US Stamps

No mourning allowed with this 1904 Philadelphia cover

Sep 5, 2023, 7 AM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

If I ever saw an envelope that must be presumed to be a mourning cover, the cover in Figure 1 is a dead ringer, so to speak. Except that it isn’t.

The cover was canceled in 1904. We can’t see the cancel against the black band, but it is a third-class cancel with no month or day from Philadelphia. That and the 1¢ stamp on something being sent out of the city are hints that the interior is advertising.

And indeed it is — for an antirheumatic medication that “Reduces Fever, allays Pain and acts as an Alterative” (whatever that may be) made by Henry K. Wampole and Co. of Philadelphia. The full ad is shown in Figure 2.

The cover is certainly arresting. I am sure everyone who got the mailing opened it.

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