RS64c Charles Crittenton, 2c black, pink paper, original gum


On May 12, 1868, the U. S. Patent Office granted a patent to Dr. Sam­uel Pitcher of Barnstable, Massachusetts for a catharatic composed of senna, sodium bicarbonate, essence of wintergreen, taraxacum, sugar and water. In 1871, Charles H. Fletcher who had apprentice with Demas Barnes, bought the rights to the formula from Dr. Pitcher, and joined with Joseph B. Rose who had, in the same year, acquired the formula for centaur Liniment. The two, with financial backing of Demas Barnes, form­ed the firm of J. B. Rose and Company to market the two products. Centaur Liniment was advertised as having been “used by the Turks for Sabre wounds; by the Chinese for opium dizziness; and by the American’s for almost everything”. When Rose dropped out of the firm in 1877, the name of the company was changed to Centaur Company with Charles H, Fletcher as secretary. While Centaur Liniment was initially the principal prod­uct of The Centaur Company, Fletcher was more inte?ested in promoting Pitcher’s cathartic and he modified the formula by adding pumpkin, anise, wormseed, Rochelle salts, pepperment and alcohol, naming the concoction Castoria. To further protect his rights to Castoria, Fletcher trade­marked his facsimile signature and Castoria is still a well known home remedy today, sold the world over. (Holcombe, Henry w., weekly Philatelic Gossip, 34: 369, 375, June 27, 1942; 35: 490, 497, August 1, 1942; 62: 138-140, March 31, 1956)

Additional information

Catalog Number



VF, disturbed original gum





Number Issued

975,925 pink and watermarked papers


Die approved Sept. 26, 1876. First issued June, 1878. Last issued May 6, 1883.



Catalog Value


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