Today we will look at the Maryland Big Game Stamps that were issued during the 1963-64 and 1964-65 seasons. I have decided to group them together because the same (new) artwork was used for these two seasons only. We will also meet the artist who designed all of of the big game stamps, as well as the Maryland Trout Stamps. We have a lot of ground to cover, so please make yourself comfortable and let’s get started. When you make it to the end – I have something special to share.
The 1963-64 Big Game Stamps
Applegate was the first to describe the 1963-64 Maryland Big Game Stamps in Applegate’s Catalog of State and Territorial Game and Fishing License Stamps, published in 1963. He stated that new artwork was used: “Buck deer facing the camera.” Applegate further described the firearms stamps as “black on light yellow” and archers stamps as “black and brown [on white paper]” (see Part One).
When Vanderford listed the stamps in The State Revenue Newsletter in January of 1969, he described the new design as “standing buck whitetailed deer” and added that the stamps were perforated 11.75 as in 1962-63. In his opinion, brownish red ink was used on the archers stamps.
The 1963 Maryland Hunters Guide indicated that the new deer seasons had changed considerably. Every county now participated in the special bow and arrow season and it started a full month earlier than in previous years, on September 15. In Allegany, Garrett and Washington Counties the special bow and arrow season was split, with the first part ending on October 4 and the second part taking place November 1-14. In the remaining 20 counties the special season extended through Christmas Eve, with certain days closed.
The regular deer season was also longer, spanning December 5-14 and the anltlerless deer season took place December 26-28, sunrise to sunset, in 11 counties by special permit – as opposed to only five counties the year before. The Maryland white-tailed deer populations continued to increase throughout the state and the expanded seasons reflected this fact (see Figures 1 and 2).
Stamps for Firearms Only
I love the elegant artwork that was used for the 1963-64 and 1964-65 Maryland Big Game Stamps – the big buck staring right at me through the middle of the serial number makes my heart pound. To start with, I have two unused singles to share, including one from the bottom left corner of the pane (see figures 3 and 4). By now, I really wanted to know who the artist was!
Next, we have three used singles off license: the first is neatly signed in the lower selvage, which is still affixed; the second has been overprinted “DEER”” in black and the third has been overprinted the same, in red ink (see Figures 5-7).
Next we have two usages: the first is used on a Resident State-Wide Hunting License and it has been overprinted “DEER” in red ink; the second has been used on a Resident State-Wide back tag (see Figures 8 and 9).
Stamps for Archers Only
The greatly expanded special seasons for bow and arrow resulted in many more stamps being sold to hunters. In Maryland’s Conservation Laws, Licenses, And Enforcement Officers, Paul Hanyok reports 9,107 archers stamps were sold during the 1963-64 season – an increase of 50% over the total for 1962-63 (6,227).
On the other hand, few stamp collectors purchased unused examples of the $3.00 archers stamp – and this trend would only become magnified as the series continued. I have one unused example to share, formerly in the collection of David Curtis (see Figure 10). Ironically, this bicolor stamp would later become a favorite among fish and game collectors.
The 1964-65 Big Game Stamps
Vanderford was the first to describe the 1964-65 Big Game Stamps, in his listings published in the SRN in 1969. He reported the firearms stamp was printed in black ink on pink paper and the archers stamp was printed in black on green paper, “Otherwise same as 1963-64.”
The 1964 Maryland Hunter’s Guide was lacking as it regarded deer hunting and stated “Antlerless season to be adopted and published prior to Nov. 1, 1964”. This is not to say that the 1964 guide is not of great help to us in gaining insights into the Maryland Big Game Stamps – quite the opposite!
For the first time, the artwork on the cover of the guide include the artist’s last name – Taylor. So now I plugged J. W. Taylor into my google and newspaper archive searches and, unfortunately, still came up with zilch (see Figure 11).
Then I decided to guess the artist’s first name. My initial thought was James and so I plugged “James Taylor” into my searches. This resulted in 965,000,000 results – all having to do with the American singer songwriter responsible for such hits as Fire and Rain and Carolina on My Mind.
Then I tried “John Taylor” and bingo, I had a winner!
Meet John Taylor
When I plugged in “John W. Taylor Maryland Artist” and started getting results, I immediately started feeling foolish. You see, John W. Taylor was not only a well known Maryland wildlife artist – he was responsible for creating the artwork used for the first Maryland Migratory Waterfowl Stamp in 1974. (see Figures 12 and 13).
Within the philatelic niche of “state duck stamps”, his design featuring a pair of mallards sitting in the snow has reached near iconic status and the limited edition print is a clear second in both popularity and value (first edition) behind Maynard Reece’s Iowa “first of state” in 1973 (see Figure 14).
As, for many years, I identified as a “duck stamp dealer”, It would l have been nice to have made this connection sooner – when I first saw the initials “JWT” and wondered about them (see Part Three). Armed with this belated clue, I began to search Taylor’s biographies and found no mention of the early Maryland big game stamps.
Then I got the idea to check his obituaries and found what I was looking for in the November 9, 2017 Washington Post: “John William Taylor, Jr., 86, passed away peacefully on October 28, 2017… “He designed Maryland’s first deer and trout stamps [my emphasis] and was selected as the artist for Maryland’s first Waterfowl Stamp in 1974…” (see Figure 15).
The Rest of the Story
Like many accomplished wildlife artists, John’s interest in birds and wildlife developed very early on, in grade school. It was “kindled” by a fourth grade teacher who had formed a Junior Audubon Club and took a special interest in him.
He began to spend his afternoons after school roaming the countryside near his home, sketching nature and wildlife scenes. When John got older, his parents allowed him to expand his range via public transportation and eventually he became an active member of the local Audubon Society and participated in their (often more distant) field trips.
When he was 16 years old he participated in an Audubon field trip to the Chesapeake Bay and it was there, after spending many blissful hours observing and sketching the abundant bird life, that he first thought of making a career out of his pastime.
After graduating high school, while employed by the Division of Birds at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., “I met several artists who were then working on mural-like backgrounds of dioramas, and I had the opportunity to watch them at work. I saw them transform an empty space into an open field, a shadowed forest or a quiet marsh. I think it was then that the idea to follow art as a profession took root.”
After getting out of the military, John spent several years working as the assistant editor and artist for the Maryland Conservationist, published by the Department of Game and Inland Fish. It was then that John W. Taylor (JWT) created the artwork for the Maryland Hunter’s Guide covers and designed the big game and trout stamps.
During the early 1960s John’s jumbo-sized, bicolor stamps combined with the superb poster-style big game and trout stamps that were designed by Worth B. Carnahan in Tennessee to send a wave of excitement through a burgeoning philatelic niche. These remarkable stamps have continued to charm and inspire collectors to this day.
John’s Taylor’s lifelong passion – galvanized by that Audubon field trip when he was only 16 – would eventually come full circle when he published the beautifully illustrated Birds of the Chesapeake Bay in 1992 (see figure 16).
Hopefully speaking for all collectors of fish and game stamps, we are very grateful for all the years of enjoyment John has brought into our lives (especially now, in 2020, for this much-needed diversion). As I said in the Introduction to this series of posts, our hobbies have the the ability to provide nourishment for our souls – and people like John Taylor help make this possible.
Stamps for Firearms Only
A couple of years ago, revenue specialist Eric Jackson alerted me to something about the Maryland 1964-65 big game stamps that had gone undetected for over 50 years. Eric had recently acquired a group of the stamps and two of them, one unsigned example with no gum (removed from a license) and one affixed to a county back tag, both appeared to have “VOID AFTER JUNE 30, 1966” printed on the stamps – in error.
Eric sent them to me and I confirmed that both stamps did, in fact, have “1966” printed where it should have been “1965” (see Figure 22). Then I went back and examined the block of four from the Boward Family Find and discovered that one of the stamps, position seven in each pane of ten, has a constant typesetting error in the year date. This resulted in a “6” being set in place of a “5”.
For the purposes of this post, I shall refer to the “normal” 1964-65 firearms stamps as Type I and those with the constant typesetting error as Type II. To start with, I have two unused pieces to share: a single, Type I, and the block of four from the Boward find (see Figures 18-20).
Next we have the unsigned (it has been removed from a license or tag) Type II discovery example (see Figures 21 and 22).
Next we have two used Type I singles off license: the first is neatly signed along the top; the second has been overprinted “DEER” in black ink (see Figures 23 and 24).
Next we have three usages: the first (Type I) is used on a State-Wide Hunter back tag; the second (Type II) is used on an Allegany County Resident Hunting License which has been overprinted “ANTLERLESS DEER – ALLEGANY COUNTY in black ink and the third (also Type II) is on a Wicomico County back tag (see Figures 25, 26 and 27).
Stamps for Archers Only
There have been relatively few 1964-65 archers stamps recorded and the year dates are often difficult to read (even at high magnification). However, at this point there is no evidence to show the typesetting error extends to the archers stamps. If anyone knows differently, please contact me and I will update this information.
To start with, I have two unused pieces to share: an unused single from the Vanderford collection and an unused block from the Boward Family find (see Figures 28 and 29).
Next I have three usages to share: the first is used on the reverse of a State-Wide Hunter back tag; the second is used in combination with a firearms stamp, Type I, on the reverse of a similar back tag and the third is one of my favorite pieces in my entire collection (I could look at it for hours).
Back in the 1990s (the peak of my exhibiting years) I used to run ads in the “Wanted to Buy” section of the classifieds in newspapers across the country. I was looking to buy pieces that would enhance my exhibits. One day I was contacted by a hunter from Baltimore. He told me that he had saved many of his old licenses and that I was free to stop by the next time I was in the area.
He turned out to be a great guy and very meticulous, for not only did he sign his stamps very neatly – he carefully placed each of them on his licenses in such a way that they would not get creased once he folded it up in his wallet! I hope you enjoy this final piece: both 1964-65 big game stamps used in combination with one of my favorite federal waterfowl stamps. The big game stamps are overprinted “ANTLERLESS DEER – WORCHESTER COUNTY” in red (see Figures 30-32).
To end Part Five, here is the exhibit page that featured the combination license I acquired from the hunter in Baltimore (see Figure 33).