VERY FINE APPEARANCE. THE CELEBRATED UNIQUE EXAMPLE OF THE ONE-CENT MARYLAND MATCH COMPANY STAMP ON WATERMARKED PAPER. THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE INMAN PRIVATE DIE MATCH STAMP COLLECTION AND OFFERED AT AUCTION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 26 YEARS.
The complete story of the discovery of the Maryland Match Co. stamp on watermarked paper is told in Private Die Match Stamps by Christopher West, the non-de-plume of Elliott Perry. Maryland Match Co. was the successor to the Excelsior Match Co., and the stamps are based on the die used by the former with some alterations. Stamps for the new firm were first issued in 1872 and last issued in 1874, and were printed on silk paper.
The records of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing show that between Sep. 5, 1882, and Feb. 12, 1883, the firm Titlebaum & Macklin ordered just over one million one-cent stamps of this design, all of which were printed on the Bureau's watermarked paper. The watermarked stamps were delivered to the Bureau of Internal Revenue, but apparently were destroyed, except for this sole copy. They may never have been delivered to the match company, since a supply of the silk paper was still on hand.
The story of the discovery of the Maryland Match Co. watermarked stamp is told by Edward Phelps, the first owner of this rarity, who started collecting stamps around 1880 at the age of 12 in Worcester, Massachusetts. His parents were also collectors in non-philatelic fields. His father took a position with the Agriculture Department in Washington starting in 1882, leaving his wife and son in Worcester. Around 1884 or 1885, his father became acquainted with the clerk at the Bureau of Internal Revenue who was in charge of the stamp vaults and destroying obsolete remainders. The clerk told his father that he was in the habit of taking one stamp from each sheet to be destroyed and saving them in an envelope. This envelope was also the source of the unissued Caterson, Brotz & Co, playing card stamp (Scott RU1 -- see lot 918 in this sale). The clerk sold the envelope full of stamps to Phelps's father for $25, who then immediately sold the RU1 stamp to a collector for $50. The elder Phelps mounted some on 1874-edition Scott album pages and left some in the original envelope.
In 1891 Edward Phelps visited his father in Washington and took back the stamps with him. He was acquainted with the authors of The Boston Revenue Book, which was published in 1899 and was largely compiled from official records. About a year after the book was published, Phelps came across the addenda in the back of the book detailing the printing by the Bureau on watermarked paper; the book states no copies are known. Phelps checked the stamps obtained by his father from the clerk, and discovered that the Maryland Match Co. stamp was printed on watermarked paper. Phelps also notes that when his collection was sold in 1906, an assistant at the auction company damaged the stamp at top, which has since been repaired.
Ex Edward Phelps, Colonel Green, Clarence Eagle and Morton Dean Joyce. Offered at auction for the first time since the 1991 Joyce sale.
FINE APPEARANCE. THE ONE-CENT VERMILION NEW YORK MATCH CO. ON SILK PAPER IS ONE OF THE RAREST OF ALL PRIVATE DIE MATCH STAMP ISSUES.
Of the 8 examples recorded in the Aldrich book he notes that 6 are faulty. This stamp from the Joyce collection is by far the finer of the two offered in that sale (the other was reperfed on all four sides).
Ex Joyce and Tolman. Signed "E. Stern". With 2007 P.F. certificate
FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE EXAMPLE OF THE ONE-CENT PIERCE "VOLCANO" MATCH STAMP.
The striking volcano design of this stamp makes it one of the most popular and unusual Private Die issues. It is all but impossible to find sound, with 16 of the 21 recorded in Aldrich faulty.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF THE FINEST EXAMPLES OF THE ONE-CENT V. R. POWELL ON UNCUT BUFF WRAPPER IN EXISTENCE. PERHAPS FIVE OR SIX UNCUT ARE RECORDED.
According to Private Die Match Stamps by Christopher West, the nom-de-plume of Elliott Perry, this was produced by the American Phototype Company, and a die proof was approved by Commissioner Lewis on May 6, 1865. A few months later legal proceedings were brought against V. R. Powell, because they were being used to wrap matches in such a way that the wrapper would not be rendered unusable in the future. Perry notes the suit was likely dropped when Powell agreed not to use the wrappers. In an interesting end to the story, sometime around 1900 noted dealer H. F. Colman learned that a room in Powell's home in Troy N.Y. was papered with these wrappers. He went to the home and found that the room was indeed papered with these valuable wrappers, but it was impossible to remove them.
Only four examples on the full wrapper are recorded in the Aldrich book (more are cut down from full size). Eric Jackson is aware of at least one additional example. Of the five full wrappers, all but one are faulty, due to the fragile nature of the paper. Small handstamps at left corners
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN ATTRACTIVE EXAMPLE OF THE V. R. POWELL BUFF WRAPPER CUT TO SHAPE, SCOTT RO150a. THIS IS ONE OF THE FINEST WE HAVE ENCOUNTERED.
The Aldrich census records 21 examples that are cut to shape, of which at least 15 are faulty to some degree. A review of our records shows most have margins cutting into the design. The example offered here is one of the finest we have encountered.
Ex Tolman and "Scarsdale"
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE EXAMPLE OF THE V. R. POWELL ONE-CENT ON WHITE WRAPPER.
The Aldrich census records only 16 of the White Wrapper variety. At least ten have faults.