.

Frank Sente's Porous Plaster cancels with J/C unlisted variety at the top left.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Updating the Joyce/Chappell Lists: Hobron Drug Company

In the J/C list, Hobron is something of a mystery.  The city is reported as unknown, and nothing more is offered about the company except for the name in the cancel: "Hobron".  Google solved this mystery with a single search.

Hobron Drug Company was based in Honolulu, and was owned by T.W. Hobron, the son of a famous retired sea captain, Thomas H. Hobron.  T.H. Hobron made himself a wealthy Hawaiin businessman through a sugar plantation and a railroad and port used to haul and load the sugar for export. 

The J/C list for these cancels is short:

My collection holds one cancel unlisted by Joyce, the 1/8 cent example below:

1/8 cent 1901
unlisted by Joyce

The updated list for this cancels is available at the following link:

Updated Hobron Drug Company Printed Cancels List

A recent auction contained this lot connected with Hobron Drug Company:
Hobron Drug postal cover from the June 2010 Regency Superior sale. 
The online catalog included this note:  "Pahala, Hawaii cover to Hobron Drug Company in Honolulu franked by 2¢ brown and with purple target cancel, plus matching Pahala date cancel, Meyer-Harris 281.01. Cover with backside advertisement in blue for Alhambra, 'beverage made from pure rich fruit juices'."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cancel for July 11: Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company

M.  B.  L.  I.  CO.
JUL  11 1899

The Newark, New Jersey-based Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company was founded in 1845 and dissolved as a firm in 2001.  The company was known as the "Tiffany" of insurance companies because of its high percentage of upper class clientele.  The company was taken over by the State of New Jersey in 1991 after real estate losses prompted a run by policy holders.  The collapse of the firm was the largest ever by an American insurer at that time. 

The original MBLI headquarters at 300 Broadway in Newark is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  It is currently a nursing home and is owned by the Archdiocese of Newark.