Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Fullerton List: Express Company 005, Adams Express Company

This post is part of a continuing series on Richard Fullerton's 1952 Catalog of Railroad Company, Street Railway & Express Company Printed Cancellations on the 1898 U. S. Revenues.

Examples of the cancels, when available, are posted.

Express Company 005:   Adams Express Company

This blog's first Adams Express post was here in May of 2009.  In the post a short history of the firm and several examples of handstamps used by the company are included.  I will not repeat those here.  Adams Express did not use printed cancels per se.  These cancels listed by Fullerton were made by mimeography with a typed stencil, the same way my third grade teacher in 1971 would make our worksheets.  The Joyce/Chappell lists for proprietary printed cancels also includes these mimeographed cancels. 

Type 1:  Four lines of mimeographed typewriter caps.

2ct Carmine Rose     a. Dated: Aug 12 1898  (1)  Roulette

No scan available of this type

Type 2:  Three lines of mimeographed typewriter caps.

2ct Carmine Rose     a. Dated:  Aug 12 1898   (1)  Roulette
                                b. Dated:  Oct 25  1899   (1)  Roulette
                                c. Dated:  Nov 19  1900  (1)  Roulette

EX005 Type 2 b.(1)
Richard Friedberg scan


A few 1898 Adams Express bonus items not previously posted on this website:

1899 handstamp, roulette
Dave Thompson scan

Handstamp, roulette, similar to handstamp on R163 in previous Adams' post
Hohertz scan

Handstamp, roulette, Adams EX CDS
Hohertz scan

Straight line handstamp, HH, 1901
Hohertz scan

Adams Express money order that will feature in an upcoming post
RN-X7 imprint
Bob Hohertz scan

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cancel for October 31: Bank of Montreal


The Bank of Montreal is one of Canada's oldest and largest banks.  The bank's early history can be found here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Florida Ocean Passage Ticket - The Plant Steamship Company

The Plant Steamship Company headquartered in Tampa on Florida's West Coast actually predated the Florida East Coast Steamship Company whose tickets we've reviewed in prior blogs. The Plant Steamship Company was running trips from Tampa to Key West and Havana by 1887. The two companies eventually would merger to become The Peninsular and Occidental Steamship Company.

The Company was founded by Henry Plant whose resurrected several Southern transporation companies from the ashes of the Civil War and later turned his attention to the development of Florida, at first in Tampa and then in Key West.

Plant Steamship Company
S.S. Mascotte Ocean Passenger Ticket
K(ey) W(est), Florida to Havana, Cuba
September 30, 1898
Bob Patetta scan

Reverse side of ticket
R173, $1 Commerce Documentary
tied by an illegible cancel dated SEP/30/1898
Bob Patetta scan

Actually Henry Plant's development of rail lines into Tampa as well as his docks there lead the US Army to choose Tampa as an embarkation point for the invasion of Cuba by the Cuban Expeditionary Force in late June 1898. Cuba was in American hands in a matter of weeks and presumably it didn't take long for the Plant Steamship Company to resume regular service to Cuba.

Thanks go to Bob Patetta for providing this ticket and several others that we've included in our series of blogs on ocean passage tickets.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Fullerton List: Street Railroads

This post is part of a continuing series on Richard Fullerton's 1952 Catalog of Railroad Company, Street Railway & Express Company Printed Cancellations on the 1898 U. S. Revenues.

Examples of the cancels, when available, are posted.

Richard Fullerton documented two street railroad companies in Michigan that used printed cancels.  The examples of these cancels are rare if not unique, and the style of the cancels are exactly the same and likely produced by the same printer even though the railroads were located in two distant cities:  Saginaw and Detroit.

Saginaw and Detroit.  These cities are also something of a mystery.  There were Union Street Railways in multiple cities in the United States at the time of these cancels.  And there is only passing evidence that I've found so far of a Detroit and Wyandotte company.  Fullerton provides no history of these railways in his manual, and only provides the cities as an identifying location for the railways.  Are these the right cities for these railways?  And is Detroit and Wyandotte the proper name for the cancel initials?  Any proof that anybody might have to confirm these identities would be helpful.  For now I will go with these locations and names, but I would like to know Mr. Fullerton's sources and proof.

SR005:  The Detroit & Wyandotte Street Railway Company

I have found little information available on this streetcar line.  When many of the Detroit street railroads were folded into a single organization in 1900, histories of Detroit street railways say little about the Detroit and Wyandotte.  We will keep looking. 

Further, the use of printed cancels by these street railway firms in Michigan is a quirky event, as no other street railways in the US appeared to have used printed cancels.  Why are there so few remaining of these cancels too?  Any evidence of genuine use of these cancels is sought.  Please let us know if you have seen or have any at

Type 1:  Three lines of fancy type caps and lower case letters.  "D. & W." 17mm long.  "St. R'y Co." 21.5mm long.  Date "7 -- 7 -- 1900" 22mm long.  Caps 2.75mm high.  Printed in Blue ink.

2ct    Carmine Rose    a.  Date 7-7-1900   (2)  HH

Type 1, 2ct a.(2)
Richard Friedberg scan
Richard notes that this example may be unique

SR010:  The Union Street Railway Company

Street railways had been a way of life in East Saginaw and Saginaw City since 1863. At that time the cars were pulled by horses and traveled over strap rails with wooden stringers. "Little Jake" Seligman, who owned the old East Saginaw City Street Railway, created a corporation which he called the Union Street Railway. In 1889 "Little Jake" converted his street cars to electric power. The city council drafted new ordinances and licensed the new electric railway. In the fall of 1890, the Bartlett Illuminating Company signed a contract to provide power for the new venture. As sparks flew from the rails, some residents refused to ride the "fire spitting devil." In 1895 the antiquated Saginaw City Street Railway sold its property and franchise because it couldn't afford to convert to the new electric cars. In 1900 the Saginaw-Bay City Railway Company was formed by the consolidation of the Saginaw Valley Traction Company and the Bay City Traction and Electric Company.  from Riverside Park & Saginaw Valley Traction Company, by Anna Mae Maday, Manager, Eddy Historical & Genealogy Collection of Hoyt Public Library in Saginaw, Michigan, September 2000.

Type 1: Three lines of fancy type caps and lower case letters. "Union" 11.75mm long. "St. R'y Co." 21.5mm long. Date "5 -- 1 -- 99." 17mm long. Caps 2.75mm high. Printed in blue ink.

2ct Carmine Rose a. Date 5-1-99 (1) roulette

Type 1, 2ct a.(1)
Richard Friedberg scan
Richard notes that this example may be unique

Previous posts have discussed other street railways that did not use printed cancels:

At the time of these cancels, street railroads were common in urban centers in the United States.  By the middle of the 20th century most of these urban railroads would cease to exist, replaced by buses and cars.  However, there remain a few famous urban railways that have never shut down.  The cable cars of San Francisco are the most famous.  In my hometown of New Orleans, the streetcars remain an important tourist attraction and mode of public transport.  My home as a kid was located three blocks from the end of the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line, and my school, Isidore Newman (the alma mater of Payton and Eli Manning!), was located two blocks off the line.  I made regular use of the old streetcars to get to school, even though the technology for the cars was nearly a century old. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two More Florida East Coast Steamship Company Ocean Passage Tickets

This is a continuation of a series of posts about Ocean Passage tickets.

To date we've viewed a ticket from Philadelphia to Bremen via the American Line S/S Pennland; a ticket sent to us by JW Palmer for a trip from Jacksonville, FL to Nassau, Bahamas via the Florida East Coast Steamship Co. steamer Lincoln; and a ticket from New York to Bremen via the North German Lloyd Steamship Company steamer Luitpold, one of four tickets sent to us by Bob Patetta.

Two of Bob's four tickets, like JW Palmer's submission, are from the Florida East Coast Steamship Company. In fact they are both datelined: NY Dec 22/99, exactly like Palmer's ticket!

Front and Back of
Florida East Coast Steamship Company
Ocean Passenger Ticket
Jacksonville, Florida to Nassau, Bahamas
"Including Room and Meals"

Patetta's tickets are nearly identical so we only are showing the one for Thomas Charleston. The other ticket was for Miss Agnes Munroe, who along with Miss Lizzie Johnston (Palmer's ticket) must have been traveling together with Mr. Charleston.

Bob tells me that he purchased these two tickets separately from different sources and Palmer's ticket came from a third source, so who knows how long they have been separated. It's nice to unite the three again, but that begs the question of how many others might have been on this NewYear's gambol to the Bahamas, and how many other tickets may still survive in philatelic hands?

Double Ring cds

We're still looking for more ocean passage tickets, especially showing the higher tax rates of $3 and $5. If you have one please send a scan and details to

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cancel for October 27: American Express

AM.  EX.  CO.


AMEX printed cancels on block of 4 with manuscript day and month.  Despite all the effort to cancel these stamps we still don't know their year of cancellation!

Cancel for October 27: James Johnston


Who was James Johnston?  An insurance broker perhaps?  Dave Thompson wrote in to suggest that he made bottle caps!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ocean Passage Tickets Revisited - Oelrich & Co. New York

BLOG UPDATE - 2/20/2011
Most likely the $5 R175 Commerce stamp above bearing an Oelrichs & Co. cancel is from an Ocean Passage ticket sold by that firm. Tickets taxed $5 would have cost in excess of $60, a tidy sum in 1899.

ORIGINAL BLOG - 10/26/2010

North German Lloyd Steamship Co. - Oelrichs & Co. Agents
Steerage Passenger Ticket for the S/S Luitpold
New York to Bremen July 21, 1898

Bob Patetta answered the call in our prior posts by sending scans of four more examples of ocean passage tickets tripling the number reported to six. Today we review a ticket for the S/S Luitpold of the North German Lloyd Steamship Co. Some considered the North German Lloyd line to be the most luxurious of all the ocean lines at the time, although steerage travel on any liner wasn't exactly the finest way to travel.

The ticket was sold by Oelrichs & Co. of New York to a Miss K. Leilich for $30, the tax for which was $1, properly paid here by an R173 Commerce issue documentary.

double ring cds cancel

Oelrichs & Co. was a respected firm and the Oelrich family was active in the New York social scene. In 1898 the firm celebrated its 100th Anniversary by publishing a 116 page history tracing its beginnings to a firm established in New York by Caspar Meier in 1798. In 1898 the firm was conveniently located at 2 Bowling Green on the first floor of the same building that housed the German Consulate.
Oelrichs & Co. Office
2 Bowling Green, New York City
On Ground Floor of the Building Housing the German Consulate

We'll review Bob's other tickets in upcoming posts. They too are all taxed $1, so we're still looking for tickets bearing the higher $3 and $5 rates. Can anyone else show us examples? Here again are the Ocean Passage tax rates:

$1 for a ticket up to $30.
$3 for a ticket more than $30 to $60
$5 for any ticket more than $60

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cancel for October 25: Fireman's Fund Insurance Company

OCT  25  1898

Featured previously on this site, Fireman's Fund is a nearly 150 year old insurance company now controlled by the global company Allianz. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

$200 and $500 Bonds

Neither of the bonds shown below, again courtesy of JW Palmer, were good investments. Both offered an attractive 5% return in an era when 3% was the norm, likely in an effort to secure speculative investors. The lower $500 and $200 face values also may have spurred some toward these chancy investments.

They nonetheless serve to show interesting usage of the 25-cent and 10-cent battleship revenues respectively paying the 5-cent per $100 in face value tax rate.

Kansas City Northwestern Railroad Company
$500, 5% 40-Year Bond
Issued April ?3, 1899
JW Palmer scan

The Kansas City Northwestern Railroad was never a successful venture. Troubled from its start as the Kansas City Wyandotte Northwestern Railroad, it came under the control of the Missouri Pacific (MOPAC) Railroad with service being suspended in 1919, years before this bond was scheduled to mature in 1933.

K. C. No. W. R. R. Co.
APR ?3, 1899
JW Palmer scan

The American Tropical Planting Company, incorporated in Delaware with offices in Philadelphia, offered a 5% annual dividend for its bond plus pro-rata payments on any additional net profits on its produce(bananas) operations on some 5,123 acres in La Mosquitia, Colon, Honduras. Considering the environs of La Mosquitia, this appears to have been a scandelous investment scheme.

That only the first annual coupon, due January 1, 1901, has been clipped from any of the several known surviving bonds and the tax on the original issue was not paid until February 14, 1901 further suggests was not a successful venture. The bond, though, features an attractive vignette of a man picking bananas.

The American Tropical Planting Company
$200, 5% + pro-rata profits First Mortgage Bond
Issued December 21, 1899
JW Palmer photo
Cancel Dated: FEB 14 1901
more than a year after bond was issued
JW Palmer photo

Friday, October 22, 2010

The St. Louis Provisionals. Featuring Hermann Ivester's Scott 2008 US Specialized Article

Example of Scott RS387
T.M. Sayman 1 1/4c in dark blue ink
"St. Louis Provisional"

As Hermann Ivester explains below, the St. Louis Provisionals were produced as a result of delays in proprietary medicine firms receiving tax stamps by the beginning of the tax period on July 1, 1898.  Several firms in St. Louis and one in Macon, Georgia produced similarly worded self-printed stamps on authority of US government tax collectors.  Scott began to list these stamps in the private die section of the Specialized catalog in 2008, and printed a Special Feature by Hermann Ivester on these provisional issues.  The text of that article is included in this post. 

Scott lists a total of 12 companies that issued these provisional revenues.  An overview of these companies can be found at Bob Hohertz' site.  Those firms and their stamps include:

Antikamnia Chemical Co., St. Louis

RS320  1/8c, black ink, yellow paper
RS321  2 1/2c, black ink, white paper
RS323  Free sample stamp, black ink, yellow paper

As Hermann explains in his article below, the number RS322 is reserved in case a 2 1/2c on yellow paper shows up.  Bob Hohertz' site considers these stamps here.  Antikamnia is best known as a user of fancy printed cancels on the battleship proprietary stamps.

I have copies of RS321 and RS323 in my collection but am looking for RS320.  Does anybody have one to spare?

Fairchild Chemical Laboratory Co., St. Louis

RS325  5/8c, black ink

W. R. Holmes, Macon, Georgia

RS330  2 1/2c, green ink

Lambert Pharmacal Co., St. Louis

RS335  2 1/2c, red ink

Meyer Brothers Drug Co., St. Louis

Example of RS340a
Meyer Brothers 1/8c, green ink on white paper

RS340a  1/8c, green ink, white paper 
RS343b  5/8c, green ink, buff paper
RS345c 1 1/4c, green ink, rough manila paper
RS349a   5c, green ink, white paper
RS350b 11 1/4c, green ink, buff paper 

Example of RS351a
Meyer Brothers black ink on white paper

RS351a  1/8c, black ink
RS352a  1/4c, black ink
RS353a  3/8c, black ink
RS354a  5/8c, black ink
RS355a  1c, black ink
RS357a  2c, black ink
RS358a  3c, black ink
RS359a  4c, black ink
RS360a  5c, black ink
RS361a 11 1/4c, black ink

The most common of all of the St.Louis Provisionals are the Meyer Brothers stamps printed in black ink.  Bob Hohertz provides more background and images of all of the Meyer Brothers stamps here.

John T. Milliken & Co., St. Louis

RS365  1/8c, black ink
RS366  5/8c, black ink

Phenique Chemical Co., St. Louis

RS370b  1/8c, black ink, buff paper
RS371a  1/4c, black ink, yellow paper
RS372a  5/8c, black ink, yellow paper
RS372b  5/8c, black ink, buff paper
RS375a  2 1/2c, black ink, yellow paper
RS376b  3 1/8c, black ink, buff paper
RS377b  3 3/4c, black ink, buff paper

Read more about this company and these stamps at Bob Hohertz' site.

Prickly Ash Bitters Co., St. Louis

RS381  2 1/2c, green ink

T. M. Sayman, St. Louis

RS385  1/4c, dark blue ink
RS386  5/8c, dark blue ink
RS387 1 1/4c, dark blue ink

Van Dyke Bitters Co., St. Louis

RS390  2 1/2c, blue ink, bluish glazed paper

Walker Pharmacal Co., St. Louis

RS395  2 1/2c, black ink

The following text originally appeared in the
2008 Scott US Specialized Catalog
Special Feature, pp 597-599.

The St. Louis Provisionals
A Tribute to Charles A. Nast
by Hermann Ivester

The Spanish-American War tax act was signed into law by President William McKinley on June 13, 1898. It was enacted to “provide ways and means to meet war expenditures, and for other purposes.” It increased certain existing taxes and imposed new ones. One of the new taxes was a tax on a wide variety of products falling under the broad category of “medicinal proprietary articles and preparations.” Manufacturers were required to affix a tax stamp to each such article offered for sale. The tax rates were based on the selling price of their products as follows:

Selling Price                                                                  Tax

5 cents or less                                                                1/8 cent
More than 5 cents to 10 cents                                         1/4 cent
More than 10 cents to 15 cents                                       3/8 cent
More than 15 cents up to 25 cents                                  5/8 cent
For each additional 25 cents or fraction thereof               5/8 cent

These rates were less than those imposed on proprietary articles under the Civil War Revenue Act of 1862, passed to finance the Civil War, that were repealed in 1883. The new taxes became effective July 1, 1898, and the Internal Revenue Department was unable to supply the huge quantities of stamps needed. Among the devices used to meet this emergency was that of Dr. Kilmer & Company of Binghamton, New York, who in frustration resorted to overprinting 1c, 2c, and 3c postage stamps. The amount paid for the postage stamps used exceeded the amount of the taxes owed. The Kilmer company was rewarded for its efforts by having at least one shipment of its famous “Swamp Root” medicine bearing the stamps seized, and the company was subjected to the threat of prosecution.

Medicine manufacturers in St. Louis (plus one in Macon, Georgia) avoided such difficulties by striking a deal with the local collector of internal revenue. The agreement allowed them to print their own stamps for temporary use and to pay their taxes by sworn returns until the government-issued stamps were available. These stamps are commonly referred to as the St. Louis Provisionals.

The St. Louis Provisionals eventually became known to revenue stamp collectors, who began to seek them out. The most determined effort was made by Charles A. Nast** of Denver, a collector, columnist for Mekeel’s Weekly Stamp News, chronicler of new revenue stamps, and one of the great philatelists of all time. It is Nast to whom we are indebted for most of the knowledge we now have of these provisionals. Through the medium of his regular column in Mekeel’s, Nast became the focal point for all discoveries during 1903-1905. Upon learning of each newly discovered provisional, he wrote the drug company seeking information as the company’s use of the provisionals and examples of the stamps. When he was unable to obtain to obtain satisfactory answers to his questions, he called upon a friend, W. A. Sisson, who lived in St. Louis, to visit the company. In the case of ten values of the Meyer Brothers Drug Co., new Scott Nos. RS351-361, it was Sisson who obtained the stamps during his personal visit. In response to Nast’s first letter, the manager had, incorrectly, stated that all remainders had been destroyed. The ones we have today certainly would have been destroyed had it not been for Nast’s diligent efforts to learn all about these stamps.

Nast also looked forward to the day that the St. Louis Provisionals would be properly catalogued, although he despaired of their being listed in the standard Scott catalog. In his column in the August 8, 1903, issue of Mekeel’s he noted “there can be little doubt as to their being veritable provisional revenue stamps, having every requisite to entitle them to admission under this head to our albums – I will not say catalogue, as so many good things are now missing in that ‘good book,’ which will only find their proper niches when we…publish our own catalogue.” And Nast did, indeed, edit “A New And Complete Catalogue Of The Revenues Of The United States, Embracing All Documentary And Proprietary Stamps…And A List Of All Known Varieties Of Provisional...Stamps Of The Spanish-American War Period,” published by George J. Carter, circa 1907. Included in this Catalogue are new Scott Nos. RS320-321, RS335, RS350-355, RS357-RS361, RS379 (a reserved number because the existence of this stamp has never been confirmed), RS381 and RS385-387. Ironically, the Dr. Kilmer provisionals, whose use the government deemed unlawful, have been listed in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers since 1957 but were not included in Nast’s catalogue. Alas, a later issue of Nast’s catalogue never appeared. Although several subsequent listings of the stamps have appeared in philatelic periodicals, Nast’s beloved St. Louis Provisionals were banished from a current catalog for more than 100 years – until now. With the accompanying listing in the 2008 Scott U.S. Specialized Catalogue it can be said that Charles Nast’s vision has finally become reality.

Catalogue Numbers

Skips in numbers [in the Scott listings] are to allow for new discoveries of previously unknown denominations or types, previously unknown users, and denominations listed in previous lists that were not in the auctions of the Gaudio Collection in 1982 (John W. Kaufman Auction 85, June 5, 1982) or the Joyce Collection in 1991 (Daniel F. Kelleher, Inc. 589th Sale, June 4-6, 1991) and are presently unknown. For example, No. RS325, the Fairchild Chemical Laboratory Company stamp, came to light after the Joyce sale, and No. RS349, the 5 cent green Meyer Brothers, a previously unknown denomination in green, showed up in State Revenue Society Auction 16 in 2000. Fairchild was a previously unknown user. With the appearance of this listing, additional stamps will almost certainly be reported. The specific numbers reserved are the following:

RS322: 2 ½ cent Antikamnia, black on yellow. Lot 1049 in the Gaudio sale was described as “2 ½ c black on yellowish.” It was purchased by Joyce. However, it was not included in the Joyce sale, which must be presumed from the fact that the two 2 ½ cent Antikamnia stamps in the sale were not pictured and were described as black but with no indication that the paper was other than white. The stamp listed in the Gaudio sale may have been on toned paper rather than yellow paper. In Nast’s column in the August 8, 1903, Mekeel’s, he reprinted a letter from the Antikamnia company indicating that the 1/8 cent stamps were printed on yellow paper “to distinguish them form the 2 ½ cent provisionals which were printed on white paper,” so it is highly improbable that the 2 ½ cent was printed on yellow paper.

RS226: 2 ½ cent Lambert, black on white. Nast referred to a letter from the Lambert company indicating it used a total of 6,500 of these stamps, all printed in black on white, in his column in the August 8, 1903 Mekeel’s. In his listing of these stamps in the 1908 United States Revenue Society Year Book, Nast also listed the stamp as black on white, and did not list the red on white. Joyce listed both types in the May 1956 The American Revenuer, but he dropped the black on white listing in his list in the December 1970 Scott’s Monthly Stamp Journal. The black-on-white listings are clearly erroneous, as the black on white is presently unknown, and the red on white is common relative to most of the other St. Louis Provisionals, a fact consistent with the large number of 6,500 cited by Nast.

RS341, RS342, RS344, RS346, RS347, and RS348 1/4 cent, 1/8 cent, 1 cent, 2 cent, 3 cent, 4 cent, Meyer Brothers, green. The fact that the printing in black contained all of these denominations indicates that the earlier printings in green may have also. The 5 cent green was not publicly known prior to 2000, so the possibility of further discoveries still exists.

RS356 1 ¼ cent Meyer Brothers, black. The company used this denomination in green, so it could also exist in black.

RS362 No Value, Meyer Brothers, black. Joyce listed a no-value black stamp in the February 1950 American Revenuer but not in the May 1956 American Revenuer nor in the December 1970 Scott’s Monthly Stamp Journal.

RS373 and RS374 1 ¼ cent and 1 7/8 cent Phenique. These were listed by Nast in the 1908 US Revenue Society Year Book, and by Joyce in the February 1950 and May 1956 issues of The American Revenuer. Joyce referred to them in the December 1970 Scott’s Monthly Stamp Journal as having been listed by Nast. They probably do exist.

RS379 and RS380 ¼ cent and 1 ¼ cent Prickly Ash Bitters. In his Mekeel’s column of march 25, 1905, Nast quoted a letter from the Prickly Ash Bitters Co. indicated it used a 1 ¼ cent stamp. In his listing in the 1908 US Revenue Society Yearbook that updated the known stamps as listed in his catalog, Nast listed a ¼ cent stamp and described it as being on “very rough paper, same as Meyer Bros’ Drug Co. used.” He may have presumed this because that is how he described the paper of the 11 ¼ cent Meyer Brothers stamp, and the Prickly Ash Bitters Co. acknowledged in a letter that the same printing company produced both their stamps and the Meyer Brothers stamps. Joyce stated that he did not know of either denomination of Prickly Ash Bitters in the December 1970 Scott’s Monthly Stamp Journal.

Meyer Brothers, Nos. RS351-355, RS357-361 The Meyer Brothers stamps printed in black were undoubtedly prepared for use, although none has ever been found in used condition. Apparently the regular stamps became available before many, or perhaps any, were used. In his January 14, 1905 column in Mekeel’s, Nast described how these unused stamps were unearthed by a company clerk after days of searching by the clerk and Nast’s friend, W. A. Sisson. Nast wrote that “no doubt these were all used, but only for a very short time.” Nast further observed that “having been authorized by the government under and by an observance of the proper regulations of the Internal Revenue Dept. the must be classed as provisional proprietaries of the ’98 series.

The other question about these stamps is why 1 cent, 2 cent, 3 cent, 4 cent, 5 cent, and 11 ¼ cent denominations were printed, since no single item would require that amount of tax. The 1 cent and higher values could well have been for packages of multiples of lower priced articles. A package of four 10 cent items would have required a tax of 1 cent, eight items a tax of 2 cents, 12 items a tax of 3 cents, 16 items a tax of 4 cents, 20 items a tax of 5 cents, and 45 items and tax of 11 ¼ cents. It is known that the 11 ¼ cent in green, No. RS350b was used, and Nast’s correspondent who sent him the stamp recalled getting off a package, not a bottle, while employed in a drug store. The 5 cent stamp in green is also known in used condition. Shipping multiple articles in packages requiring only one stamp would have saved time and effort of applying a stamp to each article, although that is how government-issue stamps were to be used. Nevertheless, the denominations do have a plausible explanation.

Phenique Chemical Company, Nos. RS370-371, RS375-377 These stamps were printed on yellow paper, type a, and on buff or brown paper, type b. The three type a stamps known on yellow paper are uncanceled, and the four type b stamps known on buff paper are all canceled with a round date stamp of August 5, 1898. This date was unquestionably after the regular issue stamps became available, as a letter from Meyer Brothers printed in Nast’s February 25, 1905 column states that Meyer Brothers used provisionals from July 1 to July 21, 1898. A letter from Prickly Ash Bitters Co. printed in Nast’s March 25, 1905 column also confirms usage of its provisionals until July 21,1898. From these facts it is fair to infer that the stamps on yellow paper were used and that the stamps from a later printing on buff paper with the August 5, 1898, datestamps are remainders canceled after their use was suspended by the regular issue stamps.


Only one known example is known for many of the St. Louis Provisionals. Except for Nos. RS351-RS355 and RS357-361, most of the others are rare. From my own unscientific tracking of the appearance of these stamps on the market for more than 25 years I am aware of only the following numbers of the rarer stamps:

One known:     RS325, RS330, RS340a, RS345c, RS349a, RS350b, RS370b, RS371a, RS372b, RS375a, RS376b, RS377b, RS385, RS387, RS395

Two known:    RS343b and RS386

Three known:  RS372a and RS381

Five known:    RS390

Additional examples of some and perhaps all of these undoubtedly exist, but they will always be rare. In particular, a letter from the Prickly Ash Bitters Co. to Nast indicated that 4.062 examples of RS381 were used, so more than three stamps should have survived.


Finally, there are six different variations of the wording on the stamps. The text [and examples] of each are shown below, with the variations underlined.

Type I, used by Antikamnia and Phenique
Stamps not being obtainable at time of sale and shipment of this package, will be paid on sworn returns thereof to COLLECTOR of INTERNAL REVENUE, 1st District of Mo.

Type II, use by Van Dyke

Stamps not being obtainable at time of sale and shipment of this package, will be paid on sworn returns thereof to COLLECTOR OF INTERNAL REVENUE, 1st District of Mo.

Type III, used by Fairchild, Lambert, Milliken and Walker

Stamps not being obtainable at time of sale and shipment of this package, will be paid on sworn returns thereof to Collector of Internal Revenue, 1st Dist. Mo.

Type IV, used by Meyer Brothers and Prickly and Prickly Ash Bitters

Stamps not being obtainable at time of sale and shipment of this package, the tax will be paid on sworn returns thereof to Collector of Internal Revenue, 1st Dist. Mo.

Type V, used by Holmes

Stamps not being obtainable at time of sale and shipment of this package, the tax will be paid on sworn returns thereof to Collector of Internal Revenue, Macon, Ga.

Type VI, used by Sayman
Stamps not being obtainable at time of sale and shipment of this package, Revenue will be paid on sworn returns thereof to Collector of Internal Revenue, 1st Dist. Mo.

The Author

Hermann Ivester is a lawyer in Little Rock, Ark. He began collecting stamps at the age of 7 or 8. He soon became interested in revenue stamps and was a confirmed revenuer when he joined the American Revenue Association in 1955 at the age of 13. He acquired his first St. Louis Provisional at the age of 16 and has been intrigued by them ever since. His collecting interests include all aspects of United States and United States-related revenue stamps. It is requested that discoveries of new varieties or additional examples of the rarer St. Louis Provisionals be reported to the Scott editor and to Mr. Ivester.

**Charles A. Nast lived from 1857 to 1931 in Cincinnati, Ohio and Denver Colorado. He worked as a reporter and photographer.  Charles A. Nast was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in September 1857 to parents of German origin. He arrived in Denver, Colorado, in 1875.  He initially worked as a reporter for the Denver Tribune and covered the Black Hills Gold Rush where he fought with Captain Jack Crawford and Wild Bill Hickock with the Sioux.  Later, he worked as a photograph retoucher for A.E. Rinchart.  By 1920 he owned his own photography studio.  He married Catherine and they had six children. Nast died in 1931 in Denver.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

$5,000 and $10,000 Bonds

$1,000 Railroad bonds were a popular investment vehicle in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Bonds in other denominations existed, but the $1,000 bond was by far the most common.

JW Palmer has provided properly taxed examples of much less common $5,000 and $10,000 bonds for today's post.

New York Central and Hudson River Railroad
$5000, 3 1/2% 100-Year Lake Shore Collateral Gold Bond
Issued July 14, 1898

Properly taxed $2.50 at the rate of 5-cents per $100 or fraction thereof in face value, the above $5,000 bond from the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad was backed by a mortgage on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad , then a wholly subsidiary of the NYC&HRRR. It's interesting to note that the purchaser was a Briton. That British government bonds only paid 2 1/2% to 2 3/4% at the time made American railroad bonds a popular alternative for many Britons.

double-ring cds cancel
N.Y.C. & H.R.R.R.

New York and Harlem Railroad Company
$10,000, 3 1/2%, 100-Year Gold Bond
Issued May 1, 1900

A nice single usage of the $5 Commerce issue paid the proper tax on the $10,000 New York and Harlem Railroad Bond shown above.

The railroad and mining industries were often intertwined as they depended upon each other for success. So it's not surprising that this $10,000 was owned by the Coxe Brothers Incorporated, a mining enterprise.

cut and cds handstamp cancel
N.Y. & H.R.R. Co.

It is not unusual to find cut-cancels, in addtion to company datestamps, on the dollar values of the Spanish American War era revenues; added protection against reuse.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Fullerton List: Railroad 100, The Sioux City and Pacific Railroad

This post is part of a continuing series on Richard Fullerton's 1952 Catalog of Railroad Company, Street Railway & Express Company Printed Cancellations on the 1898 U. S. Revenues.

Examples of the cancels, when available, are posted.

RR100: The Sioux City and Pacific Railroad

From the historical information at the back of the Fullerton Catalog:  Chartered August 1, 1864.  Road opened March 1 1868 to California Junction, Iowa; and to Fremont, Nebr. February 11 1869.  Operated the FE&MVRR (RR045) since 1871 upon completion of its first 51 miles of rail.  Came under C&NW (RR055) control in 1884 and operated under its own name until 1901 when it was completely absorbed into the C&NW.

The SC&PRR operated within the states of Iowa and Nebraska, and was built to connect Sioux City to the Union Pacific at Fremont, Nebraska.  As stated above, the line became a part of the Chicago and North Western in 1880s.  It is now a main line of the Union Pacific.  The "Blair Subdivison" of what is now the Unions Pacific was part of the old SC&PRR line and was also once part of the FE&MVRR.
Fullerton lists two types, on only the 1ct denomination.  An unlisted and no year date cancel is included below:

Type 1:  Two lines of plain type all caps 3 1/2mm high.  RR initials 23mm long.  A line of 16 dashes 22mm long and 6.5mm below.  Date 1899 is 2mm high, 6mm long and 8mm below RR initials.  Figure 1 of date is serifed.

1ct  Pale Blue             a.  Normal   (1)  Roulette

Type 1, 1ct a.(1)
1899 roulette
Sente scan

Type 2:  Same as above except that date 1900 is 7mm long and 8.5mm below RR initials.  Figure 1 of date is not serifed.

1ct Pale Blue              a.  Normal  (2)  HH
No image/scan available
Unlisted Type: No year date

SC&PRR - no year date, hyphen hole
unlisted by Fullerton
Richard Friedberg scan

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bonds with Battleship and New York State Tax on Investment Tax Stamps

This is the final installment of a three-part post about the usage of Battleship revenues in combination with the New York State Mortgage Endorsement, Secured Debt, and Tax on Investment stamps of 1911-1920.

We've covered the Mortgage Endorsement and Secured Debt usages previously. Today we'll look at two Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, & St. Louis (aka The Big Four) Railway bonds taxed during the final, Tax on Investment, phase of New York State's tax on mortgage bonds.

Again, for more details about how all of these three New York State stamp issues were used, I invite readers to Michael Mahler's series of articles on the American Revenue Association's website. The specific article about the Tax on Investment stamps may be found here.

Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, & St. Louis Railway
$1,000, 4% Gold Bond Issued June 1, 1900
$4 NY Tax on Investment Stamp added 1918
Michael Mahler scan

The $1,000 bond above was originally issued June 1, 1900 during the Spanish American War tax era and was then properly taxed 50-cents (5-cents per $100 in value or fraction thereof) with an R171 50-cent Battleship revenue. The $4 Tax on Investment stamp, paying New York State's 20-cent per $100 per year mortgage bond tax for two years was added June 12, 1918 when the bond was registered with the Comptroller's office. This is the only bond currently known showing a joint usage of a Battleship revenue with a New York State Tax on Investment stamp.

Octagon $4 Tax on Investment Stamp Cancel:
Boxed 50-cent Battleship Stamp Cancel:
C.C.C. & ST. L. RY. Co.
Michael Mahler scan

As Mahler notes in his definitive article, the New York Tax on Investment actually was simply a renewal of the Secured Debt tax, albeit with new increased tax rates and a new set of stamps. Because the new stamps weren't immediately available the old Secured Debt stamps were used for several months. The "carryover" usage of the Secured Debt stamps is illustrated on the C.C.C. & St. L. Railway bond shown below.

It was originally issued on November 1, 1899 and then properly taxed 50-cents with an R171 Battleship revenue. On September 18, 1917 when the owner decided to register it with the State of New York and pay the then current Tax on Investment fee of $10 for five years, a $10 Secured Debt stamp from the 1911 issue was used to pay the fee.

Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, & St. Louis Railway
$1,000, 4% Gold Bond Issued November 1, 1899
with $10 Secured Debt Stamp Paying Later 1917 Tax on Investment 5-Year Rate

Boxed 50-cent Battleship Stamp Cancel:
C.C.C. & ST. L. RY. Co.
Boxed $10 Secured Debt Stamp Cancel:

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bob Hohertz on 1898 Series Stamped Paper Part 5: Scott RN-X6

Bob Hohertz' series on 1898 stamped paper continues here with examples of Scott RN-X6:

Starting on the two-cent X designs, RN X6 is fairly simple. There are many different shades of the two-cent imprints, but only three are listed, two under X6: yellow and pale olive.

Figure 32.

Unlike the Civil War imprints, some X’s do appear to be pure yellow. Which ones may depend on the eye of the beholder. To me, the imprint on this ornate check is a good example.  In the area of imprinted revenues, any murky color that cannot be readily identified is classified as “olive.”

Figure 33.

This check is the only one currently considered to have an imprint colored “pale olive.” I have seen an one on a check of another user that could be classified as such as well. There was no regulation specifying imprint colors, so anything could be used providing it did not interfere with the function of the document.
Two-cent imprint trial color proofs are known in brown, green and black at least, though none of these colors were used in practice.

Figure 34

Trial color proof in brown.

Figure 35. Trial color proof in green.
No actual use of green for two-cent imprints is known.