RO111a B. & H.D. Howard Telegraph Matches Revenue Stamp


The match company owned by Benoni and Henry D. Howard began operation around 1852. This stamp was counter fitted by Mr. Benoni. The following history is taken from the American Journal of Philately for Feb. 20, 1875 : “In 1865 Benoni Howard become proprietor of the immense establishment known as the New York Match Company in Forty second street. The business carried on here was something enormous. He bought of the Government no less than seven hundred thousand dollars worth of revenue stamps. The Government allowed him a certain percent­age on these drawbacks. A misunderstanding occurred here, the Govern­ment, according to hie figuring, not allowing him what the contract required. He felt that he was an injured man; he applied strong language to the Gov­ernment officials and was promptly snubbed. “The Government has cheated me, I’ll be even with them yet,” he said as he walked away. The enemy, however, was too strong for him. The Government watched him, and found that he did not buy as many stamps as he used, and they sud­denly made a descent upon him, shut up his factory, broke up bis business, and threw him upon the world a ruined man. Unstamped boxes of his matches bad been found in the market, and it was upon this fact that the action was taken. Nothing more serious was suspected until nearly a year later, when a fisherman in the East River found buried in the mud, and cov­ered with wax and verdiglis, a copper plate for printing revenue stamps and bearing the name of Benoni Howard. Howard made desperate efforts to get that plate from the unsuspecting fisherman, but the detectives were too quick for him, and outbid him for the fatal piece of copper bearing the name of the ruined match manufacturer. He was not the only man involved, however; there was another man who trembled when he learned that this plate was in the hands of the police. That man was the engraver who had made it. He did what other frightened men do with the strong instinct of self-preservation, he ignobly betrayed bis partner, made a clean breast of it, and hopelessly implicated Howard as a counterfeiter. He was tried, and the jury duly agreed. Hundreds were ready to come forward and testify to his good character, that of the engraver was questionable, and the evidence, though morally overwhelming, was not legally sufficient. Last summer a man from the states came to the town of New Liverpool in the province of Quebec. He was accompanied by his wife, as if his stay was to be permanent, and he engaged his services to a merchant at a salary of $1,500 a year. He was a man of forty-five, and had a crushed, too quiet air, and a close observer of human nature might have noticed the nervous, scared look in the face of the poor wife, and under his own forced calmness a dull terror, an unrest, the heart of a man, hunted down. His nights were troubled, for it was said by the neighbors that the unhappy wife would often awake from her dreams with screams and tears. It was her woman’s prophetic fears only too soon to be realized; it was her husband, Benoni Howard􀇩 the counterfeiter, who was oSaturday sentenceded to five years’ hard labor in the Penitentiary.”

Additional information

Catalog Number



Used, stains, pinhole




Old Paper

Number Issued



October 1864 through November 1864



Catalog Value


SKU: RO111a-1 Categories: , Tag: