Intertwining of Philatelic and Social History by Calvet M. Hahn – Part 2- The Beginning of Philately

Part II


Intertwining 2 image 1      Intertwining Part 2 Image 2      Intertwining Part 2 Image 3     Intertwining Part 2 Image 4       Intertwining Part 2 Image 5       Intertwining Part 2 Image 6

                            The Beginning of Philately

Initially, everything was accumulated.  This meant government and private issues, adhesives and non-adhesives such as envelopes and postal stationery.  Even facsimiles were openly collected and from 1864 to 1875 the Spiro Brothers firm made its living by meeting the need fully and openly.

Other early dealers also offered facsimiles as well as outright fakes or reprints.  From George Hussey and Ferdinand Elb, to S. Allen Taylor and J. Walter Scott, livings were made by providing facsimiles and forgeries in addition to legitimate and bogus issues.

Proofs and essays even those made strictly for collectors and never intended as part of an official stamp-issuance program were collected.  In his 1862 catalog, Valette rejected collecting those, particularly essays, because of the forgery problem and the existence of irregular ‘proofs.’

Telegraph and local stamps were collected almost as avidly as government issues and private locals, carriers and independent mails.  Newspaper stamps, newspaper tax stamps, railway stamps, school stamps and a host of labels were also eagerly sought.  At the turn of the century, some telegraph labels commanded equal or higher prices in the United States than did examples of the 1847 issue.

The expanding collecting base was helped by the study of watermarks, perforations, papers and gums.  However, these studies had a subsidiary function in determining forgeries.  Postal forgeries had been known as early as April 1850 on Spanish issues, while philatelic forgers began around 1857, according to Louis Hanciau.

Ferdinand Elb of Dresden began churning out his fakes by 1859 and was joined by the Spiro firm in Hamburg in 1864; the latter firm’s products were not reported in the 1862 works on forgery but took a prominent place in the forgery books written by the Reverend Earée.

The concept of bogus countries and bogus issues does not appear to predate late 1863 when S. Allen Taylor began to churn out his fantasies, first in Canada and then in the United States.

Specialized listings of new collecting areas began to appear at an early date.  In 1862, the A. C. Kline catalog substantially increased the list of U.S. private locals, while in 1863 the Sever and Francis catalog was the first to cover U.S. revenues.  In 1878 the Dresden Union published a descriptive catalog of U.S. officials, while also in early 1878 the New York National Philatelic Society reported it was having G. B. Mason prepare its 14,500 revenue stamp listings for publication.  However, proofs and essays had to wait until 1889 when John Tiffany published the first catalog, while independent mail handstamps and label listings did not come out in any comprehensive form until well into the 20th century.

The early collectors eagerly searched for new varieties of material to collect and were not terribly discriminating about what they bought, which is why the facsimile and bogus market boomed. Following the U.S. Civil War, advertisement after advertisement appeared in the Southern press seeking Confederate provisionals, many of which were still unknown.  Not all were genuine.  In February 1872 the Philatelist published articles authenticating the Pleasant Shade and Rheatown Confederate provisionals.  The June issue that year reported on a number of independent mail and express labels.

In the early 1870s Charles Coster (1852-1900) scion of a wealthy merchant family began his major study of locals and carriers.  He used newspapers and city directories as source material in addition to contacts with still-living collectors and dealers who might remember the early private posts.  In this way he determined what existed and rejected a number of others.  In 1868 he serialized his studies and later Scott published an unauthorized English edition without consulting Coster who then published a revision in French in 1882, Les Postes Privée, his seminal work, which is still being used.  Unfortunately, if he rejected something, it was classed as bogus and became a target for destruction.

At the International Congress of Stamp Collectors, held in June 1878 at Paris, Coster, who was Congress president, gave a major paper on U.S. provisionals, possibly the first one.  It included discussion of the then unrecorded Philadelphia and Washington provisionals, as well as the Alexandrias which were first reported in March 1873.  News of the Brattleboros saw print in 1865, while the New Haven envelopes were first described in May 1871 by New York dealer William Brown.  It was 1875 before the Baltimore provisionals were reported.  Coster’s paper was followed up by John Tiffany who, over the next decade, sought out contemporary documentation in the newspapers and turned up much new data about these items.

The scientific approach to collecting that incorporated study of watermarks, perforations, papers and gums had another consequence that changed the nature of the hobby.  The initial albums, such as the Lallier, were designed to show face-different stamps only.  They also had such small space allocations on the pages that may stamps could be displayed only when closely trimmed.

The acceptance of perforation varieties as a collectable class meant it became important to have sufficient margins around the stamp design to let one determine if the stamp was originally perforated or not and, if perforated, what kind of perforations were used.

With the acceptance of watermark and paper varieties, it became apparent that examination of the back of the stamp was now important as well; this brought about a demand for hinges.  At the same time, recognition that different stamps had different gums put added emphasis upon the backs and created a demand for ‘post office fresh’ or mint stamps.

The scientific curiosity that led to the development also whetted the general public’s interest in stamps.  The New York Evening Post on August 24, 1861, gave a lengthy report on the manufacturer of the new 1861 issue, with other papers chiming in on various aspects of the new issue.  The February 1862 New Harper’s Magazine discussed the perforation process.  A bit earlier in October 1860, James Holbrook began publication of a semi-official account of postal affairs, called the United States Mail and Post Office Assistant that ran for the next 15 years and was subscribed to by most U. S. postmasters.  The October 1871 Harper’s published a detailed account of how stamps were printed at that tome. The popular Valentine’s Manuals also carried extensive commentary on early postal service in the United States.

Pioneer Collectors

Most of the early pioneer collectors were middle-class professional adults.  The first identifiable stamp collector was John E. Gray (1800-1875), (Figure 4) who bought the penny black in blocks of four in 1840.  He had entered the hobby in middle age as a result of his interest in postal reform.  A young lady collector, Miss Harrison of Yorkshire, England also entered the hobby in the same year at age ten.  She acquired the rare VR penny blacks from one of Victoria’s lady’s in waiting and followed up by obtaining essays and proofs from Sir Roland Hill.  She was still actively collecting at age 80 in 1910 when a brief write-up in Mekeelsreported her existence. James Grimwood-Taylor (Cavendish auctions) reports his great-great-grandmother Anne Whitear (1812-1888) whose collection, which still survives, had 184 all different design stamps in January 1865.  This was when she was 52; she had begun collecting during the 1850s or earlier and the collection had been expanded to 396 different stamps by February 1886.  He also reported her niece (1843-1929) Fanny Whitear (1843-1929) had a collection that was still intact and housed in the May 1864 Moens first English language album.

Other English pioneers were Dr. Rix of St. Neots, in Hunts as well as a Mr. Hughes-Hughes and a Mr. Haskell about whom nothing but their names seems to have survived.   An adult woman pioneer was Miss A.L. Fenton of Bristol, England, who was already well-known by 1863.  She was the first female collector to make a presentation before the future Royal of England and her library became an important part of that society’s library.  She died in 1897.

In France the reputed first collector was M. de Saulez of the Institute of France. Other important early French collectors of the 1860s included Baron Arthur Rothschild, Baron Aymar de Saint Laud, Philippe de Bosredou, Carreton and Durien as well as the French dealer Charles Roussin.  We have almost no data about the collectors of the first philatelic decade. For the most part only those who remained prominent in the 1860s are known. This is because there was no philatelic literature.  We have a bit more information about the collectors of the 1850s because many of them were still collecting in the 1860s and came to notice then.

Among those we do know who started collecting as adults are Oscar Berger-Levrault (1826-1903), of Strasbourg, (Figure 5), who was a collector well before he published the first stamp list or catalog in September 186l. He may have been a first decade collector; he did become a dealer in 1858. His 1890 reminiscences, or ‘observations’ were published in #64-65 of the Philatelic Journal of America.

Among the early English collectors was William A. S. Westoby (1815-1899), (Figure 6), who began as an adult and who appears to have been collecting in the 1840s.  He often went to Paris and used the pseudonym of ‘a Parisian collector’.  He met Judge Philbrick there in 1863 and was the first to own an example of the Spanish 2 reales color error, which he acquired in 1867.

Another pioneer collector was Rev. Robert E. Earée (1846-1928), (Figure 7), who authored one of the more important works on forgeries, Album Weeds in the 1870s. He was one of the first signers of the Roll of Distinguished Philatelists in 1921.

  1. W. Viner (1812-1906), (Figure 8), was another early adult English collector although he didn’t begin collecting until 1860, at age 47.  A stamp enthusiast, Viner never formed a major holding.  Another pioneer adult collector was the Rev. Francis J. Stainforth, whose holdings were used in 1862 for the first and second editions of the Mount Brown catalogs.  Another early collector was Judge Frederick A. Philbrick (1835-1910), (Figure 9).

Philbrick was a barrister in 1860 when he began collecting; he formed what may well have been the first important pioneer collection of the 1860s and 1870s.  His sale of all but the British portion in 1882 to Ferrari made the latter’s collection

Another adult collector of the period was Sir Daniel Cooper, (born 1821)(Figure 10).  He began collecting in 1861 at age 40 although earlier involved (in 1850) as a legislator in arranging for New Zealand to issue stamps.

It is not clear at what age Mount Brown (1837-1919), (Figure 11) began collecting, but he was in his 20s when he developed his catalog.

Another prominent early English collector was Major Edward B. Evans (1846-1922), (Figure 12).  His Mulready holding can be seen today as part of the Royal Collection, while his Mauritius holding, acquired while serving in that country between 1876 and 1879, is now part of the Tapling holding in the British Museum.  Major Evans, who began collecting in 1860 as a teenager, was for many years the editor of the Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal, having published his award winning Philatelic Handbook in 1885.  He is not to be confused with the Major Evans who helped negotiate the Confederate contract for printing stamps in England.

In France one of the first adult collectors was Dr. A. Jacques LeGrand (1820-1912), (Figure 13).  Lemaire bought his collection in 1897.  Another important early French figure was Pierre Mahé, (Figure 14)  who was already dealing in 1859 and who became Ferrari’s philatelic consultant in 1874 and held that post until his death in 1913.

An Alsatian collector like Berger-Levault, H. A. DeJoannis, (Figure 15) was an adult collector when captured by the Germans during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.  As a prisoner he sent back examples of the first Alsace occupation stamps seen in England.  After the war he moved to England and became a French teacher. He was the first to develop nationalistic philately in the 1880s.  Other French pioneer collectors included Mme. Borchard who is famed for the ‘Post Office’ Mauritius items she sold or traded in 1864, and Albert Couture who briefly collected in 1863-1864 but sold out to Moens in 1865; he had traded with Mme. Borchard.

In the 1860s Ferrari was already an adult collector, although he began earlier as a child collector.  Ferrari befriended the impressionist painter George Caillebotte (also born in 1848 like Ferrari and gave him duplicates; Caillebotte’s best holding was of early France and Uruguay, both of which were bought by Tapling in 1887.  French banker Paul Mirabaud (1848-1908) was another leading collector of the 1860s; Duveen bought his collection in 1909.  Another French pioneer was A. Brunet de l’Argentière, whose collection was purchased by Alfred Lichtenstein in 1917.

The two leading adult collector pioneers in Spain were Victorana de Ysai, who was living in England in the 1870s and was killed there in a rail accident in late 1881, and Mariano de Figueroa (1828-1926), known philatelically as ‘Dr. Thebussem’ a pseudonym under which he authored many comments in the early philatelic journals. Together with de Ysai, Figueroa authored the first monograph sponsored by the Royal..  Figueroa’s popularization of collecting in Spain won him the official title of ‘chief honorary postmaster of Madrid’ from the Spanish postal service, (Figure 16).


                             The Emulator Class of the 1850s

In my series ‘The Incunabula of Philatelic Literature on Locals and Carriers’ in Collectors Club Philatelist (1993-4) a number of the early 1860s philatelic players are discussed and some portraits shown such as Edward de Laplante, Alexandre Baillieu, Charles Roussin and Berger-Levrault.

However, most of the famous collections we know today were formed by men who were youngsters in the 1850s and who were drawn into the hobby through emulation of the philatelic and social leaders of the era.  They were scions of the new middle class, formed by the Industrial Revolution.

Another early adult collector was a German, Frederick Jeppe, who became the first Postmaster General of the South African Republic (Transvaal).  He was responsible for its first adhesives, which he admitted were designed principally for sale to collectors so that he could raise funds for the Transvaal.  In this regard, used examples incur some suspicion of being early cancelled to order items.

The premier collector in Russia was the descendant of a gold-smithing family, Frederick Brietfuss (born 1851), (Figure 17) who was already an adult collector during his English visit in 1873-1875 when he became one of the first foreigners to join the future Royal.  His collection was supposed to end up in the Hermitage, but the Czar’s younger brother died before the transaction was completed; it ended up being sold to Stanley Gibbons in 1907.  The second best holding was that of banker Theodore Nottafft, who died in 1895.  The third best collection was that of L. Harald Kjellstedt (born 1855) who began collecting at age nine in 1864.  He was a Swede living in St. Petersburg and wrote a history of the St. Petersburg club, which was published in the Philatelic Gazette of 1918.  The real Russian adult pioneer, however, was von Wiessel (born 1826) who specialized in canceled stamps until the 1890s.

In Vienna, Austria’s Chief Judge Viktor Suppantschitsch (1838-1919), (Figure 18) was a leading bibliophile and collector in the 1860s; his literature holding, purchased by Theodore Steinway, forms the basis of the early periodical holdings of the Collectors Club of New York.

In Germany Dr. Alfred Moschkau was among the early collectors (1848-1912), (Figure 19) who was a leading philatelist by 1870; he had begun as a youth collector at age 11 in 1859 and as a young adult became an important philatelic editor and bibliophile. Another such was Carl Lindenberg (1850-1928), who began collecting at age seven in 1857, (Figure 20) Judge Lindenberg became a major collector in Germany

He headed the Berliner Philatelisten-Klub, and donated of the Lindenberg medal (1905).  He was instrumental in exposing Fouré’s forgeries of German postal stationary and in giving the Reichsmuseum a cover with the Moldavian Bulls. Another early German collector was a banker, Heinrich Fraenkel (1853-1907) who was already known as a leading literature collector by 1884.  The Earl of Crawford purchased his library for the Royal, as it was strong in European works.

The first major Latin American collector, Dr. Jose Marco del Ponte (1851-1917), (Figure 21) was an Argentinean collector specializing in South America.  He began collecting at age 15 in 1865 and his collection was sold privately many years later.

Biographies and photographs of a number of leading early collectors have been published in Dr. Stanley Bierman’s Great Stamp Collectors and More Great Stamp Collectors, both still available from Linn’s. Photographs include Ackerman, Avery, Bacon, Caspary, Chase, Crawford, Crocker, Louise Boyd Dale, Deats, Duveen, Eagle, Emerson, Ferrari, King George V, Gibson, Green, Heard, Hind, Knight, Lapham, Lichtenstein, Lilly, Luff, Mandel, Miller, Petrie, Seybold, Sinkler, Slater, Steinmetz, Sterling, Sweet, Tapling, Tiffany, Ward, Waterhouse and Worthington.

Varro E. Tyler (1927-2001) in his Philatelic Forgers (also published by Linn’s) covers a number of those dealers and collectors who turned to forgery in the early days of philately (showing pictures of a number) such as Ferdinand Elb who began faking in 1859; Georges Fouré (1848-1902), a collector since 1855 and a forger in the 1880s; François Fournier (1846-1917) one of the best-known forgers whose last price list in 1914 offered 3,671 different forgeries to his reputed 20,000 customers, Julius Goldner, a specialist in private reprints in the 1873-1896 era who died in 1898; George A. Hussey (1812-1877), owner of a local post and America’s first stamp dealer in the late 1850s. Hussey employed James Brennan, whose store was the first stamp store in America.  Others included Arthur Maury (1844-1907) who began dealing in 1860; James A. Petrie (1843-1913) who specialized in Confederate provisionals; Jean de Sperati (1884-1957), probably the most technically accomplished forger. His Philatelie sans Experts? describes his philosophical approach to deceiving experts, while his still unpublished 119 page La Technique complète de la ‘Philatelie d’Art’ consists of his ‘cook book’. Others include Philip Spiro of Hamburg, a major producer of lithographic forgeries between 1864 and 1880; and Samuel C. Upham, who was the earliest recorded forger of Confederate material, beginning in July 1862. In addition to the pioneer forgers, Tyler includes numerous others stretching to the present. Fournier and Sperati are just two of the best known.

Most Americans know of John Tiffany (2/9/1843-1897) [1] , who used inherited real estate money to form one of the first major American holdings and who pioneered in collecting philatelic literature.  He became enamored of stamps in the late 1850s while a student in France, prior to his studies at Harvard Law.  The Earl of Crawford (1847-1914) purchased his library, and much is today available in the British Museum.  In England William Avery (1854 -1908) built one of the early major holdings using monies that came from his family’s scale business.  He got in and out of philately at age 17 but returned at age 24 to build one of the three or four finest holdings of his era.  He died in 1908 and his collection was sold for $120,000 the following year.

George Worthington (born 1850) is a clear example of the emulation motive, for he began to collect in 1884 as he put it to gain ‘class,’ having amassed his fortune in quarries, real estate and the American Chicle Company.  Exploiting the emulation concept was Henry Duveen (born 1854) who was part of the well-known firm of art dealers that sold ‘old masters’ to wealthy, status-seeking collectors such as Frick and Carnegie.

Benjamin Miller, Jr. (1849-1928) formed a collection that can still be seen.  His fortune came from his work as a real estate lawyer, and his collection, on deposit in the New York Public Library, has been instrumental in teaching several generations of collectors about American rarities.  He was also famed for his wild game trophy collection.

  1. B. Sterling (1851-1925), (Figure 22) right, began collecting ‘post office fresh’ stamps in 1861.  Orphaned at 13, he supported his hobby and himself as an accountant or financial worker until forced to sell his famed revenue holding to Hiram Edmund Deats to support his growing family.

A youthful Deats (1870-1963), (Figure 23) used the funds from his family plowshare business to form one of the great American collections of the 1890s.  He was the financial backer behind Sterling as Sterling became the best-known revenue dealer of the era.  Alfred Lichtenstein’s father was a teenage Wall Street runner when he bought a 15-cent 1869 invert at the post office in 1869.

We have some idea of what these early collections were like because at least five have been institutionalized.  These include the already named Miller holding of American material as well as the Webster Knight collection (1854-1933), which was given to Brown University.  It was formed from the profits of Knight’s family textile business, Fruit of the Loom.  A naval officer’s son, Clarence Eagle (1856-1922) made his fortune in printing.  He donated an important portion of his revenue and match and medicine holdings to the Smithsonian where they can now be found.  This holding includes large elements of the Deats/Sterling collections, which Eagle absorbed.

In addition to these three institutionalized American collections, in England Thomas Tapling (1855-1891) formed a major worldwide collection which today graces the British Museum.  Since it was not added to after Tapling’s death in 1889, it typifies the mid-19th century worldwide collecting pattern.  It was financed by funds from Tapling’s family carpet business.  Edward Denny Bacon (1860-1938) began collecting at age 7; he pioneered in postcard collecting.  His collection was bought by Tapling and is now found as part of the Tapling holding in the British Museum.  Bacon’s collection of Japan was acquired intact by Ferrari and was sold as one lot in the Ferrari sales.  Bacon was Duveen’s curator until 1913 when he was asked to take over as curator of the Royal collection.  He also arranged the Earl of Crawford’s philatelic library (also in the British Museum) and mounted the Tapling holding.  The British Empire portion of the Royal collection is still intact and portions are occasionally exhibited,; but as it has been greatly expanded over the years, it is probably no longer representative of typical Anglo-German era philatelic thinking.

It should be noted that several of the 1850s generation collectors started off in new collecting directions.  Sterling pioneered revenue collection, while Clarence Eagle took this a step further into a comprehensive match and medicine collection.  Bacon pioneered in postcard collecting while another early pioneer, Mariano de Figueroa, was a postmark pioneer.  John Seybold (1858-1909) made his fortune in department stores and was one of the pioneers in cover collecting, setting the stage along with Figueroa for mid-20th century postal history collecting.  John Tiffany was one of the first to take the collection of philatelic literature seriously; while as early as 1869, one of the Westoby collections was German envelopes.

The earliest dealer in Boston appears to have been E. A. Holton of Summer Street(Figure 24).  Mr. Holton began as a collector in 1859 and began dealing the next year, advertising in the Boston papers.  In 1862 he joined the 43rd Massachusetts Volunteers.  His principal business was always photography, but he kept a connected office for his stamp trade.

Perhaps the most important Boston dealer during the first half of the 20th century was Warren H. Colson, (Figure 25) (1882-1963).  He specialized in early classics, although he had a much broader stock, and concentrated on 15-30 top-drawer clients.  John R. Boker in the London Philatelist. presented the best biography of Mr. Colson as ‘personal reminiscences’.  One of the better-known early New England collectors was Edwin B. Todd of Calais, Me.  A member of the F. H. Todd and Sons lumber firm, Mr. Todd began collecting began collecting at age 15 in 1867, but abandoned collecting for many years taking it up again in the 1890s.

                                       Fin de Siècle Collectors and Dealers

Among the New England collectors at the close of the 19th century was Willard C. Van Derlip of Boston, (Figure 26) who according to the Philatelic Journal of America was one of the leading collectors of that city.  Also from Boston was druggist Harlow E. Woodward, (Figure 27), who collected British North American and had a 12d Canada in his holding as well as a number of U.S. provisionals on cover and U.S. and Canadian imprint blocks.  A member of the Massachusetts legislature, Henry D. Humphrey of Dedham, MS, (Figure 28), was an early member of the Boston Philatelic Society.  His U.S. collection was considered nearly complete while he had a holding of British Columbia and notes is greatest rarity was the Madison, Fla. provisional.  In Springfield, MS, another 1890s collector was librarian William C. Stone, (Figure 29) who chronicled new issues for the Philatelic Journal of America and other journals and edited the American Philatelist.  He began collection as a result of a sea captain’s wife, who gave him East Indian and Hong Kong stamps while his first purchase in 1870 was of the 15¢ 1869, which he bought from a schoolmate.  In Connecticut, one of the younger prominent collectors, (Figure 30) of the fin-de-siècle was Arthur B. Hubbard, of Middleton, CT. who had amassed 4,000 stamps in a fairly short time.


The earliest Rhode Island dealer, John B. Calder, sold a sheet of the Providence provisionals to Alpheus B. Slater, Jr., (1860-1936) (Figure 31) of Providence in 1867 for $2.50 starting him on the road for his most famous study, that of the Providence provisionals, published in 1930.  The 6’3” tall Slater is also well known as an early collector of blocks of four, which he began collecting in the 1860s at the instigation of Charles A. Hopkins, a collector employed by the Providence Gas Company the company of which Slater was eventually manager (his father had been a director), and also had a major holding of the 1847 issue.  In fact, he was the first to own a recognized orange 5¢ Franklin example, now in the Hahn collection.  Another older pioneer Providence collector was Providence mayor Frank F. Olney, (Figure 32).  He owned a Lady McLeod as well as a set of the orange-vermilion Newfoundland and all but one of the scarlet-vermilion

One of the prominent early New Jersey dealer-collectors was George B. Mason (1836-1889), (Figure 33) who began collecting in 1860 and dealing, with Yale students by mail, in 1861. As a result of having become paralyzed, he was, if not the first, one of the earliest mail order stamp dealers.  Another New Jersey collector was G. B. Reynolds of Morris Plains, (Figure 34). Born in 1866, Mr. Reynolds joined the Navy in 1881 and his foreign tours inspired him to collect. That collection he ‘sold for a song’, not knowing its value before his discharge in 1886.

A New Jersey pioneer in collecting plate blocks and sheets is W. Parsons Todd, (Figure 35) (1877-1976). He and his father headed the Quincy Mining Co. for 117 years beginning in 1848.  Todd was twice mayor of Morristown, N.J. and helped found several New Jersey museums.  As a teenager he began to purchase sheets of contemporary stamps at the postoffice beginning in 1890. In this fashion he formed one of the great holdings of late 19th and early 20th century plate blocks.

Another pioneer New Jersey collector is George H. Watson of Roselle, (Figure 36).  A partner in the Wall Street firm of Watson Bros., Watson was president of the Postal Card Society and edited the Postal Card newspaper, which he founded.  He supplied a major card exhibit to the Columbian Word’s Fair.

A young protégé of Hiram Deats was William H. Bodine of Flemington, N.J., whose family business in hardware in that town, (Figure 37).  He began collecting in 1877 as a schoolboy.

The leading collector in Trenton, N.J. was J. D. Rice, (Figure 38), whose business in clothing and whose philatelic specialty in U.S. stamps, particularly varieties and oddities.

In the New York area, one old time collector was August DeJonge, (Figure 39) who was president of the Staten Island Philatelic Society at the time of the Eden Musée exhibition in 1889.  He collected German states (Bergedorf, Heligoland, Schleswig.)

Another collector-sponsor of that exhibit was Henry Clotz, the treasurer of the Staten Island Philatelic Society.  Clotz, (Figure 40), worked for Charles Pfizer and was of German origin.

Charles Broadwell Corwin was another sponsor.  Corwin began collecting at 14 but stopped in his 20s to attend to business in the firm of Stevens, Corwin & Co. and sold his collection.  He began collecting again circa 1878, helped found the APS in 1886 and the Collectors Club of New York.

Corwin died in 1891.  He had a fine Confederate holding and was the first American collector to take watermark and perforation varieties seriously. Corwin, (Figure 41), wrote a series called ‘Olla Podrida’ abstracting the 1863 collecting situation as summarized in the English Stamp Collecting Magazine, which he published in the 1888-1889 American Journal of Philately.

Another New Jersey dealer, Philip Heisberger, Jr., (Figure 42) began dealing in 1864 in Germany and specialized in philatelic literature.  He also owned over 16,000 postage stamps and 8,500 revenue stamps by the early 1890s.

In the Pittsburgh area one of the better-known collectors was Eugene Doeblin who was born in Stettin, Germany in 1842 and came to the U.S. in 1868 after service in the German army.

Mr. Doeblin, (Figure 43). was ad manager for a German paper in Pittsburgh as well as manager of a German theatrical library of some 2,000 plays.  He began collecting in 1859 but dropped out somewhat later and returned in 1876 when his son became interested in stamps. He specializes in issues prior to 1891. In 1913 he exhibited Great Britain (all plate numbers, watermarks and ivory heads) and owned but didn’t exhibit 32 reconstructed sheets. He also exhibited Germany all issues, including the Vineta (Scott 65B) and all four pairs of the 1889 imperfs.  In Wurttemberg he had a strip of five on cover of the 1851 18kr  (Scott 18).

Another pioneer collector in Pittsburgh was C. P. Krauth, (Figure 44) Born in 1848, Krauth was a schoolboy collector and gave it up when he went to the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 1869 following which he was a superintendent of the Pullman service in New York and Boston and secretary of a manufacturing firm in Pittsburgh.  He again took up collecting and his European collection totaled some 7,000 varieties in 1894.  He was particularly interested in mechanical aids to collecting such as tintype plates and the use of the stereoscope for detecting counterfeits.  He also promoted the use of benzine for watermarking.  At least two of his children also became ardent collectors.

  1. T. Parker, (Figure 45), was a turn of the century stamp dealer in Bethlehem, Pa. and at #30 23rd Street, New York at the same time.  Independently wealthy he served as private secretary to several prominent men as well as working for a large Bethlehem firm, but finding himself overtaxed has devoted himself to his own business

In the Baltimore/Washington, D. C. area C. F. Rothfuchs of Washington began collecting in 1859 and became a professional dealer in October 1885, (Figure 46) with a large stock of U.S. departmentals.  It was he who acquired the February 10, 1882 Garfield special printing example seen by Luff.  In Baltimore the leading fin de siècle wholesale dealer was (Figure 47), W. van de Wettern, Jr., who sold off his retail operation in 1882 to William E. Baitzell.

One of the pioneer collectors (born 1849 in Cincinnati) in the Chicago area, (Figure 48), was Washington Hesing, its postmaster appointed by Grover Cleveland, and who began collecting in 1861 when on a European trip he brought back a large bag of German and Italian stamps, which he used to trade and build a collecting community in Chicago.  He attended the University of Chicago as well as Yale and helped build stamp-collecting communities at both.  By 1890 his holding was considered one of the finest collections in the Midwest, with a strong focus upon condition quality.  He limited the European section to pre-1886, the date of his last trip to that continent.  Another Chicago collector is E. Lipkau, a Parisian native who began collecting in 1871 and who ran a tobacco business in Chicago, (Figure 49).  His first collection, formed in Europe was stolen, but he formed a second collection circa 1890 and managed to draw his Chicago business partner into collecting as well as his son.

Another 1890s collector from Chicago was George J. Katkenberger, (Figure 50) a young lawyer who began collecting at age ten.  By 1895 his collection was considered among the largest in the area.  A second young Chicago collector was professor Samuel Leland, (Figure 51) who was president of the Chicago Philatelic Society in 1895.  He too had begun collecting as a child, but gave it up prior to going to Harvard where he graduated in 1877 but then took up collecting with renewed zeal.

A third younger Chicago collector is Frank J. Moese,(Figure 52), who was born in Berlin in January 1869 and came to the U.S. in 1872.  He was drawn into collecting by the advertising of Duke cigarettes, when that company began one of the first promotions using stamps by giving away chromo pictures with a stamp on the back in the 1880s.  By 1894 his collection consisted of 6,600 postage and 1,500 revenue stamps, while not neglecting other collecting activities that included minerals, numismatics, antiquities and pottery. The final Chicago collector, Charles E. Severn (1872-1929), (Figure 53) began a writing career with Mekeel’s in 1891 and consolidated it by winning a $50 prize for the best review of that firm’s new 1894 Postage Stamp Album of the World. When the firm was reorganized in 1897, Severn became the proprietor and editor until he retired in 1926.   He was one of the first Americans to sign the British Role of Distinguished Philatelists when it was inaugurated in 1921.

The final Illinois collector is N. W. Chandler of Collinsville, IL who was APS Treasurer in 1895.  Chandler, an accountant,(Figure 54) was also a part owner of the firm that published the Philatelic Journal of America and a close friend of John Tiffany as well as a rival in collecting U.S. entires.

Two of the fin de siècle collectors in San Antonio, Texas also deserve mention.  The first is E. W. Heusinger,(Figure 55), who specialized in Mexican and American revenues postal cards, and postal stationery; he also had a general U. S. collection. The total of all these was about 8,000 items. The other is Albert Steves, (Figure 56) a lumber merchant who was born in Texas and was a collector of Confederate Texas provisionals such as the June 23rd Victoria cover (now ex-Caspary, Muzzy and Boker) and a damaged off-cover example, both of which he discovered.   He also owned at least five copies of the Goliad’s. These included the Type II 10¢ in both the GOILAD error and regular form (two of the three off-cover examples known today) as well as a type I 10¢.   He began collecting in the 1870s and was a general collector but began to assemble a fine specialized holding of Mexico particularly the stamps of Guadalajara.

In Canada, the fin de siècle president of the Canadian Philatelic Association and president of the Quebec Philatelic Club was Capt. Earnest F Wurtele of Quebec, (Figure 57) the treasurer of the Quebec Montmorency & Chalevoix rail company. Born in 1860 he began collecting at age 12 while attending the Collegiate Institute at Galt, Ontario, lost interest for almost a decade and began again in 1886 while in the Royal Rifles.  He specialized in Canadian revenues and postal cards.  Another Canadian, W. Kelsey Hall of Peterborough, Ontario,(Figure 58), was considered to have one of the finer holdings philatelic holdings in Canada in the 1890s.  He began collecting in the mid-1880s and specialized in postmarks in addition to a holding of some 10,000 coins, many of which he picked up at auctions. He became a dealer in the mid-1890s.

Overseas Luis Sobrino of Buenos Ayres, Argentine,(Figure 59) represents the first of fin de siècle Latin American contingentA native of Spain he is the largest dealer in the Argentine and took over publication of the Josa Bosch Guia Filatelica Sud Americana in the 1890s.  Representing Brazil, C. A. Caversazzi of Campinas, Brazil, an Italian from Milan went to Argentina in 1885 and settled in Brazil in 1889 as a civil engineer, (Figure 60). He lost track of his childhood collection between 1880 and 1889 but took it up again in Brazil so that in 1895 he had between 10,000 and 10,500 stamps and about 4,000 covers and postal cards all issued prior to 1892.  Among his rarities he had Reunion #1 and #2 obtained from family correspondence, an almost complete collection of Italian states including all or almost all of the rarities of Tuscany and Two Sicilies.  His Latin American holding was complete for early Brazil, the Argentine Republic (including the Rivadavias) and Uruguay, the three countries in which he specialized.  The third Latin American is Ernest V. Duperly (Figure 61) of Bogota, Colombia, a professional photographer, whose collecting interests focused upon philatelic literature.

A brief look at some of the younger fin de siècle Europeans would include the multi-generation Mahé family of Paris whose patriarch, Pierre (1833-1913) was a Parisian stamp dealer from a printing firm family, and curator of the Ferrari collection, while his 30 year old son, Edward M. Mahé, (Figure 62) was associated with his father in the dealership in the mid-1890s and took over purchases for the Ferrari holding when his father died.  The young 18-year old daughter served as a philatelic translator for visitors as well as being a collector in her own right.  A similar old timer, Charles Roussin (1842-1902), (Figure 63) was still active.  He and Mahé destroyed many Hamburg local fakes as well as numerous U.S. locals they both felt were forgeries in a series of massive bon fires.  Also active was old-time dealer Alexandre Baillieu (1842-1899).  In Belgium Moens was still active in Brussels, while a young dealer (born 1865), François Van Riet,(Figure 64) set up in Antwerp.  He was solely a collector from 1875 to 1883 when the sale of his collection financed his entry into philatelic dealing.  Another of the younger European collector-dealers was R. Hollaar of Amsterdam, Holland,(Figure 65). In Hamburg, Germany, Julius Lossau, (Figure 66) was another collector-dealer (born 1865).  His private collection chiefly of France and French colonies numbered 8,200 stamps including the surcharges.  A budding collector in Italy, (Figure 67) was G. F. Elena de Villafarald of Genoa (born 1871) who began collecting at age seventeen and who had a very good holding during the last decade of the 19th century.  Finally, in Dundee, Scotland, Thomas Martin Wears, (Figure 68), developed a reputation as a student.  Born in 1861, he began collecting as a 16-year old specializing in British adhesives.  He began contributing British notes to foreign publications in 1881, developed a holding of about 100 volumes of philatelic literature and authored monographs on the Sydney views in 1884, the Mulready envelopes in 1887 and philatelic poetry in 1889.


[1] Dr. Trenchard states he died unexpectedly from a ruptured appendix in 1897; however, the Linn’s 2000 Almanac states he died in 1907 and other sources record 1903.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ nineteen = twenty eight

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: