Monday, October 31, 2011

New York Stock Brokers: Faris & Thayer

JAN  17  1901

Dave Thompson scan

Mr. Faris and Mr. Thayer were both members of the New York brokerage firm Henry T. Godet & Company when it failed in 1890.  Mr. Godet had died in 1887, and with the failure of the firm in his name three years later, it appears that Faris & Thayer then created their own firm, in their own names.

However, Townsend Thayer went into business with new partners by 1904, almost certainly a brother among others, but then the firm Thayer Brothers & Company failed in September 1907.  The failure of Thayer Brothers would preceed a calamitous banking and stock market crash in October 1907.  Again, as with the panic of 1901, J.P. Morgan stepped in to help stabilize markets and the banks.

The 1898 Revenues economic era was one of market booms and busts that occurred with fequency and severity.  The irony of modern New York bankers and brokers taking endless bailouts from the US Treasury for their own stupid decisions, and now rebuffing and lobbying against regulatory attempts to prevent further crises like the one of the past few years is predictable for the most cynical of reasons.  While New York capital has functioned as a bedrock for industrialists throughout the world, it in no way represents a perfect market.  We can only hope that cool heads prevail in the regulation of the greatest industrial capitalization engine the world has ever seen.  Any great talent also needs discipline and control.  Financial markets are no different. 

Wall Street, October 1907 during the "Bankers Panic"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Auctions: 40 Cent Documentary Used Block of 12 at Spinks Shreves Galleries November 18 - 19, 2011 Sale

4X3 Multiple of R170
Est. $200-300
2011 Scott Catalogue value for a block of 4: $52.50

From the lot description: 

#R170, 40c Blue lilac, rouletted 5½, used block of twelve (4x3), cancelled with bright red Wilson & Co., Pittsburgh, Pa. June 7, 1899 c.d.s.'s, some perf. separations and a few hinge reinforcements, very fine and attractive; this is the largest recorded multiple of #R170, the next largest being a strip of ten.


The strip of 10 that Spink Shreves refers to can be found in the inventory list of The Curtis Collection.  A scan of that strip can also be found below.  The block of 12 offered in the sale is certainly rare, though I wonder if there are not larger blocks of this stamp out there somewhere.  I submitted a scan of a used block of six of R172p, the slot perfed 80 cent documentary, to The Curtis Collection, and it remains the largest multiple recorded.  I have to believe that there must be a larger multiple out there somewhere.

R170 strip of 10 referred to in the lot description.  This scan can be found at the website of The Curtis Collection.  The site reports this strip as ex-Joyce.  Like the block of 12, this strip was also cancelled by Wilson & Company of Pittsburgh.


Dave Thompson sent a scan of a R173 with a Wilson & Co. of Pittsburg cancel.  To date, I have yet to trace much on the firm of Wilson & Company in Pittsburgh.  Please send any infomartion you might have about this cancel and the company that made it to


*A note on the spelling of "Pittsburg".  For most of its history, including the present, the City of Pittsburgh was spelled with an "h" at the end.  A declaration by the United States Board of Geographic Names stated the spelling of the city should not have an "h" at the end, so from 1890 to 1911 the city was spelled "Pittsburg".  Hence the spelling on the R170 cancels above is correct.  The official spelling reclaimed the "h" in 1911 after citizen petitions. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

New York Stock Brokers: Sharp & Bryan

It's been more than 3 months since my last submission to 1898revenues; a longer hiatus than planned. While I look forward to continuing to explore the application of the war tax law by blogging more about on-document usages of the 1898 revenues, I must say I've enjoyed the current series about New York Stock broker cancels.

Those blogs demonstrate the breath of opportunities 1898 revenue stamps offer collectors. Kudos to Dave Thompson and John Langlois for pursuing them. As a way of segueing into blogging about on-documents usages again, I thought I'd appropriate show and discuss some actual sales memoranda from some New York stock brokers.
Sharp & Bryan Stock Sale Memorandum
2500 Shares Union Pacific Railroad Stock
New York, NY April 26, 1901
Reverse of Sharp & Bryan Memorandum
Here's a sales memorandum for the resale of 2,500 shares of the Union Pacific Railroad stock properly taxed $50 with sixteen $3 and one $2 gray Commerce overprint issues (eight of the $3 stamps are on the reverse). The tax rate for the resale of stock was 2 cents per $100 of original stock value, so the $50 tax indicates that each of the 2,500 shares sold here for $108 had an initial value of $100. So the total value of this transaction was $270,000!

That Sharp & Bryan used lower dollar-value documentaries to pay the tax suggests this may have been an unusually large transaction for them. It also suggests they didn't stock, no pun intended, high value stamps, an expensive proposition for any company.

Whoever prepared this memorandum went to great lengths to keep the information about the sale unobstructed. First they encircling the critical information on the form with $26 in tax stamps, putting the remaining $24 in tax on the reverse.
All the stamps are both punch and handstamp cancelled. The stamps on the front of the document were affixed, then handstamped, and then punched. One can ascertain this by noting that the punches cut through the handstamp cancels, the stamps, AND the document itself. Note that each stamp is punched 3 times in an irregular pattern, suggesting each punch was done separately.

The sequence for the stamps on the reverse was different. Each stamp was affixed to the document separately but only after FIRST being punch cancelled. Unlike the stamps on the front the punch cancels ALL appear to be in a regular pattern suggesting that the eight indivdual stamps were "stacked up" then punched. Why? Again, whoever produced this memorandum seemed to be trying to insure that the information about it wasn't obliterated which might have occurred had the stamps been punch cancelled after being affixed.
I only noticed this when looking for the best cancel to illustrate as a detail. As the arrow in the illustration below shows, unlike the stamps on the front, the handstamp cancel was applied only after they were both punched and then affixed to the document because the holes in the stamps on the back don't cut through the document and the handstamp cancel shows in the area of the holes; note the "R" in "APR".

The stock market panic of 1901 took place on May 17, 1901, just 3 weeks after this sale. The speculative antics of Union Pacific's chairman E. H. Harriman and others interested in gaining control of the Northern Pacific Railroad reportedly caused that panic. Perhaps this April 26, 1901 sale representing $270,000 was part of the pre-panic speculation which involved the stocks of many railroads including the Union Pacific. That Sharp & Bryan had a "Union Pac." handstamp cancel suggests they actively traded the stock and may have had a folder of pre-handstamped forms ready for Union Pacific sales. Assuming there hadn't been a prior resale, the seller made $20,000 over stock's $250,000 face value, a tidy sum in 1901!
Sharp & Bryan
New York

The Sharp & Bryan firm was established in 1891. They were forced to suspend trading temporarily in August 1903; however they apparently recovered as I found an additional 1907 reference to the firm.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

New York Stock Brokers: Popper & Stern

N.  Y.

Thompson scan

New York Evening Post, January 3, 1895

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Auctions: Ebay 1898 Dollar Documentaries Lot

Screen capture after the October 20, 2011 close of an auction for hundreds of used 1898 dollar documentaries.  The lot sold for $331.

A couple of months ago I began to publish posts on a regular basis of handstamp cancelled 1898 dollar documentaries.  These stamps have never attracted much attention.  Try asking for dealer stock at stamp shows of these stamps.  Dealers normally don't haul them around because of their relatively low value and the low demand that surrounds them. 

But something odd happened about a week ago on eBay.  A lot of these stamps, albeit a big one, just sold for more than $300.  The retail value of these stamps hardly reached the $300 final price, yet there was clearly a bidding competition for this lot between at least two buyers.  Why are these stamps hot?   I certainly could use a number of them to complement my existing work on the site.  Dave Thompson has been very helpful with his contributions of scans, but the balance of most of the material going up comes from my collection.

A large number of the stamps were used by the New York brokers Strong, Sturgis, but there is also a variety of other New York broker cancels. 

Here are a few close-ups of the lot:

The stamps above represent the following New York brokers: 

Kissam, Whitney, & Company
J. J. Manning
Wasserman Brothers
Charles Minzesheimer & Company

Maybe this site will get a shot at studying these cancels.  Who is the buyer of this lot?

Cancel for October 27: R. M. A.

R.  M.  A.
OCT   27   189X

What was RMA in St. Louis?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New York Stock Brokers: H. B. Hollins & Company

H. B. H. & CO.

Dave Thompson scan

New York Evening Post, January 3, 1895

Monday, October 24, 2011

New York Stock Brokers: Howard Lapsley & Company


Dave Thompson scan

New York Evening Post, March 1, 1892

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Railroad Presidents: Samuel Fordyce, St. Louis Southwestern Railway

Examples of printed cancels used by the St. Louis Southwestern Railway.  Because of Texas corporate law, the Texas branch of the St. Louis Southwestern was incorporated with its own name and a symbolic headquarters in Texas.  The railroad was known as "The Cotton Belt Route".

Samuel Wesley Fordyce was a businessman who spearheaded efforts to build thousands of miles of railway in the South and Southwest during the late nineteenth century, including the Cotton Belt route that crossed Arkansas. He also was a major force behind the transformation of Hot Springs (Garland County) from a small village to major health resort. The town of Fordyce (Dallas County) is named for him, as is the Fordyce Bath House in Hot Springs.

Samuel Fordyce was born on February 7, 1840, in Senecaville, Ohio, the son of John Fordyce and Mary Ann Houseman Fordyce. As a boy, he never liked school, but he attended Madison College in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and North Illinois University in Henry, Illinois, before becoming a station agent on the Central Ohio Railroad at the age of twenty. Soon thereafter, he enlisted as a private in the First Ohio Volunteer Cavalry to fight in the Civil War. He quickly rose to officer status and participated in the Battles of Chickamauga and Shiloh, among others. During his time of military service, he suffered multiple broken bones and contracted malaria.

After the Civil War, Fordyce moved to Huntsville, Alabama. He married Susan E. Chadick on May 1, 1866. The couple had five children. During Fordyce’s decade in Huntsville, he partnered with William Richard Rison, a former bookkeeper and cashier, to establish the company of Fordyce and Rison. The banking firm played a leading role in the development of northern Alabama by financing businesses and other economic ventures.

War injuries affected Fordyce’s health, so he visited Hot Springs in 1873 to obtain the benefits of the spa’s healing waters. He returned with his family to live in 1876. Fordyce recognized the possibilities of Hot Springs as a health resort and worked to turn those possibilities into reality. He invested in the town’s leading hotels, including the Arlington and Eastman; the opera house; water, gas, and electric systems; the street railway system; and many other public enterprises, including several bathhouses. Hot Springs’ transition from a small community to a cosmopolitan spa between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the twentieth century owes much to Fordyce. Today, his Fordyce Bath House on Central Avenue’s Bathhouse Row remains one of the most elegant structures of its kind anywhere in the world. The restored structure opened on May 13, 1989, as the Hot Springs National Park Visitor Center.

Fordyce also built many railroads, not only in Arkansas but also throughout the South and Southwest. Active in St. Louis, Missouri, as well as in Hot Springs, he also helped finance thousands of miles of railway during his career. Fordyce led the effort to build the first railroad line through Arkansas, the Cotton Belt route, after becoming the railroad’s vice president in charge of the location and construction of the railroad. Cutting a northeast-southwest diagonal across the state, the railroad allowed the swamps and prairies of northeast and east-central Arkansas to be used for agriculture, and it spurred development of the modern timber industry of southern and southwestern Arkansas by creating access to the region’s vast pine forests. Completion of the line in 1883 changed Arkansas, making major cities out of towns such as Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and Texarkana (Miller County). New communities sprang up along the rail lines as well, including the town of Fordyce, which was named for Fordyce, and Rison (Cleveland County), which was named for Fordyce’s former Alabama banking partner.

The Arkansas Gazette, on August 5, 1919, described Fordyce as “one of the empire builders, one of the men whose vision, energy, and ability have made America.” Fordyce never sought public office, but he was one of the most significant political figures in his day. He enjoyed friendships with Presidents Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley, all of whom asked his advice on matters concerning appointments and regional issues. Often mentioned as a potential candidate for governor and U.S. senator, he always declined political honors, choosing to channel his energies into the region’s development.

From the time the Fordyce family moved to Hot Springs in 1876, Fordyce maintained business interests and property there although he spent significant amounts of time in St. Louis as well. The family’s Hot Springs home, known as “The Cabin,” is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fordyce died in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on August 3, 1919, and is buried in St. Louis.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

New York Stock Brokers: Henry Allen & Company


Dave Thompson scan

MAR 6 1899

Dave Thompson scan

Herny Allen & Company failed in 1893 as a result of the insolvency of the National Cordage Company, a rope making firm that was organized in 1887.  Mr. Allen clearly pulled himself back together and was trading again by 1898.  In 1893, though, Allen believed the NCC responsible for his failure:

From The New York Times, August 4, 1893:


Henry Allen & Co. Say Cordage Officers Borrowed Money on Misrepresentations.

Henry Allen & Co., brokers at 31 New Street, who failed recently, will bring criminal suits against members of the National Cordage pool, and they charge officers of teh National Cordage Company with obtaining from them a large sum of money by misrepresentation both as to books and statements of the financial condition of the company.

To a reporter for The New York Times Mr. Allen said yesterday: 

"We hae waited for three months for the officers of the National Cordage Company to settle their indebtedness to us.  They have shown no disposition to do so and we are tired waiting.  The matter will be put in the hands of the District Attorney and charges of a serious nature will be made.

"What the charges are specifically, I do not care to state, nor will I name the men who will be accused.  If they had paid us as they agreed to do, we would not have failed."

The Cordage pool carried on its operations through the Henry Allen & Co., and the break in cordage May 4 was followed immediately by the downfall of the brokers.

Allen & Co. managed to rally, but never got back the money claimed to have been advanced to the pool to carry the heavy blocks of Cordage it was necessary to hold up the price and stave off the impending crash.   The amount involved is said to be $670,000.

President Waterbury of the National Cordage Company declined yesterday to say anything about the suit.  E. C. Loper, one of the receivers appointed by Chancellor McGill said:  "I owe Allen & Co. nothing as far as the lare sums spoken of are concerned."

Mr. Thalman of the Committee of Reorganization said: "This suit is not an important matter, for, as far as I know, Mr. Waterbury owes nothing to the firm of Henry Allen & Co."


The bankruptcy of Henry Allen & Company would be the least of Mr. Thalman's problems.  Not long after the crash of the NCC, the stock market would crash and would affect the wider United States economy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New York Stock Brokers: Tilghman, Rowland & Company

N. Y.

Dave Thompson scan

Sidell and Frederick Tilghman were both members of the New York Stock Exchange.

When I was a boy, my maternal grandparents lived in Rayville, Louisiana, in the northeast corner of the state and near the state line of Mississippi.  We would travel from my family's home in New Orleans at least twice a year to visit them.  The journey would take us due north up Interstate 55 through Mississippi, and onto a small state highway that would angle us back toward the Louisiana state line.  We would join Interstate 20 at Vicksburg, the site of a great battle, siege, and key moment in the history of the Civil War.  We would follow I-20 till the exit for Rayville.

On many occasions we would stop at the Vicksburg National Park, an extraordinary site on any Civil War buffs travel itinerary.  The northern (yankee to a Lousianan like me) monuments are massive granite and marble testimonies to the carnage at Vicksburg and the respect that individual states like Ohio and Minnesota had for their dead at the battle.  The poorer southern states built monuments of lesser grandeur out of penury.  But the sweeping effect of the well preserved battlefield and the monuments is stirring.

Thoughts of Vickburg's battlefield came rushing back to me as I conducted research on the cancel for Tilghman, Rowland & Company and the Tilghman brothers Sidell and Frederick.   The Tilghman brothers' father was a Confederate Brigadier General who was killed at Vicksburg.  And his sons built monuments in his honor at the battlefield and in the General's home town in Paducah, Kentucky.  In Vicksburg, they placed one monument at the site where he was killed in battle, and yet another more prominent monument inside the park grounds.

Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman, CSA
Father of Sidell and Frederick Tilghman

Photo from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and captured from this website on the Battle of Champion Hill.  This monument was created and placed at the site of General Tilghman's death by Frederick and Sidell Tilghman.  The caption for this photo on the site that this photo is taken from labels the two men kneeling near the stone as Frederick and Sidell Tilghman.  However, the caption reverses their identities, as Sidell is labelled as the one on the right.  If the photos from the King's Views of the New York Stock Exchange are to be believed (these are the photos directly below the stamp cancel above), Sidell is on the left, Frederick on the right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

New York Stock Brokers: C. W. Maury & Company

N.  Y.

Dave Thompson scan

C. W. Maury was a member of the Governing Committee of the New York Stock Exchange at the turn of the century. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

New York Stock Brokers: Holmes & Company


Langlois scan

Thomas S. Holmes, member, New York Stock Exchange
photo as he appeared in 1897

Wall Street as it appeared in 1897, from the volume King's Views of the New York Stock Exchange

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New York Stock Brokers: Dickinson, Grummon & Company

New York.

Langlois scan

New York.

Dave Thompson scan

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New York Stock Brokers: De Haven & Townsend

New York Tribune classified advertisement
January 1, 1903

DeH. & T.
DEC  13  190x

Dave Thompson scan

Henry Lister Townsend and Alexander DeHaven were the partners in this Philadelphia-based firm.  Mr. DeHaven had the seat on the New York Stock Exchange.  The firm lasted nearly 100 years.