Notes from the Past

Nicholas F. Seebeck - Part I

Though Nicholas Frederick Seebeck the man seems to be something of a mystery -- being variously described in philatelic literature as "a New York stationer associated with the Hamilton Bank Note Engraving and Printing Company of New York," its "general manager," an "agent" of the company, its "president," and a "stamp dealer' -- there is a lesser degree of mystery about what he did.

His actions during the last decade of the 19th century live on, and even today the label "Seebeck" is still applied to something undesirable in terms of stamp issuing, especially in Latin America.

Even countries in that area that had nothing to do with Seebeck have suffered by mere proximity to the four countries that were for a short time associated with him.

Despite the lack of agreement as to his relationship with the Hamilton Bank Note Co., it seems certain that he acted on its behalf when, in early 1889, he offered to supply El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua with stamps and postal stationery at not cost to them, in return for certain privileges.

To the far-from-prosperous governments, it seemed like a very good deal indeed.

To be Continued

- Kenneth A. Wood
This is Philately - Volume Three Q-Z
Van Dahl Publications 1982
Posted October 17, 2000

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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