The Waner License
John Waner was an avid sportsman and spent much of his life fishing and hunting on the lake. On one of my trips to marion County I learned from Dale Snelling that not only was John Waner still alive, but that he lived in a house around the lake about a half hour walk from where we were standing in the Lake office.
After a nostalgic walk around the lake I located his house and knocked on the door. When John answered I introduced myself and told him of my interest in the stamps and my desire to write this article. John proved to be a wealth of information and provided valuable insights I was not able to glean from books and records. Finally I asked him “did you happen to keep any of your old hunting and fishing licenses?” John replied “yes, but just a few”. As I tried to remain calm, John went into his bedroom and returned a few minutes later with a small box containing a 1/2 inch tall pile of licenses.
As we worked our way down the pile, most of them bore only common federal and state stamps and my initial enthusiasm was fading. Then we came to a license bearing one of the last five duck stamps sold at Marion County in 1973, a truly wonderful and historic fish and game artifact (see Figure 45). Within the next 15 minutes I had laid out in in front of me the licenses shown below in Figures 32-35, bearing a total of six county stamps that were previously unrecorded. Now I was having a hard time keeping it together.
John was still very sharp and looking at his old licenses for the first time in many years brought about a flood of memories. He conveyed these to me by way of a series of stories about hunting and fishing on the lake “back in the old days”. It was an experience I will never forget.
John was really not interested in parting with his memories and it was well into the afternoon before he finally told me that “I think they mean more to you than they do to me”. One of my toughest negotiations had allowed me to obtain the licenses and thereby bring the six previously unrecorded stamps into collector’s hands.
John’s 1949 license bears the only recorded examples of both the Marion County fishing and duck stamps for that year. Known today simply as the “Waner License”, it is one of the the most important pieces in fish and game philately (see Figure 35).
As with all the Marion County stamps described in this article the overall dimensions should be considered approximations. The 1946-47 fishing stamps were printed in green on white paper and measure 38 x 22 mm. The 1947-48 fishing stamp used on Warner’s license was printed in black on blue paper and measures 45 x 22 mm. The Sports License Records suggest that there were two printings of the 1947-48 stamps, with 1,000 being delivered to the County Clerk on June 25,1947, and an additional 500 on October 4, 1974. It is not known what differences, if any, might exist between the two printings. Starting with the 1948-49 season, the fee charged for the fishing stamps was raised to fifty cents and remained at that level through 1973. The 1948-49 fishing stamps were printed in black on white paper and measure 38 x 30 mm. The 1949-50 fishing stamps were printed in black on pink paper and measure 38 x 37 mm.
In 1948 the fee charged for the county duck stamps was also raised to fifty cents and remained at that level through 1973. The 1948 duck stamps were printed in black on blue paper and measure 40 x 30 mm. The 1949 duck stamps are printed in black on white paper and measure 38 x 30 mm. The 1946-47 and 1947-48 fishing stamps are perforated, while the other four stamps are rouletted.
In Vanderford’s Handbook of Fish and Game Stamps, both the 1950 and 1951 duck stamps are incorrectly described as being printed in black ink on green paper. The stamps were actually printed on blue and white paper, respectively (see Figures 4 and 36). A 1952-53 fishing stamp used on a piece of Jerry Mullikin’s 1952 combination hunting and fishing license is shown in Figure 37. The stamp was printed in black on pink paper and measures approximately 41 x 36 mm.
Fishing stamps continued to be issued on a fiscal year basis until 1959, when it was decided to switch to a calendar year basis. Stamps were issued at a reduced fee, twenty five cents, to cover the end of 1959. The Sports License Records indicate that there were two printings of the stamps and that both seem to have been delivered to the County Clerk on the same date, June 25, 1959.
The stamps that Vanderford refers to as type I in his handbook were printed in black on yellow paper and measure approximately 43 x 39 mm (see Figure 38 left). Type II stamps were printed on a darker yellow-orange paper and are larger, measuring approximately 47 x 44 mm (see Figure 38 right). Both are rouletted. The records show that 1,050 of one type were printed and 500 of the other. The author has assigned the larger figure to Type I solely on the basis that they are more common today. A total of 901 stamps were sold, but again the records provide for no breakdown by type. Starting with the 1960 issue, Marion County fishing stamps were valid for a full calendar year.