The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

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The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by traralgon3844 »

I thought this subject had been mentioned in despatches in the past, but couldn't find any trace of it.

Many of us would have heard of the legend of a house in London where a little old lady had papered a wall with used penny blacks. Legend has it that it has never been found.

I was going through some old 'The New Zealand Stamp Collector' journals from the 1920's and came across a small snippet on the subject.

It would appear that it was found and processed around 1920. Those of you in the U.K. can stop looking. :lol: Or can you?

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Re: The house wallpapered with penny blacks.

Post by GlenStephens »

Fascinating .. never read that piece before! 8)

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by Allanswood »

I always thought it was a younger lady that loved the Quenn soo much and that it was probably lost during the blitz.

But if somebody actually found it.... why the "H" didnt they take a "D" photo of it! :shock: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by Brummie »

And what happened to them? Were they sold off?

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by traralgon3844 »

They were stamp dealers, so I suspect so.

More info here: http://www.stamp2.com/articles/reprints/article3.asp


I see he was a dealer at 14. Similar to the late Simon DUNKERLEY if my memory serves me correctly.
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by traralgon3844 »

I tracked down one of the legends about the wallpaper.

This extract from an article:

Almost from the very beginning, postage stamp collecting became a popular hobby. Of course, the beginnings of the hobby looked nothing like the organized pastime we all know today, but it was collecting nonetheless. There is a story, in fact, of a lady that became so enamored of the new Penny Black that she purchased sheets of the stamp and used them to wallpaper her parlor! Now, that's a stamp collection! I wonder how true the story is, and whether any of those stamps were ever recovered and resides in collections even today.

http://www.philatelictidbits.com/beginners/the-history-of-stamp-collecting.html
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by Brummie »

I see he died in 1944. I wonder if the company still exists as "His firm's premises were said to be the largest in the world entirely devoted to stamp dealing"

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by GlenStephens »

Whitfield King were a VERY large dealership.

They printed albums and stamp Catalogues, and made accessories even.
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by mikeg »

.
Whitfield King were the ones responsible for the Samoa Express reprints.

Their catalog was almost as widely used as SG in their day.

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by fromdownunder »

I have a 1931 Whitfield King catalogue. The prices make me want to invent a time machine.

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by mrboggler »

.
I have seen a Postcard,of the inside of the house,so someone took some snaps.

I have also heard that the lady in question advertised in the "Times" to buy used stamps, and that the Post Office followed up on her Ad, because at that time, the Penny Black, was being reused a LOT on mail...this was one of the reasons, that it was changed to RED, so the postmarks would show up. :(
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by mikeg »

.
I am sure that there was more than one of these walls.

Remember this is before the time of stamp collectors- people made Christmas decorations out of them, children strung them together to make bracelets and necklaces, people covered tables with them, made collages, etc.

I doubt that too many would be in any kind of usable condition after you stripped off the varnish :lol:

I am sure that a few walls like this existed- although the chances of any still being there under 100 coats of paint and plaster are remote. Is there anything in London that has not be renovated into million dollar condo's?

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by mcgooley »

mikeg wrote:I am sure that there was more than one of these walls.
And there were, here in Australia. One of the best-known is probably Max Stern's in Melbourne, but I also recall a living-room in a farm house in South Gippsland which was papered with KGV 1d reds.

Take a quick look through the newspaper 'Wanted' ads of the 1860's and 1870's and there were many people looking for used stamps back then.
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by mikeg »

Maybe a good use today for all that Disney, WWF, and all the other colorful "wallpaper" issues :lol:

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by svscnz »

:D My Mum came from Bury St. Edmunds!

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks.

Post by Skippy »

mikeg wrote:Maybe a good use today for all that Disney, WWF, and all the other colorful "wallpaper" issues :lol:
I guess thats how they got the term "Wallpaper" issues ???, from the trend of people wallpapering their parlour rooms in the 1800's with cards and pictures (and then stamps)

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks

Post by Skippy »

.
I've found a few newspaper articles about these Stamp Rooms, as reported in Australian Newspapers.
Hope you enjoy the read :D

source: newspapers.nla.gov.au

Melboure Argus 1892
Image

Brisbane Courier 1893
Image
Image

Tas Mercury 1900
Image
Image

Melbourne Argus 1951
Image



And a link to an article 1951 showing a picture of a "Stamp Room"

https://newspapers.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/23072216

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks

Post by Skippy »

Image

:quote;www.nma.gov.au This three-panel mural produced by Alban Watkins to commemorate Australia's bicentenary in 1988, shows lthe flag-raising ceremony at Sydney Cove in 1788. Made of postage stamps, this mural is one of a series of three. Courtesy: The family of the late Alban Watkins. National Museum of Australia. Photo: George Serras. :end quote:


Link to the National Museum of Aust. website where you can zoom in on the mural and see the individual stamps.

https://www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/symbols_of_australia/austr ... w_4_1.html

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks

Post by GlenStephens »


Image

Margo was a tad miffed when I asked her to count this lot.

When I asked her to double check her count, she got a little more miffed.

But when I asked if she had time to cover a couple of walls with them ................................... :lol:
.

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks

Post by Allanswood »

No, its not that hard! hehehehe.

1 pot of wallpaper glue
1 stick of dynamite
1 box of stamps.

Clear out room, cover windows, light fuse and run! :lol: :lol: :lol:

(Very Mr Bean) :D

Hmmm... I have a decorating idea~, dear :shock:
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks

Post by Brummie »



Skippy that was really interesting about the stamps they used to paper with. Did you notice any substantial countries (I hope not to offend here).

That mural was fantastic close-up, real stamps and not just squished up to make a colour, very clever.

Glen I heard Margos answer from here :lol:

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks

Post by mrboggler »

Brummie wrote:Skippy that was really interesting about the stamps they used to paper with. Did you notice any substantial countries (I hope not to offend here).

That mural was fantastic close-up, real stamps and not just squished up to make a colour, very clever.

Glen I heard Margos answer from here :lol:

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Brummie I fear Greg has been reading to much 'Philly" and may be turning into a Philly Clone. :shock:
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks

Post by Brummie »

There must be some medication for that :roll:

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks

Post by Allanswood »

There had better be! Aaaaahhhhh! :shock:

Soap, razor, makeup!
Lets see - its Philly - I don't want to be Philly... Oh I know, I'll start drinking Chardonnay! :roll:

Didn't anybody see the Mr Bean episode when he painted his room?
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB Penny Blacks

Post by mobbor »

Apparently this was not an unusual after dinner pastime. I remember reading that the James Barrie (author of Peter Pan) family would put a little glue on the back of stamps & then flick them toward the ceiling with their knives.
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1841 Advert of the London Lady Stamp "Collector"

Post by 1840_1940 »

An oft-quoted story from the beginnings of stamp collecting concerns the lady who in 1841 took a classified ad in the London Times soliciting stamps to paper her dressing room.

Does anyone have the citation giving the date of the issue of the Times in which the advertisement appeared? I find numerous references to the ad in various books and articles, some from as early as the 1850s, but nothing specific. I have access to the digital archives of the Times but her advertisement doesn't show up in the index.

Thanks.

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Re: 1841 Advert of the London Lady Stamp "Collector"

Post by mrboggler »

I have seen postcards and photos, showing a room covered in stamps,
supposedly from the early 1850,s and linked to this legend
But that is as far as I can help. :?
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Re: 1841 Advert of the London Lady Stamp "Collector"

Post by iomoon »

The most likely source would be one of the multitudinous works of Robson Lowe.

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Re: 1841 Advert of the London Lady Stamp "Collector"

Post by 1840_1940 »

.
Unfortunately, I'm hundreds of miles from any library that would likely have books that would contain the answer, although if no one can find this, I can always ask the APS Library staff to check suggested sources.

I should add that I decided to ask because in Googling the quote, I kept on coming up with what suspiciously looked like sources quoting each other rather than going back to the original. Then, after coming up with nothing in two different indexes to the Times, I started to wonder.

FYI, for those who haven't seen the quote in a while, here it is (from a secondary source published in the 1850s):

"A young lady, being desirous of covering her dressing room with cancelled postage stamps, has been so far encouraged in her wish by private friends as to have succeeded in collecting 16,000! These, however, being insufficient, she will be greatly obliged if any good-natured person who may have these (otherwise useless) little articles at their disposal would assist her in her whimsical project. Address to E. D., Mr. Butt's, glover, Leadenhall Street, or Mr. Marshall's, jeweller, Hackney."
.

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Re: 1841 Advert of the London Lady Stamp "Collector"

Post by mcgooley »

1840_1940 wrote:I should add that I decided to ask because in Googling the quote, I kept on coming up with what suspiciously looked like sources quoting each other rather than going back to the original. Then, after coming up with nothing in two different indexes to the Times, I started to wonder.
The joys of research :(

Unfortunately, the only way to verify this legend is to go through all the issues for that year. If your access to the digitized versions of the Times includes a search function, you might try typing in the names mentioned in the secondary source you just quoted.

(I occasionally have success on the Trove website with name-search, but not always)

Your point about sources quoting each other is a common problem :cry: :cry: :cry:
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Re: 1841 Advert of the London Lady Stamp "Collector"

Post by huanga »

A few years ago there was a company in Scotland advertising a copy of the times for any year. I have a copy in front of me. There details are;

Changing Times,
Historic Newspapers,
PO Box 3, Newton Stewart,
Wigtownshire,
DG8 6TQ,
Scotland.

Telephone is. 0800 906 609.

email is. http//www.historic-newspapers.co.uk

You will have to check and see if they are still in business. Hope it helps.

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Re: 1841 Advert of the London Lady Stamp "Collector"

Post by huanga »

A little more on that 'Historic Newspapers.' It seems they are located in a place called;
Grovelands,
Braehead,
Kirkinner,
Newton Stewart, Scotland.

The Ph. number I have, states 'Freephone 0800 906 609. Free! In Scotland? That may be a misprint?

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Re: 1841 Advert of the London Lady Stamp "Collector"

Post by 1840_1940 »

Thanks Huanga. Unfortunately, the problem is that I don't know the issue. I have access to all of the Times newspapers from 1841 in digital format but there are over 2000 columns of advertisements so I am loathe to try to go through them. But I do think once the issue was identified it would be cool to own the original.

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Re: 1841 Advert of the London Lady Stamp "Collector"

Post by Allanswood »

If the Times has been stored in PDF format, can't you just search for relevant words?

It would make it very time consuming to search for anything if they didnt include any search features.

Personally I think the oft quoted add is just urban myth based on a combination of real events. The story changes from old lady, to young lady, from penny black's to penny red's, from parlour to bedroom etc.

It took a while for the collecting bug to hit, so 1841 is a bit early.


Search for these words only:

"A young lady, being desirous of covering her dressing room with cancelled postage stamps, has been so far encouraged in her wish by private friends as to have succeeded in collecting 16,000! These, however, being insufficient, she will be greatly obliged if any good-natured person who may have these (otherwise useless) little articles at their disposal would assist her in her whimsical project. Address to E. D., Mr. Butt's, glover, Leadenhall Street, or Mr. Marshall's, jeweller, Hackney."

Don't search for the whole quote.
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Re: 1841 Advert of the London Lady Stamp "Collector"

Post by 1840_1940 »

Greg, thanks for the suggestions. As a librarian in a former life, I concur that your strategy is a good one. Unfortunately, it yielded no results at either site. I do agree that the date of 1841 is suspect. Is it likely that an individual could accumulate 16,000 stamps by even the end of 1841 if the first stamp wasn't issued until 6 May 1840?

One source did give October 1842 for the date but I think it may be confusing that story with an article in Punch that frequently is quoted with the 1841 one. In any event, I tried various search terms between 1840-1860.

If anyone wants to try their hand at searching (I would love to be told that I had just overlooked the ad), one of the Times Archives is available for public searching (try Googling 'london times archive').

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by ozstamps »

.
As per Brummy's link above, This appears to be the only reliable source of a room wall-papered in Penny Black stamps etc?

Image

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by Allanswood »

From the "Quarterly Review June-Sept 1855"


Image


I'll see how far back I can get!

edit...
Searching the Times for just "whimsical project" yielded just 14 results for the years 1840-1860 and none of them are the quote asking for stamps.
I think it's a furphy.
Last edited by Allanswood on 02 Jun 2011 13:26, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by ozstamps »

Well done Allanswood .. that takes us back a few decades. :)
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by Allanswood »

Unfortunately it's not from the Times itself.
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by aethelwulf »

I was curious to find out what 'xantippish' meant from that first advert, and googled the word. Google thought it was a typo for 'Xantippi', a Greek female mythological figure. A few results down the page was a link to 'xantippish' though; it's someone's personal blog where they too reproduce the lady's husband-search, with the note
In 1842, this advertisement appeared in The Time in London
So these things certainly are floating around a lot. What is the 'Quarterly Review' from which Allanswood took the image? If the alphabet character was in the 1855 review, how could it be in an 1842 advert? Maybe going through all the lines of adverts in the Times archive is the only way to settle this once and for all. :shock:
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by Allanswood »

This is a link to the "Quarterly Review"

http://books.google.com/books?id=lmaGQc0XJgUC&pg=PA221&lpg=P ... ll&f=false

(Page 221 has the reproduced add on it.)


And I think this is the background to the publication...

Quote:
"The Quarterly Review was established by John Murray in 1809 as a Tory rival to the Whig supporting Edinburgh Review. The idea for the journal came from Sir Walter Scott, a Tory who had previously worked for Francis Jeffrey's Edinburgh Review. The first editor was William Gifford and contributors included Robert Southey and Tory politicians George Canning, and the Marquis of Salisbury.

The Quarterly Review stood politically for preserving the status quo. The journal was very hostile to the work of writers in favour of political reform. Writers such as Percy Bysshe Shelley, Leigh Hunt, William Hazlitt, Thomas Babington Macaulay and Charles Dickens all received hostile reviews in the journal, whereas the work of Jane Austin and Sir Walter Scott was warmly praised. It was alleged that John Wilson Croker's savage review of John Keat's Endymion contributed to the poet's early death. The Quarterly Review ceased publication in 1967."
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by mcgooley »

Just for fun, I wandered into a (pay-per-view) web-site, and got a snippet of a "Letter to the Editor", dated 2nd November 1842;

"...lately seen several absurd advertisements....respecting postage stamps - one stating...old uncle had promised to give his......a marriage portion, if she could obtain the......"

This might give you at least a cut-off time, to begin with :roll:

Oh yeah. Search terms = 'stamps' + 'lady'. (You don't want to confuse the poor search engines too much 8) )
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by Allanswood »

Having played with the search results for the Times without paying to join up, I think that they are either not showing the add's themselves or more likely the search result is actually taking me to the page the add may be one but the snipit of info has indexed to something else on the same page.

I can see some add's in the results and the letter to the editor having a grumble.

So if you have paid to join up I would be looking at the search results for "postage stamps" from Jan 1 1841 for that year to start with, as there are only 32 results showing. Then you'll need to read down the pages to see if it's there.

At least you'll be on the page the reference links to, just need to check 32 of them. :D

For example, there is a link to a page with the title "A respectable tradesman" May 22 1841.

It only has a 3 line add for the tradesman himself. But the resulting highlighted section of the times, showing on the left of screen, is for 2 entire columns of text.

Perhaps it's in there or a similar reference.

It's a bit of an expensive money grab (even for a yearly sub) isn't it!?

edit, I had a left field moment... but have found out that the London Financial Times did not start until 1888 (or at least their digital records don't).
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by mcgooley »

Allanswood wrote:It's a bit of an expensive money grab (even for a yearly sub) isn't it!?
I think so :x but there are plenty of sites out there that play the same game.

I am inclined to believe that 1841 is the correct date for our young friend's "whimsical project"; and if I knew how, I would be starting around August of that year.

But I ain't paying for the privilege :evil:
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by 1606 »

At present I can't shed any light on the woman who advertised for stamps in 1841, but I have found some contemporary articles concerning the stamp room in Bury, which is mentioned in the initial post.

Because the articles are unfortunately rather small (actual size!!), use Ctrl+ (i.e., hold down Ctrl and press +) to make them bigger.

On Sep 28, 1842, the following piece appeared in the Bury Post newspaper:

Image



In the next issue of the Bury Post (Oct 5 1842), the following notice appeared. This was picked up by several newspapers in Britain, and the article below comes from The Times of November 1842:

Image


Some people, however, were sceptical about all of this collecting of postage stamps, and suspected that it was occurring for nefarious reasons.

The following letter, by "Aqua Fortis", lays out the suspicions. Strong water indeed, mixed with a healthy dose of paranoia! This letter was printed in The Times of London, and has been mentioned above.


Image
.

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by 1606 »

As for our young lady - it strikes me that it is possible that the advertisment never appeared in The Times of London, and probably not in 1841.

I suggest this because of the following reason: in early November 1842, the following pieces appeared in two newspapers in Britain:

Image
(The Belfast News-Letter (Belfast, Ireland), Friday, November 4, 1842)

Image
(The Bradford Observer; and Halifax, Huddersfield, and Keighley Reporter (Bradford, England), Thursday, November 10, 1842; pg. 2)

These reports are the only ones I have come across - they mention that the advertisement of the young lady was placed in a morning newspaper (may well be The Times, but could be any other as well, although likely a London newspaper).

From the dating of these pieces (Nov 4 & Nov 10 1842), it seems that the request of the young lady followed that of the Church contract in Bury, and did not precede it. The idea may have occurred to her after reading of the possibilities in Bury in the London papers (such as the Times).

Unfortunately, I am yet to find any example of the original advertisement.

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by ozstamps »

1606 wrote:
Because the articles are unfortunately rather small (actual size!!), use Ctrl+ (i.e., hold down Ctrl and press +) to make them bigger.

Or ..................... if you did that, and then using your "Snipping tool" to take the large image we all get this - and all the rest of the members need not adjust their settings!


Image

Image

Very interesting snippets you found tho - well done!

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by Allanswood »

I think that we are building a case showing the "lady collector" to be not just a furphy but a fraudulent furphy in the attempts to re-use the stamps, which at the time was a common thing to attempt until better printing and cancelling methods were perfected.

I doubt there is an actual advertisement in the "Times", just the misuse of a respectable papers name to further their efforts to get "free" stamps!

When I asked the Times archive for a search of the words "whimsical project" for that time period there are... you guessed it no results. :shock:

And by appearing in the Times, the fictitious add's gained a life of their own.

Have we uncovered the first postage scam from 170 years ago? :?: :D
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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by 1840_1940 »

Found it (the "it" being the Times classified that begins "A young lady, being desirous of covering her dressing room..."). Turns out the date of the letter written by Aqua Fortis which was published in the 2 November 1842 issue of the Times ( "...in your paper of to-day an amiable (?) young lady...") is the clue that the original advertisement appeared in the 29th October issue. The full citation for the advertisement is:

The Times, Saturday, Oct 29, 1842; pg. 1; Issue 18127; col B

So, unless this is a re-advertisement (or copycat) of an advert from the previous year, the date of 1841 that has historically been given for this event is wrong.

In trying to run this down, I found that the Mr. Butt referred to in the ad is probably William Butt, glove manufacturer, 62 Leadenhall street, as listed on page 117 of the London 1843 Post Office Directory. Mr. Marshall is probably Edward Marshall, jun., working Jeweller, Mare st. Hackney as listed on page 285 of the London 1843 Post Office Directory. Unfortunately, E. D., the lady herself, is likely to remain anonymous.

Incidentally, neither of the two Times indexes I had access to had indexed this advertisement so it could only be found by searching the individual issues.

Thanks to everyone for their assistance in helping me run this down.

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Re: The house wallpapered with GB "Penny Black" stamps

Post by Global Administrator »

1840_1940 wrote:
The Times, Saturday, Oct 29, 1842; pg. 1; Issue 18127; col B
And the wording of the ad says ........................ ?
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