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The Fish and Game Stamps of Marion County, Kansas

Remainders and Printing Varieties


Aside from the small number of first year fishing stamps saved by Mullikin, no unused Marion County stamps issued prior to 1954 have been recorded. All of the early stamps in collector’s hands today are on, or have been removed from hunting and fishing licenses. The best explanation for this fact is that in 1951 a catastrophic flood hit Marion and the water rose to eight feet on Main Street (see Figure 39). The county archives and records, along with any remainders of previous years’ stamps were destroyed (The Wichita Eagle, July 11, 1951). 



Figure 39. A tremendous flood hit Marion County in 1951 and most paper items were destroyed.



When Bellinghausen was doing his studies on the Marion County stamps, he had in his possession full sheets of many of the stamps issued from 1954 through 1970 (Smiley, 1991). Some time in 1971 Hugh Smiley visited the county courthouse and learned that the county Clerk had not disposed of a portion of the remainders of the fishing and duck stamps issued since 1954. The kind-hearted clerk allowed Smiley to take what he wanted for his collecting purposes and retained the balance in a box. At the time Bellinghausen was researching his catalog, and Smiley told him about the box of stamps. Bellinghausen worked out a deal with the County Clerk whereby he mounted a collection of full panes of most of the stamps found in the box for the county archives and he was then given the remaining stamps for his own use (Smiley, 1991).

The author has spent a great deal of time analyzing the stamps that are known to have originated from the clerk in 1971, and has concluded that the box contained only a small portion of the total remainders. For example, the Sports License Records show that in 1966 there were 100 duck stamps printed and 53 were sold. This left 47 remainders, yet neither Smiley nor Bellinghausen was ever able to obtain a single copy for their own collections (Kettenbrink, 1992 and Smiley, 1991). Bellinghausen described the stamp as “information wanted” in his catalogue. The only unused copy on record was purchased by Vanderford from the lake office during the 1966 season for 50 cents (see Figure 22).



Figure 40. E.L. Vanderford purchased the only unused example of the 1966 waterfowl stamp recorded from the lake office for fifty cents while it was still valid.



The Sports License Records also indicate that their were over 1,000 remainders of many of the fishing stamps issued in the 1950s. However, less that 20 per cent of these were given to Smiley and Bellinghausen (Smiley, 1991). What became of the greater number of remainders is unknown. In 1982 the Kansas State Historical Society conducted an exhaustive search of the Marion County courthouse for archival purposes and no remaining stamps were found (Harmon, 1992). It is now believed that the box contained remainders of only the County Clerk’s working stock and that the backup stock, as well as the stamps that were returned from the lake office and private vendors, were disposed of on a yearly basis since they were obsolete. 

With the full sheets to study, Bellinghausen discovered that over the years several errors in typesetting had occurred which resulted in constant varieties on the ten stamp panes. Bellinghausen described and illustrated these varieties in his catalog: 1957 duck stamps from position four have the first two lines of text reversed; 1960 duck stamps from position nine are missing an ornamental ball from the upper left corner of the frame; 1961 duck stamps from position six are missing one leg of the “R” in RESIDENT, thus spelling PESIDENT; 1969 fishing stamps from position seven are set with a bold “m” in Permit; and 1969 duck stamps from position eight have Duck misspelled Dusk (see figures 3).



Figure 41. With full sheets of the remainders to study, Bellinghausen discovered many typesetting errors (see text).



In the early 1990s two additional varieties were recorded. I found that 1957 duck stamps from position three have a “1” set in place of the “I” in RESIDENT. Robert Dumaine, a stamp dealer who specializes in duck stamps, purchased much of Smiley’s share of the remainders and while discussing the stamps with me over the phone, realized that 1964 duck stamps from position 10 have the second and third lines reversed (see Figure 42)



Figure 42. In the early 1990s two additional typesetting errors were discovered. 1957 stamps from position three have a “1” set in place of the “I” in RESIDENT. 1964 stamps from position ten have the second and third lines reversed.




Bellinghausen also discovered that rouletting varieties exist for both the fishing and duck stamps that were printed in 1956, 1959, 1960, 1964, 1965 and 1970. A page from his Compound Roulettes of the Marion County Fish and Duck Stamps is reproduced in Figure 43. It should be noted that Bellinghausen’s studies were limited to the stamps he received from the County Clerk in 1971, and it is probable that rouletting varieties exist for other issues as well.



Figure 43. Bellinghausen discovered that rouletting varieties existed and published a study titled Compound Roulettes of the Marion County Fish and Duck Stamps.




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