VERY FINE. THE CATERSON BROTZ & CO. PLAYING CARD IS ONE OF THE RAREST OF ALL REVENUE ISSUES. ONLY THREE ARE RECORDED. ONE OF THE KEYS TO COMPLETING A PRIVATE DIE PLAYING CARD COLLECTION.
According to The Boston Revenue Book, Caterson Brotz & Co. placed an order for 25,500 stamps on December 4, 1882. There was a delay in filling the order, and in the meantime the tax was revoked effective June 30, 1883. The company refused to pay for the stamps, so they were never issued, but at least three found their way into philatelic hands.
One source of the stamps was the clerk at the Bureau of Internal Revenue, who saved one of each stamp before destroying all obsolete revenue stamps; this is also the source of the unique Maryland Match Co. 1c on watermarked paper (Scott RO131d, see lot 864 in this sale). A second source was the young lady who verified the count of stamps before they were destroyed. Each believed his or her copy was unique and signed an affidavit to that effect. Since three examples are recorded, another must have been removed before the supply was destroyed.
The three recorded examples of the Caterson Brotz & Co. 5c Brown on watermarked paper are as follows: 1) perforations all around, last sold by H.R. Harmer in 1990 and currently in a private collection, we suspect this copy is the one obtained from the chief clerk with the Maryland Match Co. stamp, which was then sold to a collector, Robert S. Hatcher, of Terre Haute Ind.; 2) the example offered here, ex "Donaldson" and Himpsl; and 3) perfs trimmed on all four sides, reportedly by the engraver, ex Bartels, Eagle and Joyce.
Ex "Donaldson" and Himpsl. With 2011 P.F. certificate