D.S. Barnes
Demas Barnes
Demas Barnes & Company

Demas Barnes was a man of many talents. He served as a Congressman, trustee of the Brooklyn Bridge, director of the Long Island Railroad, and owner of proprietary medicine patents bought from various developers. The first private die stamps used by Barnes featured a facsimile of his signature at the bottom, with both his initials. They were issued in three denominations, all of which were issued in black from March of 1863 until early February, 1865. 723,184 of the one-cent, 202,650 of the two-cent and 1,619,483 of the four-cent stamps were issued on old paper.

In 1863 Barnes got the idea of having his stamps printed in carmine, but was persuaded to use vermilion as a matter of cost. There apparently was a problem with the vermilion color running, so after the supply was used printing in black was resumed. 88,704 of the vermilion one-cent stamps were issued between September 5, 1863 and October 10 of that year. 78,652 two-cent stamps were issued between November, 1863 and April, 1864, and 118,365 of the four-cent ones were issued between May 9 and June 10, 1863. All were printed on old paper.

In 1864 Barnes instructed Butler & Carpenter to change the signature on the stamps to a printed name, dropping his middle initial. 506,378 of the one-cent revised version were issued from May, 1865 through July 25, 1866, 420,499 of the two-cent ones, from February 6, 1865 through August 25, 1866 and 970,000 of the four-cent ones from March 11, 1865 through August 25, 1866. All were printed on old paper.

Barnes chose to use Demas Barnes & Company on his stamps when they were re-designed in 1866. The one-cent horizontal stamps were first issued in September, 1866 and last issued in April, 1872. 1,723,152 were printed on old paper and 154, 948 on silk paper. The one pictured here is on old paper.

Two-cent stamps were issued from August, 1866 through February 1872. 1,732,744 were printed on old paper and 125,815 on silk paper. The one above is on experimental silk paper, which is a type of old paper.

Four-cent stamps were only printed on old paper. 1,109,800 were issued from September, 1866 through June, 1869.

Barnes went so far as to have a die prepared circa 1867-68 for a six-cent stamp to use on large bottles, but it was never issued. Plate proofs exist.

In 1867 the sale of Drake's Plantation Bitters was transferred to P.H. Drake & Company. The die was altered to show the new firm. Also, in 1871 the Lyon Manufacturing Company took over marketing of various products.

Barnes used advertising of various sorts. The most spectacular was use of a facsimile of a bank note. This one probably dates from 1854.

Another Barnes "banknote." This one was issued around 1863.