R.V. Pierce
World's Dispensary Medical Association

Ray Vaughn Pierce could trace his ancestry to one Abraham Pierce who came to the Colonies in 1623. R.V. received medical training and not only set up practice but also developed a stable of proprietary medicines, including Dr. Pierce's Golden Medical Discovery for cure of bronchitis and consumption, Dr. Pierce's Commpound Extract of Smart-Weed or Water Pepper for the bowels, compounded of several herbs and the Best French Brandy, and Dr. Pierce's Pleasant Purgative Pellets, the use of which is obvious.

Dr. Pierce's first private die stamp was the two-cent black, issued from April of 1870 until February of 1879. 699,624 were printed on old paper, 3,868,624 on silk paper and 2,061,192 on pink and watermarked papers. This one is on watermarked paper.

The one-cent green was issued from March of 1872 until February of 1879. 1,009,845 of these were printed on silk paper and 642,905 on pink and watermarked papers. The one above is on silk paper.

In 1873 Dr. Pierce organized a group of "medical gentelmen," as Holcombe delicately puts it, as the World's Dispensary. In 1878 he opened a hotel in Buffalo for treatment of chronic diseases, The Invalids' and Tourists' Hotel. In 1879 he merged the Consulting Department of the World's Dispensary with the hotel, and the World's Dispensary Medical Association was born.

The label at the bottom of the private die stamps was altered to reflect this new association as of 1879. The new versions of the stamps were issued until June 5, 1883.

1,506,624 of the one-cent and 3,121,970 of the two-cent stamps were printed, all on watermarked paper.

An advertisement from the Adrian, Michigan Times of December 21, 1872. The medicines were still being manufactured and sold by the R.V. Pierce organization.

After the end of the proprietary medicine tax on June 30, 1883 Pierce used facsimile stamps on the products. These are known with perforations and rouletting.

A Pierce cover from the early 1890's.

The World's Dispensary Medical Association used general issue proprietary stamps to pay the Spanish American War revenue tax. Several types of printed cancels are known, as well as handstamps.

Pierce's remedies, undoubtedly undergoing many changes, survived well into the Twentieth Century under the banner of the World's Dispensary Medical Organization. This almanac is from 1929.

The back of the 1929 almanac shows that Pierce's Pleasant Purgative Pellets were still - er - going strong.