J.B. Rose & Company
The Centaur Company
The J.B. Rose Company was another offshoot of the Demas Barnes drug empire. It was set up in 1872, with Charles H. Fletcher as a principal. The major products were Centaur Liniment and Castoria. Private die stamps were issued in two denominations, all of which were issued in black from November of 1872 until November of 1877 in the case of the two-cent and April of 1873 for the four-cent. 1,032,500 of the one-cent denomination were issued on silk paper, and 211,330 on pink and watermarked papers. This one is on silk paper.
11,250 of the four-cent stamps were printed, all on silk paper.
Around 1877 Rose left, and the firm was reorganized as The Centaur Company. The private die stamps were revised accordingly, and a one-cent denomination was printed as well, in vermilion. 416,750 of the one-cent stamps were issued from January, 1878 through March 13, 1883 on pink and watermarked papers. The one above is on watermarked paper.
1,926,150 of the two-cent stamps were issued, from January, 1878 through March 1, 1883, also on pink and watermarked papers. The one above is on pink paper.
80,050 of the four-cent ones were issued, from January, 1878 through January 5, 1881. All were printed on watermarked paper.
Charles Fletcher became head of the company in 1888. At some point a facsimile private die stamp was developed for Castoria.
When patent medicines were taxed again under the 1898 Law the Centaur Company overprinted general issue stamps for its use. It used several denominations other than the ones shown, as well.
During the Spanish American War Tax period Fletcher decided to adapt the Castoria facsimile for use as an actual private die stamp. The design is similar, but a denomination and the words "U.S. Internal Revenue" were added.
Castoria used a celebrity endorsement to go with an attractive trade card.
A cover of the Centaur Company from 1933.