Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Phoenix Insurance and Phenix Insurance


Advertisements come from the Insurance Journal of January 20, 1898

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Cancel Correction: The Turners of Philadelphia

In the first year of this site, a 2 cent documentary stamp was featured with a prominent cancel "The Turners of Philadelphia".  At the time I figured I was looking at a cancel by the German-American organization called The Turners, whose main purpose was to promote physical fitness.  However, in the intervening years, and with my personal discovery of a 5/8 cent proprietary stamp with the same "The Turners" cancel, it is clear that The Turners of Philadelphia was a very different business that the German-American one.  In fact, Philly Turners can be found in the proprietary focused Battlehsip Desk Reference data base.  So today I will reprise that original post, and make a correction to the identity of the cancel on the R164.


The Turners of Philadelphia was a prominent proprietary medicine manufacturer.  The Merck Report of April 1, 1898 featured a full page story regarding the firm that was originally published in the Philadelphian.  

While I got the cancel ID wrong back in 2009, what's become clear is that it is possible to put together an interesting collection of battleship stamps cancelled by firms that used both proprietary and documentary stamps.  Most commonly, the examples come from pharmaceutical companies that required them for the taxes on their products but also for financial and other taxed documentary transactions.  Examples on this site include Johnson & Johnson and McKesson & Robbins, and now, The Turners of Philadelphia.  

Far less common are organizations or firms whose primary business was not pharmaceuticals but might have used proprietaries on occasion.  The Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway evidently used one cent proprietaries in a pinch when they likely couldn't get the documetary versions for their bills of lading.

Looking back, here is a reprise of the original errant The Turners post from 2009:

Cancel for October 25: The Turners of Philadelphia

OCT 25 1898

Cancelled 50 years after the founding of The Turners organization.

US commemorative postage stamp issued in 1948 for the 100th anniversary of the founding of The Turners. (Scott 979)


Many Germans immigrated to the United States following the failure of the 1848 revolution designed to introduce democratic reforms into the governments of the German states. Among these immigrants were members of the Turners, an athletic and political organization founded in Germany during the second decade of the 19th century. Turners quickly established societies (known as Turnverein or Turngemeinde) in the American cities in which they settled. These societies served as athletic, political, and social centers for German communities in the United States. The Turners most important contribution to American life in their communities had been the advocacy of physical education and fitness. Turners successfully lobbied local school boards in many cities for the inclusion of physical education classes in the curriculum and Turner instructors served as the directors of physical education programs in many school systems in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

---from the American Turners Local Societies Collection, 1866-2006. Abstract and full document on this organization can be found here: http://www-lib.iupui.edu/files/u51/mss038.pdf.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

F. E. Lane, Attorney and Mayor of Jamestown, Kansas


F. E. LANE, Atty
Jamestown, Kans.
DEC  9  1898

Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.


The subject of this sketch, F.E. Lane, the present mayor of Jamestown, is the only son of F.A. Lane, of the preceding sketch. He was born in West Quincy, Massachusetts, on the 16th day of October, 1869. His educational advantages were excellent; beginning with a three years' preparatory course at West Newton, Massachusetts, in the English and Classical College of that city, followed by a year at the Atchison (Kansas) Institute. In 1887 he became a student at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, pursuing courses in Belles lettres and law, and was graduated from that seat of learning in 1890, with the degree of Bachelor of Laws, and was the same year admitted to practice before the the Indiana bar. In 1891 he went to Concordia, Kansas and was admitted to the Kansas bar, where he continued his practice, being associated with Honorable J.W. Sheafor.

Mr. Lane was married in Concordia in the fall of 1893, to Miss Stella Chapman, a daughter of E.E. Chapman, a merchant of that city. Mrs Lane is a graduate of Baker University and is a lady of many accomplishments and talented in music. Mr. and Mrs. Lane are the parents of two bright little boys. Wilbur F., and Charles E., the former eight and the latter six years of age.

In 1895, Mr. Lane accepted a position on the Missouri grain inspection bureau, with headquarters at Kansas City, where he remained until the fall of 1896, when various interests again called him to Kansas. He located at Jamestown and again resumed the practice of law, giving his entire time and attention to his chosen profession, but does not avoid the duties of a public spirited citizen. He is well posted on current affairs and is a capable lawyer.

In his political affiliations, Mr. Lane is a Democrat, and has been the recipitent of many honors in local politics. Fraternally, he is a member of Lincoln Lodge No. 27, Knights of Pythias, of Concordia, which order he joined in 1891. He has passed the chairs of his lodge and is its present representative to the Grand Lodge. He is also a member of Concordia Lodge No. 586, of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

Mr. Lane maintains a charming residence in Jamestown, where, with his wife and two little sons, - to whom he is deeply attached, - a happy home is represented.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Estate of Amos R. Eno


Executors of 
Amos R. Eno

David Thompson contributes a stamp with a fabulous and intriguing cancel this week, a cancel that practically requires one to Google "Amos R. Eno".  So Dave did, and so did I.  And we found, just as you will, that Mr. Eno was one of Manhattan's great real estate millionaires.  Not nearly as rich as the more famous John Jacob Astor, Eno nevertheless built a sizeable fortune based on New York real estate.  Eno died in 1898 and the executors of his estate were clearly still taking care of things when this stamp was cancelled in 1899.

As I was preparing this post, I began to reflexively hum the song The True Wheel, by Brian Eno.  I couldn't resist adding the video.  If intrigued, I suggest listening the entire influential album, Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy  It is possible that Amos and Brian share a distant relative.

Brian Eno - The True Wheel from the album Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy - 1974

Thursday, November 17, 2022

J. Goebel & Company, New York: Crucible Manufacterer


DEC 21 1899

Julius Goebel reportedly produced crucibles to hold molten glass.  At the time this stamp was canceled, his operation was on Maiden Lane in New York.  In the 1920s the business would be moved to 95 Bedford Street, where you can still find evidence of Mr. Goebel and his work.  Three crucibles can be seen in the crest below.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Mann & Eccles: Piano Dealers in Providence Rhode Island


APR  6- 1899

Advert from The News, Providence, R. I., 
March 14, 1898

The Music Trade Review
October 22, 1896

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Fakes, Frauds and Facsimiles: The 3rd Big 4 Cancel by The J. W. Stowell Printing Company's Philatelic Advertising Bureau



Nearly 13 years ago the subject of 1/8 cent proprietaries with Big 4 cancels was first addressed.  The old post is appended to the end of today's posting for reference.  Over the intervening years, a few new stamps have shown up that would have been good to have added to that early discussion. 

The first item is the stamp above.  Well explained in the older post below, the J. W. Stowell Printing Company produced an advertising stunt to promote their 4 philatelic publications.  Part of the stunt included overprinting copies of RB20 with three different types of overprints.  For years I've only known of the two that both read Big 4.  The third reported overprint was unknown to me.  That missing overprint appears to be the one above.  Again, as in the original post on this subject from January, 2010, I'm interested in the original sales material that J. W. Stowell produced that had these stamps attached.  Those items would help finish off this subject.

Meanwhile, some Big 4 railroad cancels have also shown up, which are offered below:

Original Big 4 post from January 10, 2010:

A couple days ago on January 8 I posted the image of a 1/8 cent proprietary stamp cancelled "BIG 4".  Today I will go a bit more in depth regarding this peculiar cancel.  It has often caused confusion with philatelists due to its non-standard origin.  In a 1975 edition of the American Revenuer there was speculation about whether this cancel had been applied by a midwest railroad known as the Big 4.  This cancel has never had anything to do with that railroad, despite any similarities, and I will illustrate a cancel of the railroad later in this post. 

I have two types of BIG 4 cancels in my collection, the one immediately below in two lines and a one line version that is also illustrated.  The cancel was created as an advertising stunt by the J.W. Stowell Printing Company, which produced four philatelic publications.  To advertise those four, which included the magazines The Perforater, The Herald Exchange, The Philatelic Bulletin, and The New York Philatelist, Stowell created a promotional card that it sent to stamp dealers that purchased philatelic advertisements.  The stamp was attached to the card, and the cancel and the card were printed at the same time. 

From what I can figure, the J.W. Stowell Printing Company is no more, or at least not with that name and not in Federalsburg, Maryland, where it was based. 

Two-line version of the BIG 4 cancel

A copy of this stamp and cancel is currently for sale at Eric Jackson's Ebay store.  The image below shows how Stowell used this type of cancel in a mock postal format.  The image comes from the February 1976 American Revenuer. 

The poor image quality of the image above comes from the American Revenuer as printed in the journal.  I am very interested in securing the real Stowell items.


A single line example of the BIG 4 cancel above, and an image of an example of its use in the 1899 J.W. Stowell advertisment below.  Note the BIG 4 publications are listed in the advert.

There was an old journal known as Midwest Precancel News that specialized primarily in postage stamp precancels but on occasion featured revenue stamps.  Printed cancels on the battleships were in many ways precancels.  The article below was part of a short survey of several of the major companies that used battleship printed cancels, including the Antikamnia Company and the Emerson Drug Company.

Midwest Precancel News, August 1936
Volume 3, Number 12, p. 47

Franklin Smith in this 1936 edition of the periodical Midwest Precancel News wrote about the Big 4 cancel.  Smith notes at the end of this short piece that there are 3 versions of the BIG 4 cancel.  I have only seen 2, and they are the examples from my collection illustrated above.  Despite Mr. Smith's article, by 1975 there was speculation about the exact origin of this cancel in the American Revenuer.  The AR put it straight though by February 1976 when it published a short article by Michael Gromet with an illustration of the advertising card by J. W. Stowell.  According to that article the two line version of the cancel was found on a mock postal cancellation made by Stowell while the single line cancel was found on the card.  Gromet illustrated the article with the images of use included above.

The distractor that has thrown some philatelists off regarding the origin of this cancel was the Big Four railroad - also known as the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railway. 

Hand illustrated cancel of the Big Four Railroad from the April 1974
edition of the American Revenuer, page 106

Henry Tolman and Steve Leavitt began a project in 1974 in the American Revenuer to illustrate railroad cancels on the 1898s.  Serialized alphabetically, the cancels were illustrated and reprinted in the American Revenuer.  Unfortunately the effort ended after two editions of the periodical and never got past the "Cs", but they did illustrate a Big Four Railroad cancel.  I do not yet have a stamp with any type of Big Four cancel in my collection, so I've cribbed the Tolman/Leavitt illustration and pasted it above.  Amusingly, in the key in the American Revenuer for this cancel, a typo indicated that this was a cancel for the "Big Sour" Railroad. 

Thursday, November 10, 2022

New York Bankers: Henry J. Schnitzer


Henry J. Schnitzer was a foreign exchange broker in New York, who would hold a seat on the New York Stock Exchange from 1916-1918 as a partner in the banking and brokerage firm Josephthal & Company.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

R191: Varnish Bands, not Squares, and a Quadruple Surcharge

Like last Sunday, this post covers the final set of 1898 dollar value revenue stamps, but this time only quirks involving the $2 value.  In particular, quirks regarding the nature of the varnish applied to the stamps that received the wrong overprint, the overprint for the "gray" $2 stamp, #R185.  

What I'm calling a varnish band appears to occur across versions of R191 that have R185's numeral overprint, including R191a (single overprint) and R191d (triple overprint), and an unlisted R191 with  a quadruple overprint.  Examples of these 3 stamps are featured below.  As you may know, some, if not most examples of the normal versions of R190 to R194 have a square of varnish in the center of the stamps that underlays a numeral overprint to help foil cancel washing and reuse.

The post last Sunday on the tendency of these stamps to change color toward the hue of the R184 to R189 raised the prospect that the varnish square might be responsible for the color changes.  Whether that is the case or not, the question prompted David Thompson's inspection of his copy of R191a, a version of R191 with a single R185 type overprint.  He noted that the stamp does not have a varnish square but a varnish rectangle or band across the center of the stamp, and despite appearing unused, has no gum.  A scan of his stamp follows, along with a version that helps highlight the varnish "band":

So after Dave told me about his stamp, I looked at the only R191 I have that has the R185 overprint.  The stamp has the same varnish band, not square, appears unused, and has no gum.  It also happens to have a quadruple overprint, with a strong image to the upper north of the main overprint, a slightly weaker one on the right, and very weak image slightly above the main 2:

So with access to both my stamp and Dave's, I figured that despite the listing in Scott that these must really be printer's waste, produced in trials to sort out the application and the use of varnish.  That the BEP used the R185 overprint (maybe the R191 version wasn't ready yet) seemed to help me rationalize such a thought, 

But with a bit of extra digging, an example of R191d can be found for sale on Ebay by the seller buystamps.  In addition to the varnish "band", no gum, and an unused appearance, the stamp has what appears to be George Sloane's signature on the back, which for me speaks to the legitimacy of the oddly overprinted stamps.  Somewhere I have a copy George Sloane's book with his collected columns and with all my moves I can't locate it at the moment.  I'm wondering if he might have written about these stamps.  It would be good to know if he confirmed that they were regularly issued.

I have a few dozen stamps from this series in my collection which I'll need to scrutinize.  Meanwhile, this column has prompted me to examine the Scott listing for R191 and I have a couple of questions:

  • Except for David's copy of R191a, I've never seen this stamp.  Scott has them priced at only $150 unused.  Where are they?  R192 missing its overprint seems very common in comparison.
  • I've never seen R192b, a stamp with the R185 overprint that is printed in violet.  Where is this stamp?  By comparison to R191a it must be quite rare given its Scott value.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Gilded Age Portraits: Mr. & Mrs. Henry Marquand

Henry Gurdon Marquand by John Singer Sargent, 1897

R188 Block of 4 cancelled by Henry Marquand & Company, 
January 28, 1901
Block retains full original gum

Henry Gurdon Marquand held a seat on the New York Stock Exchange during the Gilded Age, including the years of the 1898 Spanish American War tax period.  He was extremely wealthy and had a passion for fine and expensive art, for which he built a grand Manhattan mansion in which to hang it all.  And like many of New York's wealthiest at the time, he had his portrait and that of his wife painted by the go-to Gilded Age portrait artist of the time, John Singer Sargent.  

Elizabeth Allen Marquand (Mrs. Henry Marquand) 
by John Singer Sargent, 1887

Yesterday I put up Sargent's Benjamin Kissam portrait up on the right side of this site, and I started wondering how many Gilded Age brokers might have had their portraits done in oil, by Sargent or any other accomplished oil portraitist.  The Marquand's were the first couple I could think of, but I'll see how many more I can find.

Meanwhile, the curious issue of Marquand cancelled stamps remains:  every stamp I have ever seen cancelled by Marquand has a light, neatly applied cancel, with the stamp or stamps almost always retaining their original gum.  The R188 block of 4 is one example.  Here are more:

There is not much more to add, except: 

  • I'll be looking for on-document uses of these stamps by Marquand & Company, and
  • Why would a company cancel high value stamps but not apply them to documents?  Was there something nefarious happening?