As referenced in past columns describing the Dr. Herbert A. Trenchard donation, the vast majority of the received material and the initial benefit to the holdings of the APRL is Dr. Trenchard’s vast collection of domestic and international auction catalogs. The auction catalogs range from some of the best known firms of the past and present as well as many of the least known companies that were either briefly in existence or those for whom their catalogs are extremely rare.
Recently when processing the auction catalogs of the J.M. Bartels Company from the donation, we discovered some very interesting notations. J.M. (Julius Murray) Bartels was a New York City-based dealer and auctioneer of rare postage stamps, mostly U.S. As one of the firms based on the legendary Nassau Street, his dealership and auction house ran from the early 1900s to the mid-1940s. In the course of time, Bartels conducted 337 philatelic auctions and among his most important sales were portions of the Clarence Eagle and Arthur Hind collections.
During these auctions, Bartels often employed a number of “contracted” auctioneers, some of whom are lesser known, others that carried with them names of notoriety in the industry and the hobby. One of these more famous auctioneers employed by Bartels at the time was Walter Stone Scott, son of John Walter Scott. Professionally trained as an engineer, Walter entered the stamp business in the 1890s and soon had his own firm holding a series of twelve auctions under his name from 1896 to 1898.
However the venture was short-lived and after 1900 Walter established himself as a highly-regarded free-lance auctioneer eventually pursuing a long career conducting sales for nearly every auction house in New York City, including Bartels. In his lifetime, Walter is believed to have sold more lots of stamps than any other auctioneer. Walter was an expert on rare stamps and was often asked to evaluate rare stamps or appraise collections before sale. Such was the case when he was commissioned to evaluate and appraise the massive collection of the deceased philatelist, E. H. R. Green. Following his death in 1948, Walter Stone Scott was named to the American Philatelic Society Hall of Fame in 1950.
In processing the Bartels auction catalogs found in the Trenchard donation, we came across a number of catalogs with some interesting notations. In the top right corner of the cover page was found the handwritten inscription “W S Scott.” Seeing that Walter Stone Scott was the auctioneer of these particular Bartels sales, it is believed that these auction catalogs may have been the catalogs actually used by Walter Stone Scott as he auctioned the items in each of these sales.
Further to this, we have found notations inside each of these same catalogs with handwritten prices realized beside each of the lots for sale. These too appear to be written in the same handwriting and pencil as the naming on the front cover. If so, these Bartels catalogs represent an incredible piece of philatelic auction history by potentially being the very auction catalogs that the noted auctioneer Walter Stone Scott used when describing and closing each of the lot sales for these auctions.
Finally, one of the auction catalogs, the 177th sale of Friday May 22, 1931, contains a sheet of paper which lists various tabulations of lots, sold and unsold, again appearing to be written in the same hand and pencil as the cover naming and lot realizations. If these are in the hand of Walter Stone Scott as believed, it is again a very unique piece of philatelic history amassed by Dr. Trenchard and very much in keeping with Dr. Trenchard's place as a true historian and collector of the history of philately in America.
As we continue to process the Trenchard donation we will update those interested on the discoveries that we find as well as the progress we are making with the material. For any comments or questions, feel free to contact the library at email@example.com.