Friday, November 26, 2010

What are the Odds? Another Money Wire to Richwald!

Receipt for Money Wire to Richwald
F. A. Kail Banking and Exchange Office
42 Avenue C, New York, NY
June 6, 1899

Our thanks go to JW Palmer for providing today's subject document. Actually JW sent this scan to me several years ago asking if I thought it had anything to do with foreign exchange. We both assumed it involved foreign exchange, but alone, by itself, neither of us understood it was a receipt for a money wire. It wasn't until some other similar documents, like the P. V. Obiecunas, Max Schamberg, and Maurice Grau receipts, came to our attention did we recognize this to be another example of a money wire. Sometimes in philately, as elsewhere, understanding doesn't occur until a critical mass of material is accumulated. Alone each piece is hard to understand, but looking at them all together makes it easy to see that they are simply receipts for transfers of money that didn't involve paper documents; i.e. money wires!

And it never ceases to amaze me what I learn when I look at items critically, as one must when creating an exhibit, or writing an article, or, in this instance a blog. It wasn't until I decided to include this item in this series of blogs about money wires that I recognized this K. A. Kail Co. money wire for 50 Kr. sent from New York City is addressed to a party residing in Richwald, the same small town in the Austro-Hungarian Empire to which the P.V. Obiecunas money wire was addressed. Given the thousands of immigrants who must have sent money back to family and friends in Europe, what are the odds that of the handful of recorded examples, two (one from Pittsburgh and one from New York City) would be addressed to the same small town where less than 1,000 people resided?

As 50Kr is less than $100 it is properly taxed as a singly written bill of exchange, the tax for which was 4-cents per each $100 in value, or fraction thereof.

Other than the date, June 6, 1899, the cancel regrettably is illegible.

We'd appreciate reports to 1898revenues@gmail.com of other examples of similar money wire receipts.

1 comment:

  1. This is interesting to me, since my grandfather was born in Richwald in 1897. My father always had trouble locating the place on a map; he always assumed the town no longer existed. My ancestors were Austrian subjects, but they were Polish. I'm sure this wire had nothing to do with them, since no one in that branch of the family had even so much as set foot in America at that point.

    Perhaps I can shed a little light on Richwald. According to my father, it was a town where the railroad ran through. My great-grandfather worked for the railroad, which is why he resided there temporarily. Richwald seems to have been something of a boomtown, so there's a good chance that the people who got that money from America weren't natives of the place, either. If my dad was mistaken about that, I'd like to know. And he might have been: we have a considerable paucity of information about Richwald.

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