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Happy New Year and Welcome to Killer Nine

We would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and much success in 2017! Last year was huge for our hobby, with the Bill Webster Auction in March, the launch in April, New York 2016 in May and The Million Dollar Duck documentary film release in September. We have seen many signs of renewed interest in the hobby and look forward to building upon these over the coming year.

In todays post, we want to let everyone know Killer Nine is now up. Highlighted by 40 different items that were selected for visual appeal and, yes, a bit of wow factor, it can be reached by clicking on Killer beneath the Home page banner, then clicking on “Killer Nine”.

The Killer pages are collages that are intended to achieve an uncommon visual experience. For this reason, the text has been limited to captions that are only visible when hovering over each image. We recommend first taking in the entire collage at once, with the aid of the scroll bar located to the far right of your screen (or with the dial on your mouse, for those with that option).

If you click on an image it will expand in size (allowing the entire caption to be seen). From there, you can navigate through the collage using the forward and back arrows located at the right and left sides of your screen. The slide show function is especially effective with the Killer pages. It may be activated by clicking on the symbol located at the lower right of the enlarged image (it looks like a triangle facing right). Once the slide show is running, the same symbol then turns into a pause button (see Figure 1).



Figure 1. Screenshot of a J. Stevens Advertising Cover from Killer Nine, enlarged image showing the command functions located at the sides and in three corners.



You may also choose to go full screen by clicking the symbol located at the the upper left of the image (it looks like arrows extending in four different directions). To get back to the collage, click the “x” symbol at the upper right of the image or click on the page outside of the image.

Some people have expressed interest in learning additional information about the items featured on the Killer pages. Therefore, I have decided to briefly discuss a sampling of ten items from Killer nine. For most of the items found on the various Killer pages, more information can be obtained by exploring other areas of the site.



RW1 Complete Pane

Located at the top (center) of the collage is a complete unused pane of the 1934-35 federal waterfowl stamp. Better known to collectors as RW1, this was both the first federal waterfowl stamp and the first fish and game stamp issued in the U.S. The artwork for the vignette was created by Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling.

The early federal waterfowl stamps were printed using large metal printing plates consisting of 112 copied dies. For the 1934-35 stamp, four different metal plates were used: numbers 129199, 129200, 129201 and 129202. This resulted in large sheets of 112 subjects that were then cut into four panes of 28 to facilitate shipment to Post Offices and handling by postal clerks (see Figure 2).

Unused 1934-35 stamps could be legally purchased only during the last two weeks of June, 1935. For this reason, very few (maybe 6 – 8) complete panes can be found in collections today. For more information, see The First Fish and Game Stamp – Part Two. The pane in this collage is shown courtesy of Richard Prager.



Figure 2. 1934-35 federal waterfowl stamp, complete pane from plate number 129200.



1938 Utah Deer

Located directly beneath the Marion County stamp is a 1938 Utah Deer stamp for the Millard District. In Utah, districts and counties are one in the same. Little is known about the Utah Deer stamps – other than they have the distinction of being the earliest fish and game stamps issued in the western United States. One example has been recorded from 1938 and two from 1940 (one example each from two different districts).

The 1938 example is affixed to the reverse of a 1938 Utah Resident Deer and Game Bird License and was purchased on Ebay by Tim Hickey (see Figure 3). Along with his father, Tom, the Hickey’s are a multigenerational collecting team that I have been dealing with since the 1980s. It is really nice to see that Tim has become deeply involved with one of his father’s hobbies.



Figure 3. 1938 Utah Deer stamp for the Millard District, on license.


1932-33 Virginia Non Resident Special Elk Button

Beneath the RW1 sheet is a 1932-33 Virginia Non Resident Special Elk Button. The Virginia Elk buttons are analogous to the back tag portion of the cloth and paper licenses that preceded and followed them. The buttons were printed for resident and non resident hunters for three consecutive seasons, 1930, 1931-32 and 1932-33 and were intended to be worn on the hunter’s outer-most article of clothing.

In this way, the buttons were easily visible by game wardens and facilitated game law enforcement. Only two small herds of elk remained in Virginia during the years these buttons were issued; one in the mountains of Giles and Bland counties and one in Botetourt County near Buchanan.

For this reason, sporadic elk hunting seasons were held and harvests were often in single digits. While Virginia Elk Hunting buttons from 1931-32 and 1932-33 (see Figure 4) are legitimately rare and valued accordingly – it should be noted that about 25 years ago, a box or two of resident and non resident 1930 buttons was discovered in a county storage unit.

Each box contained, I believe, 25 unused buttons (essentially new, old store stock) and these subsequently found their way into the collector market. In other words, the 1930 buttons are scarce but not rare and, in my opinion, should be valued at well under $1,000.00.



Figure 4. 1932-33 Virginia Non Resident Special Elk Button.



First Edition 1940 Jaques Print

Located beneath the Virginia Elk button is the unused block of six 1963 Maryland Trout stamps that was discussed in The Boward Family Find – Part Two. Directly below the Maryland Trout block is a first edition 1940 federal waterfowl stamp print. The print was pulled from a litho stone created by the artist, Francis L. Jacques (see Figure 5).



Figure 5. First Edition 1940 Federal Waterfowl Stamp Print.



Collecting federal waterfowl limited edition prints, is a popular element of the fish and game hobby. The early (pre-1970) black and white prints were all created in relatively small batches with most of them being etchings or lithographs. Often, there was more than one edition. For the 1940 print, there were three separate editions.

Print collectors have many options. The most challenging option is to acquire a first edition print representing each federal waterfowl stamp. Once this choice is made, the limiting factor is always the 1940-41 Jaques print. Only 30 first edition prints were pulled. I usually find the way dealers and various references explain how to distinguish the first edition from the second is often ambiguous and confusing. I have developed my own simple method, which I will share with you now.

All three editions are stone lithographs. On the uppermost (right side) duck on all three editions, the upper wing comes down toward the tail and then juts outward, before returning inward once again toward the duck’s body.

This is the easiest, fool-proof way to tell a first edition print from a second: On the first edition, only, right above the point where the wing juts outward – there is a smaller protrusion of feathers. This resembles a small triangle, pointed toward the right and slightly downward (see Figure 6).



Figure 6. Enlargement of the area where the upper wing meets the body. Note: Where the wing feathers come together in a point just above the body – the smaller point above this is the key to identifying a first edition 1940 print.



Today, the ability to tell the two editions apart takes on even more importance; for there are no longer 30 prints in existence. Of the original 30, four were lost in a fire decades ago and four more were lost in the World Trade Center bombing. I would estimate the total number of 1940 first edition prints in collections today at 16-20.


E.L. Vanderford’s Second Hunting License

To the left of the Jaques print is a 1924-25 California Resident Hunting License. The example shown is not just any license, however, for it is the second hunting license purchased and actually used by the legendary fish and game collector E.L. Vanderford.

Van obtained the license, featuring a popular image of a pointer staring into some bushes, when he was only 11 years old (see Figure 7).



Figure 7. E.L. Vanderford’s Second Hunting License – Age 11.



1977 Fort Peck Bird Block of Four

I was informed that Fort Peck issued hunting and fishing stamps by Bert Hubbard in the late 1980s. After a couple of years of not finding myself in the area (the Fort Peck Reservation is located in northernmost Montana, near the Canadian border), I finally made a special trip.

When I first visited, in 1990, the tribal licensing clerks were not very interested in dealing with stamp collectors – to put it mildly. Eventually, I was able to build up a rapport with the License Supervisor and entered into an agreement with the Tribe to purchase all of their expired remainders. Quantities varied greatly, from a couple of hundred 1976 bird to only one complete pane of ten, each, of the 1977 Bird and Fishing stamps.

For many years, I kept the two panes intact and showed them in exhibits at national stamp shows, the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum in 1998 and the Tokyo International Exhibition in 2001.

Then, in order to help Michael Jaffe and the Csaplars with their own exhibits, I agreed to break up the panes. I allowed Michael to acquire a single and the Csaplars a block of four of the 1977 Bird (see Figure 8). Today, the block is one of the featured items in  A license and Stamp System for Waterfowl Conservation in the 20th Century U.S.



Figure 8. 1977 Fort Peck Bird Block of Four.



RW72b Error

To the far right of the 1977 Fort Peck Block in the collage, is a striking federal waterfowl stamp error. In 2005, the federal government issued the first of their waterfowl stamp “mini-sheets”. Initially, the only philatelist who learned of their existence and purchased them was Robert Dumaine, the owner of Sam Houston Philatelics.

When Bob was going through his sheets, he discovered that one (only) was printed in error – the bottom row of perforations was missing (see Figure 9). He sold this unique piece to the Csaplars.



Figure 9. RW72b Error – Imperforate at the bottom.



1925 U.S. Cartridge Calendar

Just below the RW72b error is the the only recorded unused example of a 1973 North Dakota Non Resident Small Game stamp (ex Vanderford). Directly below it, is an item with incredible eye appeal.

There are many collateral areas that fish and game collectors find interesting. Among them are gun and powder advertising covers and postcards; ammunition boxes; and gun and powder calendars and posters. Many well-healed collectors also go in for hand-carved waterfowl decoys.

As this website develops over time, we plan to include more of these items. For now, I would like this U.S. Cartridge calendar to serve as an introduction for the amazing (often waterfowl-related) graphics that can be found on these pieces (see Figure 10).



Figure 10. 1925 U.S. Cartridges Advertising Calendar.



1917 Oregon Civil War Veteran’s License

Below the U.S. Cartridges Calendar, you will find the final item that I have selected to discuss today. One of the fish and game areas that I find to be most interesting – and historical – are the hunting and fishing licenses that various states issued to Civil War Veterans in the 20th Century.

These artifacts are a testimony to one of the harsh but fascinating realities of our nation’s heritage – the young age of participants in the Civil War of the 1860s. The owner of this license, F.L. Johnson, was 67 years old when the license was issued in 1917. The Civil War lasted from April 12, 1861 to May 9, 1865.

Vanderford was only 11 years old when he bought his second license and went hunting – and that is impressive. However, Johnson was only 11 at the start of the war and only 15 when it ended.

This 1917 Oregon Free Combination Civil War Veteran’s License is a relatively new discovery and proves, once again, that it is still possible to occasionally acquire great items that are “fresh to the market” (see Figure 11).



Figure 11. 1917 Oregon Free Combination License for Civil War Veterans.



I hope you have enjoyed this sampling of Killer Nine. If anyone has questions about other items in this (or any other) of the Killer collages, please feel free to give me a call or drop us an email.



1 Comment

  1. Tim Hickey on January 5, 2017 at 2:19 am


    Thanks for the shout to my dad. He set the stage for many of my collecting interests. We come from a family full of collectors. Love that hunting and collecting brings us all together.


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