Frederick Brown Medicine Company

Frederick Brown began to manufacture proprietary medicines as early as the 1820's. His items included Essence of Jamaica Ginger for curing affections of the stomach and bowels, Cholera Mixture, Extract of Taraxacum Juice, Bitter Wine of Iron and Anti-Dyspeptic Powder. After 1862 the company used general issue stamps until several years after Brown died and was replaced by his son, Frederick Junior, in 1866. Private die stamps were then issued for this product from May, 1869 through February 21, 1883. 874,318 were printed on old paper, 1,793,460 on silk paper and 1,656,763 on pink and watermarked papers. The copy above is on silk paper.

The printing technique that makes these label-stamps look like they were printed in three dimensions is called anaglyptography, and was used in bills of exchange, banknotes and checks of the period to discourage counterfeiting.

The Boston Book reported a counterfeit of the Brown stamp and described it in detail. Here is a look at what may have been mistaken to be such.

The script letter "e" in "Fred" was indistinct in the die created for Brown, and at some point a re-engraved version was created to correct this . Oddly enough, it was not generally used, as it only occurs on silk paper.

A comparison of the "e's" in "Fred" between Die 1 at left and Die 2 at right.

After the end of the stamp tax Frederick Brown Jr. had a facsimile label prepared. This unusual item appears to be a trial proof of some sort without the central portrait. The borders of the design are like those of the facsimile rather than of the original design.

One of the two facsimile designs used by Brown. This is the second version, containing the wording, "Prepared by Frederick Brown Company successor to Frederick Brown devisee under the will of Frederick Brown, deceased."

A first issue revenue stamp with the Frederick Brown printed cancel.

A newspaper advertisement from 1883, surprisingly enough showing the Brown private die stamp without the corrected letter "e."