What in the world is an encased postage stamp?

In 1862, the United States was smack dab in the middle of a coin shortage.  It was bad, really bad.  Everything was being horded—even the cent was being stockpiled.

An American entrepreneur and inventor by the name of John Gault created something to help with this—the encased postage stamp.

The encased postage stamp is a stamp that was inserted into a small coin-size case.  This case has a transparent front or back. This type of “coin” was circulated as legal tender during periods when coins were scarce.

John Gault was pretty savvy—he saw two ways to make money off of his creation.   The first way was to sell them to businesses and stores that had a high demand for coins.  He sold his encased stamps at 20% of the face value of the stamp.

The second way that he made money was to sell the blank back of the case of the coin as advertising.  There is a minimum of thirty different companies that took up the advertising on the coins.  All of the different companies lend to find some great and different varieties on this type of coin.

Encased postage stamps circulated for about a year (until about the middle of 1863).  This is when the fractional currency released by United States Government became popular enough to help ease the coin shortage.

There were also some other factors that helped bring encased postage stamps to an end.  One reason was was that the postage stamps that were being used for this started to become unavailable.  Not only that, it cost more to buy the encased postage than what they were actually valued at in the market.

Encased postage stamps are rare today with a small fraction of the 750,000 that were originally sold surviving.

This is just one item people came up with over the years to help with coin shortages over the years.  Do you know of any other ways?

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A little history for the Goudey Baseball cards from 1933

When 1919 rolled around, Enos Gordon Goudey started a chewing gum company called The Goudey Gum Company.  The company was in business until 1962, and they are known for chewing gum and the baseball cards that they produced.

The company and its gum was so popular that Enos Goudey was called “the penny gum king of America” by William Wrigley Jr. in 1933.

In 1933, the company dove into making baseball cards, and they released a 240-card set.  The set was also called BIG LEAGUE CHEWING GUM, and each pack that was sold came with a stick of gum.

After the set was released, the Goudey Company realized that they did not have a card #106 after collectors sent the company letters complaining that there was no card for that number.

In 1934, Goudey released a card #106, and it featured the retired player Napoleon Lajoie.  In order to get this card, you had to write to the company (they would send you one for a cent).

As you can tell from the photos, the cards had the name of the set at the bottom of the front and a little biography of the player on the back.

You need to be careful when you are out looking for cards for your set.  Since this is a popular set to collect, there are quite a few reprints and fakes of the cards—especially of Napoleon Lajoie, Babe Ruth (Babe was featured on 4 different cards) and even Lou Gehrig just to name a few.

There are many players that are in this set that have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, so a word of caution is to be taken when you are looking at a card.

Which cards have you run across?

It’s a WORLD ON WHEELS!

world on wheels

When you start to collect trading cards, there are two main areas that they are divided into.  The first is sports trading cards, and these feature cards from all the different types of sports–hockey, baseball, golf and football are just a few of the sports.

The other main area is what’s called non sports cards.  This area is everything that does not fall into the sports category.  There are sets that consist of birds, movie stars (and even movie themselves), radio stars, and even vehicles.

The non sports card area is where you find this great set called the WORLD ON WHEELS.

The TOPPS card company produced this card set, and the WORLD ON WHEELS set ran from 1953 to 1955.  The set consists of 180 cards, and numbers 1 through 170 can be found with a red back.  Numbers 171 through 180 can be found with both a red back and a blue back.

Interestingly, a set title of just WHEELS was on the packaging, but the name WORLD ON WHEELS has caught on over the years.

This set has a wide variety of vehicles on the cards, and they really are all over the place.  There are cars from the early 1900’s like a Pierce Great Arrow Touring Car from 1905 all the way to the cars from the 1950’s like a Hudson Wasp from 1953.

It’s not just just cars that are featured in the set, there are vehicles like the Diamond T concrete mixer and the Straddle Lumber Truck.

What I like about the set is that when you get done finding all the cards is that you can say that you have assembled a massive 180 car collection!

You can see some of the WORLD ON WHEELS cards in my Etsy shop here.  As a matter of fact, you can see all of the cards in my Etsy shop here.  Have you ever run across anything like this?

Sometimes directions help out with collecting paper money

Directions play a part in quite a few different ways in collecting, and this definitely includes collecting paper money from the early 1800’s.  During this time, it was up to the banks to produce paper money–they would file for a charter with the United States government, and this would allow the bank to produce their own paper money.

Collectors often look for paper money in a couple of ways for their collections.  They will look for a certain bank, city, or even state that the money was produced in.

If there was a major metropolitan area like Boston or Philadelphia, the more banks were likely to be there.  The east coast of the United States has quite a few different banks that offered paper money.  This was true going west to just past the Mississippi river.  The farther west you went, the fewer banks you would run into.

The gold rush in California that started in 1848 was what helped bring some banks (and eventually a United States mint in San Francisco) that far west.

When you travel up north (in places like North Dakota, Washington State, and even Alaska) they have very few banks at all.  There have been a few bills (collectors also call them “notes”) turn up for a few banks in these states, and are highly sought after.

You need to be careful when you are looking for paper money from the early 1800’s to add to your collection—there are quite a few outright counterfeit bills out there.  Not only that, there were also a lot of bills in circulation in the 1800’s that were counterfeit.  One reason was that there were many different designs that were made by the different banks out there making it harder for you to know if it was real or not when the bills were new.

Another reason is because there were a ton of banks that failed for one reason or another in the 1800’s (the money from these banks are also called “broken bank notes”).  There were lists for shut down banks and fake bills that circulated to merchants or vendors, but the lists were often out dated after a while.  It also took a while to get these lists circulated since mail had to go by stage coach, train or horse.

What fun direction can your collection go?

A few examples of the different types of advertising

Not too long ago, I ran across an old soap box from the 1940’s to the 1950’s and got to thinking about all the different forms of advertising that you can run across.  That box in question is for Kirk’s American Family White Flakes, and it was made by Proctor And Gamble.

soap box

The soap box can be seen in my Etsy store here.  What’s fun about that box is that it has a coupon on the box that has a value of 16 mills.  Mills were before my time, and I found out that a mill is worth one tenth of one cent (it takes 10 to make a cent, and they were used when sales tax is 1% of the price).

At that sale, I got to thinking about all the different forms of advertising, even the pieces that end up being fun (and useful) to have around.  One piece is this cast iron paperweight advertising EL RECO GAS.

EL RECO Gas Stations Figural Paperweight

The fun thing is that it actually looks like a gas station attendant.  Not only that, it still can be used today on any desk.  You can see it in my Etsy store here.

The last thing that came to mind was this small tin Prince Albert Tobacco advertising sign.

prince albert in a can!

Whenever I look at that sign, I think that it looks almost exactly like the side of the can.  You can see that sign in my Etsy sign here.

What kinds of different examples of advertising pieces have you run across?

Political collectibles of all sorts

In an election year, politics is one of our main topics of conversation.  Political buttons, banners, pins and even hats boasting the name of a current candidate are everywhere.

Collecting older political memorabilia is a fun way to remember our past—and you can find examples at many flea markets, antique stores, or even auctions.

I recently acquired a Frankoma Donkey mug from 1977 advertising the Carter and Mondale campaign.  It was a great find—even more so since we are in the middle of another political season.

frankoma

You can see this terrific mug in my Etsy shop here.  Another area that you can run across are paper related items.

paper political

This could be photographs, invitations to an event, or even a print of a famous painting.  I have a lot like this on eBay, which you can see here.

What kinds of political items have you run across?