It's been quite a while since I posted show acquisitions, partly because it's been a dry spell since I attended an actual show. Even though I retired late last year, I've since returned to work on a seasonal basis, which due to the nature of the project means full-time work May through September... so summer shows are pretty much out of the question.
Still, working from home on my own schedule, focused strictly on technical tasks without the perpetual weight of university and State of Illinois bureacratic incompetence burdoning every aspect of my day makes the work INFINITELY more enjoyable. It's like having a completely different job. Removing managerial administrativia from my life was the best move ever!
But I digress... last weekend was INDYPEX, and I attended on Friday. Sadly, one of the dealers that I had planned to spend much of my day (and budget) with, was taken ill in the days leading up to the show and was forced to withdraw. In retrospect, my wallet is glad, as I ended up finding quite a bit of material that fully exhausted my show budget. Had that dealer shown up, I would be wincing. Hopefully he'll be back next year.
When the doors opened, as always, Denny Peoples was my first stop, where I picked up several documents that I had spoken with him about over the phone, as well as an impulse buy that ended up being far more scarce than I had expected.
I had mailed out wantlist letters to all of the dealers several weeks prior to the show, and two had responded with material they were setting aside for me to look at, so I made them my next stops. I spent time with Marc Achterhof @ AAA Stamp and Coin, truly one of the nicest people in the business. I always enjoy sitting and chatting with him and his wife (who sadly was not in attendance having gotten sick the night before). I stopped by Russsell Eggert @ Dutch Country Auctions and picked up a few nice pieces. Even though he didn't have anything for me, I stopped by and said hello to Mark Vervaeke @ Sterling Stamps. Scott Couch @ Tiger Collectibles is always a good visit, and I picked up a few nice documents from him. I spent time joshing with Rusty Shoaf; he and Denny are always sniping at one another like an old married couple. Terry Kurzinski also had a nice item that I picked up.
So on to the acquisitions, starting with revenue stamps.
(Clicking on most images below will open them at higher resolution.)
First, a lovely example of a common stamp, Scott #R118, the $1 second issue. The contrasting red cancel works so well against the blue and black.
Next up, a bit of a cherry-pick, Scott #R116, the 60c second issue, showing a foreign entry of the 70c at top. This is plate position 31, one of 6 plate positions that exhibit the foreign entry.
A distinctive cancel, from the Pacific Mail steamship "Oregonian". The font used is very different from the other ships, but is well known. If it had a bit clearer strike and wasn't torn at upper right, it would be a $150+ item. Still, not bad for 60 cents.
This wounded warrior gets filed under "If only...". The printed cancel is from "Lawrence & Cohen", a playing card company. Any of the typeset provisional playing card cancels are extremely rare on R21c (the stamp cataloguing $700). A nicer example of this same stamp and cancel sold for over $1,000 including BP back in 2019.
That said, were it not for the hole at center-right, I likely would not have paid up for it. For under 10% of Scott, it was a comparatively cost-effective way to pick up a tough stamp-cancel combination.
This one was a very nice pickup. Barring obtaining a multiple of this part perf (Scott #R61b, CV = $750 for a single stamp), this about the most convincing single you'll ever see, including portions of adjacent stamps at both top and bottom.
Now on to the documents...
A lovely vignette at left.
I haven't encountered too many checks from the Dakota Territories.
Steamship/maritime items are always very collectible. Even though the handstamp cancel doesn't tie to the stamp, it's nice to obtain an example of this steamship cancel, from the Steamer Katahdin.
I love billheads! The imagery, the wording, all of it. I've been accumulating hundreds of them from the 1850s to the 1920s (not just revenue usages) and am toying with the idea of working on a database for them.
This one was interesting for the red "SOLDIERS PAY" handstamp at left, which I had not seen before. Given the dollar amount, presumably this was not payment to an individual soldier, but an aggregate amount to be distributed to a regiment/batallion/etc.?
A solo use of one of the less frequently found denomination late documentaries, Scott #R638. Not especially valuable as a used stamp ($7.00), but I hadn't seen one on document before.
Turn of the century railroad stock certificate with a great... mining (???) vignette. Makes you wonder if the vignette was left over from a mining stock.
A nondescript in-period improper revenue usage as postage on cover, but it's a less frequently seen proprietary battleship (most seen are the 2-cent red documentary battleship).
One-day promissory note, with the payment of the tax being doubly-illegal: 1. use of postage stamp instead of revenue stamp, and 2. underpayment of tax (tax should have been 5 cents).
Another billhead, this one with a 2-cent Black Jack improperly paying the tax.
2-cent Trans Mississippi used improperly as revenue on an October 1898 check from a tobacco manufacturer.
1870 receipt, with 2-cent tax initially paid by the supplier (Rose, Dinsmore & Co., manufacturer of railway car springs) on February 2, improperly using a 2-cent horse and rider (Scott #113). When it reached the (audit?) office of the New York Central Railroad on February 25, a revenue stamp was properly affixed. Very scarce.
A tattered but very scarce mining stock certificate from the Gunnell Central Gold Company of Colorado. Why so many mining stocks were printed on what was effectively "tissue paper" rather than normal paper is beyond me. This stuff is sooooooo delicate. I can't imagine that it was easier to print on this paper than a heavier weight.
Another Colorado mining certificate, also on thin translucent paper.
A 1900 cemetary deed from the Oklahoma Territory.
This is a document type I've not seen before, a "deed of stock brand" showing the actual marks of the brand.
And now lastly, the three documents that I was especially happy to acquire...
Mid-20th century improper usages of postage stamps as revenues are increibly rare, much more so than 19th century examples. This is a 1934 quit-claim deed, with $4 of revenue stamps affixed and initialed by the original signer of the document. Then there is a pair of the 1932 3-cent Washington definitive (Scott #720) affixed by the notary public listed on the second page. I don't know enough about the rates in question to determine whether the $4 was originally underpaid, or if there was a secondary transaction requiring the additional 6 cents.
The Washington pair is a partial plate number imprint capture to boot!
This one was an impulse purchase, as state revenues are not typically my area, but it turns out it may be quite scarce. It is a large format (approximately 14" x 6") "Memorandum of Gold and Silver Bullion" from the Assay Office of E. Ruhling & Co. in Gold Hill, Nevada, recorded June 18, 1868. The stamp, sadly somewhat damaged, is State Revenue Catalog #DI-13, compound roulette 10x15.
Mike Mahler, in his article in the August 2019 issue of American Stamp Dealer & Collector magazine, displays an identical document dated several weeks prior (although he says his example is rouletted 10, not compound), and states the following (emphasis added):
Quote: Figure 6 shows a June 1868 report of E. Ruhling & Co. in Gold Hill, the sister city of Virginia City, in the heart of the Comstock, also stamped with the 5¢ dark green rouletted 10. The many details show that 1,006 ounces of "Petaluma Mill slum," evidently a bullion bar, was 96.7% silver, worth $1,231.67, and 2% gold for another $407.24, total $1,638.91 before the small loss in assaying. The eye-catching magenta-and-blue printing is probably explained by the imprint "Trespass Print – Virginia, Nevada." The shortlived Daily Trespass, published February 1867-October 1868, was named tongue-incheek by owner William J. Forbes, acutely aware that he was "trespassing" in a field dominated by the celebrated Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. In a competitive job printing market, Forbes evidently offered Ruhling & Co. bicolored printing as an inducement to land the firm's business. This is the sole-recorded example of this remarkable form.
And to wrap things up... documents featuring both U.S. and non-U.S. revenue stamps are fairly scarce, the vast majority being Spanish American War period or later. Civil War period documents in this category stray into "rare" territory. This is a very delicate 1870 Mexican bill of exchange with imprinted revenue stamp (renta papel sellado), also with two R15c affixed, presumably when it was presented for payment in Galveston, Texas. The imprinted revenue is #870.45 in Donald O. Scott & Frank A. Sternad "The Revenue Stamped Paper of Mexico 1821-187".
Quote: Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad Company - Incorporated by act of Congress, provided "that the purchasers of the rights of way, railroads, mines, coal lease-holds, estates, and other property, and the franchises of the Choctaw Coal and Railway Company at any sale made under or by virtue of any process or decree of any court having jurisdiction thereof, shall be, and are hereby, constituted a corporation and shall be vested with all the right, title, interest, property, property, possession, claim and demand in law and equity, of, in, and to such rights of way, railroads, mines, coal leasehold estates, and property of the said Choctaw Coal and Railway Company, and with all the rights, powers, immunities, privileges, and franchises which have been heretofore granted to or conferred upon said Company by any Act or Acts of Congress, or which it possesses by virtue of its charter under the laws of Minnesota." In 1894, The Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad took over the Choctaw Coal and Railway Company and immediately launched a large scale expansion program. The gap between McAlester and Oklahoma City was closed in October, 1895. The El Reno to Weatherford extension was completed in 1898. The builders of the Choctaw then decided to buy the Little Rock and Memphis Railroad which had been organized by a special Act of the Arkansas Assembly on January 11, 1853. That line had been surveyed in 1854 and four years later the line had been completed from Memphis to Madison, Arkansas, 45 miles west. The next 40 miles to DeVall's Bluff, including a big bridge across the White River, was not completed until 1871. Later that year, through rail service was put into operation between Memphis and Little Rock. So, in 1898, the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf bought the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad and then completed the Little Rock-Indian Territory boundary line trackage 151 miles long, including a bridge across the Arkansas River. The Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf then extended its Oklahoma lines to meet the Little Rock line. By agreement of April 1, 1904, the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf, and practically all of its property, became the property of the Rock Island System. Company History Purchased Choctaw Coal and Railway Company [11/30/1887] from George H. Earle, Jr., Sydney F. Tyler, Francis I. Gowen, George B. Kirkbride, and Nicholas Thouron, Trustees [9/8/1894] on 10/3/1894. Built from Oklahoma City to Mc Alester, Oklahoma, (120 miles) via Dickson, Choctaw, Harrah, McLoud, Sunnyside, Dale, Shawnee, Earlsboro, Tracy, Seminole, Lima, Wewoka, Holdenville, Bilby, Agua, Calvin, Hill Top, Stuart, Whites, Barnett (Haywood), and Dods by 10/1/1895. Built from El Reno to Weatherford, Oklahoma, (50 miles) via Fort Reno, Calumet, Geary, Bridgeport, McCool, and Hydro by ~1898. Purchased Choctaw and Memphis Railroad Company [9/15/1898] on 6/30/1900 for $1,621,500. Leased White and Black River Valley Railroad Company [1/10/1890] for 80 years on 7/1/1900. Leased trackage rights between Benton and Biddle (Hot Springs Junction), Arkansas, from Little Rock and Hot Springs Western Railroad Company [7/1/1899] on ~1900. Purchased the Tecumseh Railway Company [8/20/1896] on 10/12/1900 for $12,000. Built from Shawnee to Tecumseh, Oklahoma, (8 miles) via Spudland by ?/?? Built from Weatherford to Elk City, Oklahoma, (46 miles) via Indianapolis, Clinton, Parkersburg, Foss, and Canute by ~1901. Purchased White River, Lonoke and Western Railroad Company [2/2/1898] on 9/14/1901. Purchased Western Oklahoma Railroad Company [12/11/1900] on 5/1/1902. Purchased Choctaw Northern Railroad Company [3/22/1901] on 5/3/1902 for $1,027,500. Through stock purchase, controlled by Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company (CRI&P #3) [6/2-3/1880] on 5/6/1902. Purchased Hot Springs Railroad Company [~1889] on 5/10/1902. Relocated line between Haileyville and Wilburton, Oklahoma, (17 miles) by ~1904. Leased to Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company (CRI&P #3) [6/2-3/1880] for 999 years on 3/24/1904. Through stock 100% purchase controlled by Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company (CRI&P #3) [6/2-3/1880] on <1912. Abandoned line between Lehigh and North Coalgate, Oklahoma (6 miles) on ~1923. Abandoned line between Watonga and Homestead, Oklahoma, (23 miles - Choctaw Northern alignment) on ~11/1926. Relocated line in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, (5 miles) by ~1930. Abandoned line between Anthony, Kansas and Ingersoll, Oklahoma, (33 miles) on ~4/1937. Abandoned line between Frisco Junction and Pittsburgh, Oklahoma (84 miles) on ~1/1940. Consolidated into Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company (CRI&P #5) [12/16/1947] on 1/1/1948. The Choctaw, Oklahoma and Texas Railroad Company was chartered on June 21, 1901, by the Choctaw, Oklahoma, and Gulf Railroad Company. The Choctaw ran from Memphis, Tennessee, through Oklahoma City to western Oklahoma. The CO&T was organized to extend the CO&G from the Oklahoma-Texas border near Texola to Amarillo. The capital was $1,680,000, and the business office was in Amarillo. Members of the first board of directors included J. W. McLoud of Little Rock, Arkansas, G. L. Blackford of Denison, Texas, Francis I. Gowan and Charles E. Ingersoll of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Squire H. Madden,qv R. L. Stringfellow, and Wiley H. Fuqua,qv all from Amarillo. In 1902 the CO&T built ninety-eight miles to Yarnall, and, by utilizing trackage rights over other carriers, reached Amarillo. The CO&T completed its own line into Amarillo by late 1903. By this time the Choctaw and its Texas subsidiary had been acquired by the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company. The CO&T was merged into a Rock Island subsidiary, the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway Company, on December 1, 1903. The CRI&G completed an extension from Amarillo west to the Texas-New Mexico line at Glenrio in 1910. Another Rock Island line extended from Glenrio to Tucumcari, New Mexico, where a connection with what later became the Southern Pacific created a through route between Memphis and the Pacific Coast.
Dan, with all of the hundreds and thousands of documents that you've scanned and shown us over the years, I've often wondered how you track, or even organize all of them. Any chance you could take a few minutes to describe your methods to us sometime (or maybe you did and I missed it)?
Thanks for all of the great posts, images and explanations!
Quote: Dan, with all of the hundreds and thousands of documents that you've scanned and shown us over the years, I've often wondered how you track, or even organize all of them. Any chance you could take a few minutes to describe your methods to us sometime (or maybe you did and I missed it)?
The back end of my website includes data fields for the date purchased, cost, vendor/seller, and location where stored. It also prints out thermal labels that I affix to each item (with the exception of items that I store in albums, which are by far the exception rather than the rule). Each item has a unique inventory number, which is how I typically sort or search for items rather than by Scott catalogue number. Documents are typically stored in archival sheet protectors in 3-ring or 4-ring binders, and individual stamps are stored in sales cards, all with aforementioned labels affixed.
The most valuable and/or scarcest items are kept offsite in multiple safe deposit boxes.
The imaging and data entry is time consuming, which is why I am so far behind in adding material to the website... a backlog of many hundreds of items. Occasionally this disorganization on my part results on my inadvertently purchasing items I already own examples of... which I typically discover long after the fact. Oy.
Quote: The imaging and data entry is time consuming, which is why I am so far behind in adding material to the website... a backlog of many hundreds of items. Occasionally this disorganization on my part results on my inadvertently purchasing items I already own examples of... which I typically discover long after the fact. Oy.
Which is a good thing for me I suppose, since you always have items I'm looking for to fill spaces in my album!
Dan, For me the last one is the best, first Mexico + U.S. combo I've seen. I do have a cattle brand document from 1860s Los Angeles, back when it was cattle country! Will upload. I wrote it up long ago in my "red (cover) book" (which has now become scarce as the remainders all burned!)
BTW I have uploaded to the Frajola board an exhibit which reprises the Civil War - at least to a useful first approximation - in three frames! (Done by restricting it to express receipts to and from the occupied Confederacy).
Quote: Dan, For me the last one is the best, first Mexico + U.S. combo I've seen.
I would have thought there would be more out there. In fact, before my original post I went back through your series of articles on dual taxed documents and was surprised that there wasn't a section on U.S. + Mexico documents.
I guess the fact that U.S. + Mexico documents form the Spanish American War tax period are much more common led me to assume erroneously that the same was true for the Civil War period.
The last 2 documents above were both purchases from Denny Peoples... the man finds everything.
Quote: BTW I have uploaded to the Frajola board an exhibit which reprises the Civil War - at least to a useful first approximation - in three frames! (Done by restricting it to express receipts to and from the occupied Confederacy).