In part four of our series on Morton Dean Joyce and his involvement with the hobby of fish and game stamps, I would like to begin focussing on some of his mainstream multiples. Specifically, state fish and game stamps that were printed and issued in booklet pane format.
As we saw in part one, Mort was an avid collector of U.S. and U.S. Possessions booklet panes long before he became interested in revenue stamps. He was even President of the Booklet Pane Society. It is only natural that when Mort began to collect fish and game stamps, that he would gravitate towards those that were issued in a booklet pane format.
It is only because of Mort that many intact fish and game booklet panes exist today. As you can imagine, Mort’s collection included many panes. For the purposes of this and the next post – the conclusion to the series – I have selected a few of my favorites.
In his Handbook of Fish and Game Stamps, E.L. Vanderford stated that Indiana started issuing trout stamps in 1950. He even provided a description of the 1950 stamp and further stated, “Verification by actual inspection desired”. This would prove to be one of the most misleading statements in the handbook and would cause confusion on the part of collectors for years to come.
This error did not originate with Vanderford, however, but with Joseph Janousek and occurred in his very first attempt to list state fish and game stamps in The American Revenuer in April of 1959 (see Figure 1).
As the Handbook of Fish and Game stamps (1973) was essentially an update of Janousek’s earlier work, the error was perpetuated. Janousek listed Indiana trout stamps through 1958 but provided no details as to their (printing) format.
In doing research for this post, I found an article in the Hancock Democrat from Greenfield, Indiana. Dated April 12, 1951, the headline is “NEW $1 TROUT STAMP NOW ON SALE”. The article reads, “Indiana’s new Trout Stamp, a must now for all Trout Fishermen following action by the recent legislature, is now on sale in the offices of county clerks throughout he state. Costing one dollar… must be affixed to the license of the person fishing for Trout… The No. 1 stamp was purchased by Mr [Henry P.] Cottingham. Fifteen thousand have been printed. Sales have been brisk…”
Cottingham was the Assistant Director of the Indiana Department of Conservation and Director of the Division of Fish and Game. The article goes on to explain how in the past, Indiana streams had been stocked with trout from federal fish hatcheries. Now, with the funds generated by sales of the new trout stamp, it was possible to significantly expand the stocking program.
Next I found an article in the June, 1952 issue of OutDoor Indiana, titled 12,000 Trout Stocked in Indiana’s Steams. The article explained how funds from the new trout stamp allowed for a massive operation in which Indiana Department of Conservation employees used two tank trucks in relays and moved the fish from a federal fish hatchery in Neosha, Missouri (see Figure 2). They drove “day and night” and “the transport and stocking job took about eight weeks to complete”.
The early Indiana trout stamps feature elegant and charming designs and have been favorites of collectors since they were first issued in 1951. According to Vanderford, the stamps that were issued through 1959 “were from small sheets with perforated selvage on all four sides”.
The early Indiana trout stamps are scarce to rare in unused condition (especially never hinged) and scarce used on license. Since many collectors may have never seen these stamps with the “perforated selvage” still attached, I thought it might be useful to take a look at some of these pieces (see Figures 3 through 16). Aside from being fun, this will provide a frame of reference with which to appreciate the format change in 1960.
The 1960 Indiana Trout Stamp
So now that we have a pretty good idea of what the 1951 through 1959 Indiana Trout stamp sheets looked like, we can move on to the major format change made in 1960. Starting with this issue, Indiana changed to a vertical booklet pane format of four (1 x 4). The only reason we know this today is because of Morton Dean Joyce.
Mort learned of the change and as he was quite interested in booklet panes, he purchase two complete panes. He kept one pane intact for his own collection and broke the other pane up, keeping a single for himself and trading the other three.
In his handbook, Vanderford reported the 1960 stamps “were from vertical panes of five”. As we are about to see, this information was also incorrect.
Not only did Mort manage to acquire and preserve a complete pane of the first Indiana trout stamp from a booklet – it was the very first booklet pane printed and issued, comprised of stamp numbers 1 through 4 (see Figure 17).
Along with the single Mort kept for himself (stamp number 5), over the years I have been able to locate stamp numbers 6 and 7 (see Figure 18). If anyone knows the whereabouts of stamp number 8, I would love to obtain a scan.
In Van’s defense, this is a very unusual format – with the vertical booklet pane consisting of four stamps instead of the conventional five. The only similar situation for fish and game stamps that immediately comes to mind is the locally issued Lake Merced (San Fransisco) fishing stamps that were printed for the S. F. Recreation and Park Department starting in 1972 (see Figure 19).
Starting in 1956, Delaware began requiring anglers to purchase special stamps if they intended to fish for trout in White Clay, Pike and Mill Creeks. All three creeks were located in New Castle County – northernmost of the three counties that make up the state.
Stamps were printed for both resident ($2.10) and non resident anglers ($5.25) and were intended to “help defray the expense of buying the trout for the put and take fishing” (see Figures 20 and 21).
Unfortunately, the non resident trout stamp had an unforeseen consequence. After Delaware announced it was printing non resident stamps and would be requiring their purchase by out of state anglers – Pennsylvania followed suit and printed their own non resident trout stamps.
The Pennsylvania stamps would be reciprocal in fee structure, meaning that Delaware anglers fishing in Pennsylvania would have to pay the same $5.25 fee. Sounds fair, right?
Here’s the rub; at the time, less than a dozen Pennsylvania anglers fished for trout in the three New Castle creeks – while over 200 Delaware anglers fished for trout in Pennsylvania. On March 23, 1956, the Wilmington Morning News reported, “What a boomerang this non-resident trout stamp turned out to be for Delaware trout fishermen”.
This created an uproar among resident sportsmen. Realizing they had miscalculated, Delaware quickly withdrew their non resident 1956 trout stamps from sale.
As reported by Joseph Janousek in his column in the American Revenuer, only three non resident stamps were sold in 1956, “All the others were destroyed” (see Figure 22 – click to enlarge). Fortunately, Janousek purchased one of the three stamps for his collection – and an example was preserved for posterity.
Over the years, there has been a great deal of speculation as to the exact nature of the Janousek example, with some collectors believing that since it is imperforate, it might be a proof as opposed to a regularly issued stamp.
While preparing for this post, I have thought of another possible explanation for why the stamp appears to be imperforate. Perhaps, the stamp was cut out of a booklet pane by the license clerk who sold it to Janousek?
Not only were these the first Delaware fish and game stamps, they had just recently been issued and it is reasonable to assume the clerks were not experienced with handling stamps. It would not be the first time perforated or rouletted stamps were separated with scissors by a licensing agent.
The Delaware Trout Stamps
Starting with the first issues in 1956, Delaware printed their trout stamps in a booklet pane format. The panes consisted of four stamps (2 x 2). An unknown number of panes were gummed along one side to form a booklet.
Naturally, this caught the attention of Morton Dean Joyce. Mort purchased two complete panes every year through 1961. He kept one intact for his collection and broke up the second, keeping one single and trading the other three.
With the possible exception of 1958, all of the Joyce Delaware Trout booklet panes are the only recorded examples (see Figures 23 through 28).
As with the early Indiana trout stamps, the early Delaware trout stamps are all scarce to rare (with the exception of 1958, which was remaindered for many years). Once again, if it were not for Mort, these items would, for the most part, simply not exist in our hobby today.