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I Don't Care If It's Philatelic... It's Flat Out Gorgeous!

 
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Posted 02/23/2021   10:32 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add revenuecollector to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Whilst perusing the Bay of E last week, I stumbled across this item with 7 minutes left in the auction. Talk about providence smiling upon me!

This ticks so many boxes... illegal/improper usage... bisects... great aesthetics.

It reminds me of philatelic covers from the early 20th century where enterprising stamp collectors would bisect 2 separate stamps and position the bisects aesthetically.

However, this is the first revenue-related item I've seen where this was the practice. I've never seen a comparable piece.

It's a check on the Frontier National Bank in Eastport, Maine, dated July 6, 1898, with bisected 3-cent (Scott #268) and 1-cent (Scott #279) bureau issues improperly paying the 2 cent tax (1.5 cents + 0.5 cents = 2 cents). Across the pair of bisects is a manuscript cancel reading "I.R. SLW & Son 7/6/98".

S. L. Wadsworth & Son was ship chandlery established in Eastport in 1818 and still exists as a hardware store today:

http://www.slwadsworth.com/

While the assumption is that this piece is philatelic rather than commercial, allow me to put forth the arguments as to why it MIGHT be a legitimate improper usage (that might sound like a bit of an oxymoron, but what I mean is an illegal usage done out of expediency or to defraud the government rather than a collector's creation).

1. The date July 6, 1898 is very early in the taxation period, which is when the majority of legit illegal/improper usages are found, before ample supply of revenue stamps were delivered to more remote areas.

2. Eastport Maine is a very remote location. Per Wikipedia:


Quote:
Eastport is a small city (consisting entirely of islands) in Washington County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,331 at the 2010 census, making Eastport the least-populous city in Maine. The principal island is Moose Island, which is connected to the mainland by causeway. Eastport is the easternmost city in the United States.


So it's not beyond the realm of possibilities that revenue stamps had not yet made it to Eastport at the time this check was written, and if they didn't have any 2 cent stamps on hand, this would have been a way to affix 2 cents, albeit illegally.

We'll never know for certain if this was philatelic or commercial, but candidly I don't know that it makes a difference in this case. It's one of a kind IMO... I love it!



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Edited by revenuecollector - 02/23/2021 10:34 pm

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Posted 02/23/2021   10:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If they had one three cent stamp and one one cent stamp with two checks they might have done it this way. Otherwise, why not just use 2/3 of the three cent stamp?
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Edited by revcollector - 02/23/2021 10:49 pm
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Posted 02/23/2021   11:59 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bobby De La Rue to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think it's lovely too!

What a great find!!
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Posted 02/24/2021   12:31 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Hal to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
That's neat!
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Posted 02/24/2021   07:21 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add SPQR to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Dan - very neat item, I wish I had seen it. I've actually been to S.L. Wadsworth's store many times. While Eastport is very remote today, it was much less so in the 1800s because it was steamship port on the line from Boston to Saint John, New Brunswick. The earliest known use of the 10 1856 imperf stamp is a cover from Eastport.
S.L. Wadsworth was the Eastport agent for Favor's Express, an express company operating on the steamships in opposition to the post office
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Posted 02/24/2021   11:42 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ericjackson to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Great item. Thanks for sharing and all the research you did.
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Posted 02/25/2021   12:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dlambert1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I wonder if the consignee, Thomas Dennison, on the check was part of the family that founded the Dennison Manufacturing Company that became huge in the 1920s-1950s in Framingham, MA. I believe they started in Maine, perhaps in Brunswick, making jewelry boxes.

Donald
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Posted 03/09/2021   5:48 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add photo61guy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Absolutely beautiful...like your photographic skills also.
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Posted 03/13/2021   06:10 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add crazyquilter to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Really nice find. I would smile too!
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Posted 03/13/2021   4:38 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add m and m to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
great item
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Posted 03/13/2021   6:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Dianne Earl to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wonderful Item revenuecollector

Thanks for sharing.

Dianne
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Don't grumble that the roses have thorns, be thankful that the thorns have roses
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Posted 03/14/2021   12:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bcantin to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I can't help but wonder if the other halves of those stamps are out there somewhere on another check...
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Posted 03/20/2021   4:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stamps4Life to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
pretty neat!
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Posted 03/28/2021   12:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add richard f to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think this is genuine. The date if use is very early and if revenue stamps were unavailable in the area on 7/1/98 there was likely a run on 2 cent stamps for the tax on checks so the maker did the next best thing. We know from many other cases that stamps were not distributed to many places in the US for over a week after the effective date of the act. A great find!
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Posted 03/28/2021   4:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Nice to see you here Richard.
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