John F. Henry

John F. Henry was one of the sons in J.M. Henry & Sons, a proprietary medicine firm operating in the 1850's in Vermont. In 1865 John F. went to New York to work for Demas Barnes. Barnes wanted to run for Congress and pursue other activities, so in 1868 Henry took over as successor. By 1869 Henry must have run out of proprietary stamps from Barnes, so he ordered his own in one, two and four-cent denominations.

The one-cent black stamps were first issued in October of 1869, and last issued February 27, 1883. 451,000 were issued on old paper, 1,855,676 on silk paper and 1,254,444 on pink and watermarked papers. A sheet or two of the watermarked stamps were issued lacking perforations between successive pairs. Some pairs were pieced back together, but the one above was not matched to the stamp that was next to it. The single copy is on silk paper, and the one that is partially imperforate is on watermarked paper.


Henry apparently expected the two-cent stamps to be printed in a bright purple. When he saw the first shipment he had the color changed to blue. 23,000 of the lake two-cent stamps were issued in October and November of 1869. All were printed on old paper.

The blue stamps were issued from December of 1869 through February 27, 1883. 294,000 were issued on old paper, 990,295 on silk paper and 667,091 on pink and watermarked papers. The one above is on old paper.


The brown four-cent stamps met the same fate. Henry wrote to the Carpenter firm, "Please give me bright colors as the last were shockingly bad." 16,250 of the brown stamps were delivered in October and November of 1869, all printed on old paper.

Four-cent stamps were delivered in various shades of red from February of 1870 until February 20, 1883. 142,875 were issued on old paper, 812,886 on silk paper and 593,010 on pink and watermarked papers. The copy above is on watermarked paper.




Two checks written from Henry's account. The revenue imprints on them are RN C-9 and D-9. Henry traded heavily on the Barnes name in his early career, to the point of having the Barnes checks reprinted, as evidenced by the use of two different imprints.


A cover from Henry's company. Henry's building was originally at 8 College Place, but in 1880 the buildings were re-numbered and his became number 24. The cover, being from 1880, shows a manuscript change in building number.


John F. Henry bought out A.L. Scoville & Company in 1873. He also became distributor for a number of other preparations. After July 1, 1883, he had a stamp prepared with his own picture and John F. Henry & Co. in a small ribbon toward the lower right. A copy can be seen on the cover of a booklet issued by the Manhattan Medicine Company.


After his partner, Henry Bowen, died, Henry deleted the "& Co". The item to the right is a specimen of the label after the deletion.


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