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Introducing The Continental Large Numeral Essays

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Posted 07/16/2013   1:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add essayk to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
What I propose to do in this thread first is to show you the essay I am using as my avatar. Then, I will turn and start looking at the Continental Large numeral essays from their beginning. Anything about these that raises a question for you, please ask it. This is a dialog, not a lecture.

Is everyone familiar with the Essay section in the Scott Specialized? It has only been around since 1991, do you know where to find it? We will look at numbers as we go.

Here is a larger pic of my avatar. At present it is listed as Scott 147-E1C, but from 1994-2010 it has also been 147-E1B and (earlier) 147-E3.



This essay shows an intermediate state of an engraved die for a three cent stamp with large numeral three. Blank spaces appear where the denomination in words would appear above the vignette and the name of the country below. This essay is actually a composite, inasmuch as the engraved numeral 3 is on the die and makes up the frame, but an engraved vignette not on the same die has been mounted in its center. The vignette figure is most probably that of Columbia as it/she was being represented in the mid-19th century.

Guide lines and dots appear all around the design area.

In another post I will introduce you to this essay series and explain what the Continental Bank Note Company was doing.
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Posted 07/16/2013   1:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bujutsu to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting essayk

I have always found essays, for most countries really, quite interesting and very ornate because of the various engine turning found in the different designs.

Chimo

Bujutsu
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Posted 07/16/2013   3:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add smauggie to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I like that Lady Liberty Columbia . . serene, yet with humility.
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APS Member #: 222539 AAPE, Maplewood Stamp Club (MN), Northern Philatelic Society, US Philatelic Classics Society, Auxiliary Markings Club, Canal Zone Study Group, Minnesota Postal History Society
Edited by smauggie - 07/16/2013 3:47 pm
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Posted 07/16/2013   4:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Philatarium to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Essayk: Thanks for showing this! Looking forward to more! (And I'll go find this section in my Scott US Spec.)

-- Dave
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Posted 07/16/2013   5:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Continental Bank Note Company loved this style of engraving and used it on revenue essays as well as postage. Continental Bank Note Company produced a number of non Scott listed tobacco and liquor revenues in the 19th century; some of the manufactured tobacco stamps used similar numeral designs.
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Posted 07/16/2013   5:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Zipper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
More, more, more!
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Posted 07/16/2013   6:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add guykickinit to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Where can I find one of these??
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Posted 07/16/2013   7:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add essayk to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Revcollector anticipated the story a bit and mentioned the tax paid revenues Continental was producing. Perfet lead in They are actually the starting point for the story I intend to tell you.


In 1868 the Continental Bank Note Co. had a contract with the Department of the Treasury to produce some tax paid revenue stamps. Here are some of the engraved designs they were using for tobacco and snuff stamps. These were in regular production.



However, in the first quarter of 1869 it was already becoming apparent that the designs the National Bank Note Co was using for its new series of postage stamps (the Pictorials) were going to fail, so Continental quickly modified some of their tax paid revenues into postage stamp essays, in an effort to win away the contract. The first large numeral essay now listed in Scott is the initial transitional stage from a proposed 1 pound manufactured tobacco stamp design, later used on the 32 ounce snuff stamp pictured here. They removed the framing decoration around the numeral and replaced the vignette with one of Washington. The lettering for the figures of value were removed. The mutilated essay in the right surfaced in 2010 and in the 2011 Specialized was the listing copy for this design as 145-E1.




However, a year later an intact version (below left) also surfaced and it is now the catalog listing piece. So far these are the only two known of this essay die state.

The next state of the die produced what up until 2011 used to be 145-E1, but it is now called 145-E1C (right). This is the full design for the only one cent so far known for this series. The lettering which had been in the numeral is now replaced, and intricate framing details have been added outside the numeral.




Here is a closer look at the rather remarkable details of this design. The Washington vignette is a cameo portrait and is but the center of a theme recalling the American revolution of 1776. All the rose engine work inside the numeral from the tax paid revenue has been preserved, and this is flanked by columns of stars and acanthus decoration around the initials for the United States. The entablature around the vignette now specifies "U.S. Postage," and the words "ONE CENT".



Though most of the surviving material has been cut down in various degrees to what we usually see on the market, a small handful of the full sized essays for this series still exist. They are maked in their upper right corner with a handstamp identifying the "Continental Bank Note Co. New York" as the source, and bearing the date Dec. 30 1869. This puts them right in the time frame for when National was ordered to redesign the postage stamps for release in 1870.


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Edited by essayk - 08/08/2013 09:03 am
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Posted 07/16/2013   7:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It's also around the time when essays were being produced for a new contract for what turned out to be the second issue revenue stamps, which were issued in 1871. However Continental did not create any essays for the second issue.
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Posted 07/16/2013   8:19 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add I_Love_Stamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wow they're beautiful. I see similar vignettes on eBay and private sales but have never seen those particular ones. I think it is sort of ugly with George's mug in there. In my opinion they should have kept the pretty lady's head instead don't you? Great stuff and I look eagerly for more! Thak you!
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Rest in Peace
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Posted 07/17/2013   11:19 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add I_Love_Stamps to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Man-O-Live! I love to look at these!
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Edited by I_Love_Stamps - 07/17/2013 11:19 am
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Posted 07/17/2013   11:31 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add smauggie to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Very lovely! Thanks for telling this story. They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
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APS Member #: 222539 AAPE, Maplewood Stamp Club (MN), Northern Philatelic Society, US Philatelic Classics Society, Auxiliary Markings Club, Canal Zone Study Group, Minnesota Postal History Society
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Posted 07/17/2013   12:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bujutsu to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Beautiful stuff essayk

By the looks of this thread, I would say you have done a lot of researching.

Thanks for sharing your expertise.

Chimo

Bujutsu

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Posted 07/17/2013   3:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add essayk to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You're all very welcome. They give another angle to the many facets of stamp collecting, and it is one I hope some of you may one day explore. They can be pricey, but not all essays are out of reach. That is a story for another time.

On the research thing, yes, I started collecting these at the time of the sale of the Brazer/Joyce material in 1990, so it has been a while. Before that I had puzzled over them in the Brazer catalog for several years, since Scott did not start listing essays until the Specialized of 1991. The Large Numeral essays rarely appeared in exhibits, and only one or two at a time when they did show. Now they are being listed in color, and I was feeling that it is time for a wider audience than the specialists to see them. So, I'm glad you asked.

You are also helping me come to terms with organizing a one frame exhibit. Anyway, on to the two cent.
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Posted 07/17/2013   3:48 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add essayk to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The two cent taxpaid stamp for tobacco (on the left) has a very rounded figure 2 with the vignette of a sailor in a scalloped frame. This had some influence on the design of the 2c essay for the postage stamp series, but it was not the model. The essay on the right is another engraved essay design Continental was considering for use with their revenue stamps. It is more angular with an oval for the vignette, and the rose engine fill inside the numeral appears to be one continuous image interrupted by the curves of the figure.



This figure of value was brought over to the postage stamp design without alteration except for the wording in the upper tablet. The essay on the right is 146-E1, and to the repurposed figure "2" a decorative background frame has been added with a combination of foliate and scrolled ornament.



This next picture compares these two essay prints for the size of the die sinkage. The item on the left has been tonally adjusted to better show the lines of the sinkage area, while the item on the right was cut to the size of its sinkage. As you can see the die sizes are different, so the new design represents work on a new die and is not another state of the earlier die.




Here we get a closer look at the design of the 2c postage essay, and can see that the theme for this one looks at the principle issue behind the War of 1812. Inasmuch as the 16 cent (2 ounce) taxpaid revenue stamp had a sailor as its vignette, it is somewhat surprising that Continental did not elect to use that figure here, since the problem of impressment was particularly associated with men at sea being forcibly inducted into the British navy.




The most common form of these essays today consists of a die print on India paper die sunk on a card backing, and usually cut down. This is the only form presently listed in Scott. However, the item on the right is a close look at a hybrid version of this essay in which the India has been cut close to the design and then is block sunk onto a card backing. These are still under study.


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Edited by essayk - 07/17/2013 3:50 pm
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Posted 07/17/2013   8:06 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Mike33 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Those look awesome!
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