Bayonne, NJ local – history, census, plating
By: Calvet M. Hahn

Jan 1 , 2003

January2003page5The January seminar by Calvet M. Hahn was meant to show what could be done in philatelic research by the use of auction catalogs, using the philatelic local of the Bayonne Despatch as an example. In putting together the list of sales, it turned out that #10, from the Paige Blake sale had a much better photo than the Levi records photo used in the leave-behind and it showed this was a Philip LaTourette cover, also the following lot (56) was a VF example of the unused stationery, reported in the Eno sale, which may be where Blake obtained it or it may be a second unused example.

The text used the basic information from contemporary philatelic journals supplemented by general information about Bayonne. Once it was suggested that there were 10 positions, but no multiples, the four corner pieces were identified and possible left and right side position pieces suggested so that illustrations of each position on the plate could be shown. The doubling of the center suggests that it was a loose woodcut or rubber stamp (there was less wear than on the borders), which wiggled so that there are ‘double transfers’ of the center. The photos were not sufficiently clear to show if there were ten different centers inserted, or electroplated copies of one.

The Bayonne City Despatch-History, Census and Plating

© Calvet M. Hahn 2003

***(Note: Cover scans are found after the article)

This local was in existence for approximately three months in the spring of 1883, when the intercity postal rate was 3¢. Its main office was in the A. J. Theobald Hardware Store, 16th St. and Avenue D in Bayonne City (located between Broadway and Avenue E on modern road maps) with Roswald Edward Smith as its manager. Chartered as a city in 1869, Bayonne is located on a peninsula between Newark Bay and New York Bay and is the third largest manufacturing city in New Jersey being the petroleum distribution center for the newly formed Standard Oil Company. It still had the villages of Bayonne, Bergen Point, Centerville (Van Buskirk or Constable Hook) and Pamrapo (Saltersville) within its geographic limits in 1883. Each of these villages had its own postoffice.

Philatelic History

A group of three young stamp aficionados who had been schoolmates in Bayonne backed the operation. Each later became a stamp dealer. They included dentist Dr. E. H. Mitchell and 19-year old Harry Craft (publisher and editor respectively of the Bayonne Philatelist in 1883-4 and the Independent Philatelist 1884-1891) and Philip LaTourette a stamp dealer, whose family operated the LaTourette hotel in Bergen Point who authored a number of articles in the Philatelist. William P. Brown, a major early stamp dealer located in 1883-4 at 25 Ann Street where he did print work for Dr. Mitchell and the Independent Philatelist and by February 1885 at 2-4 Stone Street in New York, apparently advised the group and suggested that adhesives be issued.

As an article in #4 of the Bayonne Philatelist by ‘F.M.B.’ noted, in late 1882 or early 1883 a number of new locals began including Allen’s Dispatch, the St. Louis and Cincinnati City Delivery, and the Ledger Dispatch of Brooklyn. While not mentioned, the Bayonne City Dispatch was another. In issue #2, LaTourette advertised from New York that he had Ledger Despatch stamps for sale.

Dr. Mitchell in the March 1887 issue of the Independent Philatelist noted that the post’s adhesives were introduced April 15, 1883, upon the advice of a New York businessman (probably stamp dealer William P. Brown) as reported in the Bayonne Evening Journal of June 12, 1883 and stamped envelopes introduced in May 1883. It ceased operation by July 1, 1883 due to the government’s attack on delivery companies. He cited his source as R. B. Maxwell of the Bayonne City Press Association, who published the data in the Bayonne Times of August 5, 1886. Mr. Maxwell’s information was that the post was formed April 1, 1883, with a rate card of one, two, and three cents and letters at eighty cents per 100, with twenty messengers available each hour.

As a census of surviving covers indicates, the Bayonne City Dispatch was basically a philatelic local, although LaTourette may have seen some advantage in handling mails from his family’s hotel. No covers are recorded prior to May 9th the date the first philatelically inspired covers are recorded, while purely local deliveries basically ceased ten days later.

The post operated in the Bergen Point area primarily south of 20th street, where the LaTourette Hotel, Dr. Mitchell’s office (opposite the railroad depot), and the Bayonne Philatelist (27 W. 8th St.) were located. According to the 1883 Poor’s Manual of Railroads map, this depot is where the Central Railroad of New Jersey (formed February 22, 1849) crossed from Elizabethport to Bayonne on the way to the Jersey City terminal where ferries went to New York as of 1864. The rate in that area was 1¢, with a 2¢ rate from 20th to 30th Street and 3¢ elsewhere. Only covers with the one and two cent rates are known, and only one of the latter, census #5. Beginning May 19th, most covers are to-the-mails and carry U.S. adhesives.

The superintendent of the local was Roswell Edward Smith and there were telephone connections with the New York and New Jersey Telephone Company as well as collection boxes in three hotels and four rail depots as well as in the Bayonne City Hall. Messengers had numbered ‘special messenger’ badges for identification. For express material, the local used the Sweeny’s Bayonne City Express and the Seaman’s Bayonne City Central Express Co. Subsequent interviews with one of the company’s carriers indicated it was a highly profitable operation and that packages were charged 25¢ each (a typical express company charge of two bits).

Both adhesives and stationery were issued. The Bayonne Journal article reports that adhesives with the team of horses pulling a stagecoach were typeset and printed in sheets of ten, imperforate, 22½ by 28½ mm. While the overall stamp was typeset, the center cut seems to have been a woodcut that was loosely inserted creating double transfers. John Bowman reported the stamps are irregular in size being 22 x 28 mm along the top and right sides and 22.5 x 28.5 mm along the bottom and left. He was also the first to report that double transfers were known, although Robert Kaufmann had illustrated one in his June 1989 Postal History Journal article.

Postal Stationery

Some time during May, by the 15th if not the 13th, to meet a call for a stamped envelope a rubber stamp was made of the same design as the adhesive and imprinted in red on yellow envelopes. Only one size was issued 84 x 142 mm. The Scott Specialized lists this as 9LU1 one-cent purple on amber. An unused copy was sold as lot 194 in the Eno sale at Harmer Rooke March 7, 1951 and later at the Irwin Heiman sale of February 24, 1965 as lot 121, while a used example addressed to George Thomas, Ave. D in Bergen Point was lot 1218 in the R. Kaufmann sale of 9/5/1979 and lot 322 in his 1979 net price sale as well as lot 1580 in the Richard Schwartz sale.

Of the two recorded postal stationery items (census #39 and 40) only 39 is illustrated and it clearly shows the rubber handstamp created is not identical to the typographed adhesives in that the letters are much thicker and different in shape from the adhesives in the words ‘Bayonne City’ ‘ONE CENT’, and the ‘H’ of Dispatch among other things, while the whip in the illustration is closer to the ears of the first horse and the two rules have marks on the left end not seen on the adhesives, census 39.


Two types of purple handstamp cancellations are known. The more common reads BAYONNE CITY/Date /DISPATCH, while a rarer second version, of which nine are recorded in the census, reads BAYONNE CITY,/Date/DISPATCH PAID. It is only found on covers dated between May 9th and 15th. These are census numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 20 and 21. Gordon Stimmell illustrated this on a cover of May 12, 1883 to Dr. Mitchell in his ‘Blizzard Mail’ article on page 8 of the January 1995 Penny Post. It is an item introduced in May probably primarily for non-philatelic delivery, as only four are addressed to the putative owners of the company (census 4 and 8 to Dr. Mitchell, #9 to Harry Craft, and #20 to Philip LaTourette.

There are also several killers used. The most common is the local’s purple concentric 3-ring circle found on all but two adhesive covers. However, a cover to Harry Craft has a bold four bar vertical cork grid. It was lot 856 in the Siegel sale of 10/23/62 described as ex-Knapp, but I can’t find it there, but not when offered later in the Robson Lowe March 1, 1973 sale where it was lot 1597. A modified version of the killer is found on a June 19, 1883 cover to H. Vreeland, Pamrapo (Saltersville). (PF259288) with a 3¢ banknote (Scott 207). The grid is crosscut. The Hall cover (lot 418) to Craft had the normal purple concentric circle. Stimmell also illustrated a rare illustrated cover (printed by William P. Brown) from Dr. Mitchell to stamp dealer R.R. Bogert, Room 38, Tribune Building, Nassau Street, N.Y. that went outside the mail. It is an 1884 or later use.

Out of the almost 45 covers reported in the census, there are three items with no date (census 34, 35, and the out-of-period 1884 or later letter to Bogert 41) and two items with no identified addressee (census 10, 22).
There are a total of eight covers with the scarce ‘Despatch Paid’ handstamp (1,3,4,5,6,8,9,20) of which four are addressed to the putative owners of the company (4,8,9,20). Beginning May 19, 1883, only the four covers bearing both U.S. stamps as well as the Bayonne local are reported in the census. There are twelve covers (#1, 4, 5, 6, 21, 22, 32, 33, 36, 37, 38, 41; 27 and 32 are care of Tourette) that are not addressed to one of the three stamp aficionados who apparently backed the organization and there are two covers each to Dr. Mitchell (#4, 8) and Craft (#9, 33), and 23 to LaTourette.


1) 5/9 Despatch Paid to H. H. Johnston Ave. D, City Golden Siegel lot 474; upper right corner of plate, position #2.
2) 5/9 no paid to Philip LaTourette, 16th St., lot 151 Siegel 3/26/96
3) 5/9 Dispatch Paid to Dr. Mitchell Bayonne; lot 515 John Fox 3/30/61, lot 315 Siegel 8/13/63; Lot 1688 Lou Robbins Dos Passos sale 9/22/81
4) 5/9 Despatch Paid stamp with position 2 top right margin to L. D. Wood -Ave., Bayonne, Lot 990 Siegel 4/25/68; lot 1578 Schwartz sale Siegel 6/27-9/00
5) 5/10 Despatch Paid to Chas. M. Packard 28 street, Hook with double strike of circle killer on two copies of the local; the left stamp is shorter than the right and appears to be a bottom left corner copy (position 9); lot 1576 Schwartz sale 6/27-9/00
6) 5/10 Despatch Paid to C. H. White, Maple Ave. City left pointing adhesive. Lot 289 H. Lazarus sale 11/27/61; lot 169 Lazarus sale 6/16/62; lot 1577 Siegel Schwartz sale 6/17-9/00
7) 5/12 (?) no paid apparently position 1 upper left corner stamp to Philip La Tourette 16th St. (PFC 126585)
8) 5/12 Despatch Paid to Mr. Mitchell; bottom sheet margin copy Stimmell holding illustrated Penny Post Jan. 1995.
9) 5/12 Despatch Paid to Harry Craft Ave S City; lot 418 Hall sale 11/13/00
10) 5/12 local no identified address on buff cover. Lot 55 Paige sale 6/10/55.
11) 5/12 no paid to Philip LaTourette Jr. lot 129 Pelander 2/4/55
12) 5/13 double strike no paid to Philip LaTourette, 16th St., City (PFC 61688)
13) 5/13 no paid sideways adhesive to Philip LaTourette Esq. 16th St., Bergen Point New Jersey (purple manuscript address) (PFC 187552); lot 228 Fox Hollowbush sale 8/15/66; lot 857 Siegel sale 10/22/68
14) 5/13 no paid large lower left margin (position 9?) to Philip LaTourette, 16th St. lot 637 in Lehman Fox sale 10/29/54; lot 907 H. R. Harmer sale 1/20/62(?); lot 1590 in the Hugh Richardson Siegel sale of 12/13-16/83; lot 151 Siegel 3/26/96
15) 5/13 to Philip LaTourette 16th St City /s/ Perry; lot 389 Stolow 2/16/65; lot 1340 Seigel 5/14/66
16) 5/13 no paid to Philip LaTourette 16th St. the purple target goes through the DI of Dispatch; lot 55 Zimmerman 3/9/68
17) 5/13 no paid in same hand as census 13 to Philip LaTourette, 16th St., Bergen Point; lot 711 J. A. Fox 1/6/67; lot 914 Siegel 1/18-19/2000
18) 5/23 no paid to Philip LaTourette, 16th St. left sheet margin adhesive with slight double struck purple killer; lot 913 Siegel 1/18-19/2000
19) 5/15 no paid to Philip LaTourette 16th St. City Lot 420 Siegel 11/13/2000 Hall sale; this may be lot 193 of the Needham/Boker/Eno sale of 3/7/51
20) 5/15 Despatch Paid to Mr. Philip LaTourette Bergen Point; lot 1590 Donald Malcolm sale Siegel 9/28/72; lot 766 Kaufmann sale 7/22/80-
21) 5/15 Despatch Paid and sideways adhesive to Zeph Donnell, present. (1991 PFC 240912) Lot 150 Siegel 3/26/96; lot 349 Meyersburg Siegel sale 6/25/97
22) 5/l5 no paid to Bayonne, seems to be position #1, ‘eL Esq.’; lot 1596 Lowe 3/6/73
23) 5/15 no paid to Philip LaTourette lot 1328 Harmer 7/22/76; lot 320 Fox 5/30/81/ lot 624 Mohrmann and lot 142 Mohrmann 1l94
24) 5/16 no paid to Philip LaTourette 16th St. Lot 1135 Herst sale 2/18/66; lot 1579 Schwartz Siegel sale
25) 5/16 no paid double concentric circle portion of stamp above to Philip LaTourette 16th St. (PFC 105734); lot 710 R. Kaufmann 12/16/81
26) 5/16 (?) no paid sideways stamp to Philip LaTourette 16th. Bergen Point (PFC 101602); lot 989 Siegel 4/145/68; Lot 297 John Kaufmann 7/10/81.
27) 5/16 no paid to Joe Levich c/o P. LaTourette lot 419 Siegel Hall sale
28) 5/17 no paid to Philip LaTourette 16th St. City (PFC 293983)
29) 5/17 no paid to Philip LaTourette 16th St. (PFC 104511) orange yellow cover lot 735 Lowe sale 9/9/81
30) 5/17 (?) no paid to Philip LaTourette (address into handstamp) with local tied by two purple circles; lot 858 Siegel 10/23/68
31) 5/17 no paid to LaTourette sideways stamp lot 246 Herst sale 3/14/72; lot 408 Siegel sale 4/4/67
32) 5/17 no Paid to Joe Levich c/o LaTourette (PFC 310672)
33) Bergen Point May 19 c.d.s and cross-cut grid killing 1¢ gray blue #183 and 2¢ vermilion 206 which overlaps local to Henry P. Hyde No. 9 Barrow St., NYC lot 1574 Schwartz Siegel sale 6/27-9/00.
34) Date unknown the ‘T’ of Tourette touches adhesive and St. of Street is under the ‘La’; lot 617 Kaufmann 9/7/79.
35) Date unknown, to Harry Craft with bold 4 vertical bar grid. Lot 856 Siegel 10/23/62 and lot 1597 Lowe 3/1/73.
36) 6/14 Bergen Point with 3¢ green #207 no local hand stamp to printed Agent Adams Express A. J. Theobald 16th St. (hardware store office) (1984 PFC 139947); lot 1575 Siegel Schwartz sale 6/27-9/00
37) 6/14 Bergen Point c.d.s. no local handstamp to Jacob Johnson, Bergen Point with Scott # 183 and 206 tied by negative killers (PFC 139948)
38) 6/19 black Bergen Point c.d.s. and 4-bar cross-cut grid ties this and #207 no local handstamp to H. Vreeland, Pamrapo, NJ. (PFC 259288)

Three covers were sold as lots 257-259 in the Kelleher Emerson sale of 2/23/39; they are probably duplicated above. The Collectors Shop sale of 12/5/46 had a very fine cover example as lot 56, and Y. Souren offered a superb cover in Stamps 5/9/36, both are probably also recorded above.

39) 9LU1 5/15 no paid to Geo Thomas, Esq. Ave. D. Bergen Point; lot 364 Middendorf net price Frajola sale (where less than three copies are reported); (Kaufmann lot 1218 9/8/79; 1979 Kaufmann net price lot 3ll; Lot 1580 Siegel Schwartz sale
40) An unused 9LU1 was offered as lot 194 in the Needham/Boker/Eno sale of 3/7/51 to Irwin Heiman and was re-offered as lot 121 in the Heiman sale of 2/24/65
41) An out-of-period out of the mails cover to stamp dealer R.R. Bogart on Nassau St. is from Dr. Mitchell using an Independent Philatelist illustrated envelope (February 1884 or later) was illustrated by Stimmell in Penny Post Jan/95


There are apparently plating differences in the adhesives printed and possibly two printings: While there are no multiples so plate position cannot be determined there are several apparent position pieces-an apparent top left margin example (A) (census # 7), one that seems to be the upper right corner (B) (census #1 and 7), a lower left corner copy (I) (census #4, #5, left stamp), a lower right corner item (J) (census #4) as well as several that seem to be either left or right margin examples. I have identified ten varieties.

These are: A) A probable upper left corner position (#1) is seen on the LaTourette cover, census #7. It has a large upper left corner break, but otherwise the outer frameline is complete. The Philatelic Foundation photograph indicates a complete inner frameline. There may be an extension of the left frameline at bottom. This extension is also seen on census #16, which is also probably also position #1.

B) This is an upper right corner, position #2, This is may be seen on the Johnston cover, census #1 (Golden lot 474),
which also shows a thinning of the heavy outer line at lower left, but a complete inner line except at top, where the inner line is missing. This position is also seen on lot 83l in the Kaufmann #58 5/13/89 sale.

C) The White cover, (census #6, lot 1577 in the Schwartz sale) shows outer frame damage at upper right otherwise only seen on the larger right Packard (census #5) example. This stamp shows the inner portion of the upper left break but not on the outer edge. It almost does not show the bottom mid-point break. Both it and the White cover stamp have a small mid-point bottom frameline break and a medium large break at the upper left and a minimum break at the lower left corner. It seems to be a right margin example, e.g. from positions 4, 6, or 8. Census #13 shows the outer frame damage at upper right, the minimal mid bottom frame break, but a larger upper left corner break and a somewhat larger bottom left corner break suggesting a later pull from the same position.

D) The Mitchell cover of May 12 (census #8) has two inner line breaks at top and a missing inner line at lower left, (Stimmell’s Penny Post article on Blizzard Mail illustrates this). There is an upper left break, but none at the other corners. The left frameline appears somewhat damaged opposite the ‘D’ of DISPATCH.

(E) The LaTourette cover of May 13th (census #15) has a weak ‘H’ in DESPATCH and an apparent curve in the upper left frame line, (lot 389 in Stolow sale of 2/16/l965 or lot 1340 in Seigel March 14/1966). Lot 711 of the Fox 1/6/1967 sale also dated May 13th (census # 17) also shows this as does the Hollowbush sale lot 228 or Siegel 10/22/68 lot 857 La Tourette cover (census #13) of the same date. The Vreeland cover (census #38) also seems to share these characteristics. These stamps seem to be left margin examples, e.g. from positions 3, 5 or 7.
The best of the inserted center double transfers (an on-cover stamp census #31) has a relatively narrow upper left break a large mid-point bottom break and a large upper right break. It has the weak ‘H’ of Dispatch and therefore is position E. On cover, the upper right break fits census #10, 15, 28

F) The Hall Craft cover (lot 418, census #9) shows almost complete inner framelines and very narrow breaks in the outer frames, suggesting it came from an early printing as does the Hall sale lot 419 Levick cover (census 27). Census #22 (Lowe lot 1596 in the 3/1/73 Basle sale) also seems to show these characteristics, but with a larger upper left corner break. All these appear to be left margin stamps, e.g. from positions 3, 5, or 7.

(G) The Hyde cover (census #33 lot 1574 in Schwartz sale) with the two adhesives has an almost complete inner lines all the way around although they are beginning to break up. There are thin outer line breaks at upper left, upper right and lower left. The Adams cover (census #36) shows similar characteristics, but the inner framelines are more broken.

H) The illustrated Independent Philatelist cover adhesive shows no break at either upper left or bottom midpoint. There is a thin lower left break and the lower portion of the left inner-line is missing. (See Stimmell’s Blizzard Mail article in Penny Post.)

I) A bottom left corner position (position 9, Schwartz lot 1575) is seen on the left of the two stamps on the Packard cover (census #5). This left stamp is smaller than the right. It has a clear thin break at the upper left but almost no bottom mid-point break. It is characteristically weak at lower left. The stamp also has a medium large upper right break. The rule under Dispatch appears doubled at the right. The Wood cover (census # 4, Schwartz lot 1578) shows traces of another stamp at left and seems to be a bottom sheet margin example, position 9. It has only a thin break at upper left and a medium large upper right break. It appears to have a small bottom break, but does have a characteristic lower left bottom corner break. There does not appear to be any doubling of the rule under ‘Dispatch’.

(J) The heavily inked Craft cover, census #35, is the closest we have to a bottom right corner margin example (position 10, lot 1597 in Robson Lower sale of March 1, 1973). There is a thin break at the lower left corner and only a nick at the bottom mid-point. There is no upper right break. The top border may be somewhat thin towards the left; any upper left break is not visible due to the cancellation. This Craft grid killer adhesive cover has a blot between the lower inner and outer lines. Another example of this position is census #3, the earlier Mitchell cover which shows the thin lower left break and a wide break at upper left (obscured by the killer on the Craft cover). It also shows another characteristic, a nick on the underside of the top frameline over the ‘C’ of City.


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