The Tatham Stamp and Coin Company and Dr. Halls TB/Christmas Seals


A 2-sided sheet containing Dr. Sherwood Hall’s Korean Tuberculosis/Christmas and New Seals from 1932-1940 caught my eye on eBay recently; it was offered by a dealer in the UK. It was produced by the Tatham Stamp and Coin Company of Springfield, Massachusetts in the USA and it is a set of seals “on approval”. When stamp collecting was very popular from the early 1900’s through the 1960’s it was common, especially by children, to receive stamps “on approval”. The collector would examine and select which items that were wanted, and return payment for those that were kept, and also return the unwanted stamps with the payment to the dealer. For this case of this sheet of seals, the entire set of stamps had to be purchased or returned to the dealer.

I personally had never heard of the Tatham Stamp and Coin Company, but in doing research, I found it was one of the best-known and one of the larger mail-house in the USA from the 1930’s until the mid-1960 when it closed. I found that this company produced many informational pamphlets under the “TASCO” heading from the 1930’s-1950’s promoting stamps and seals to collectors, and they can still be found today for sale through philatelic outlets, including these items being listed on web-based stamp sites. There are a few collectors who eagerly seek those items produced by the Tatham Stamp and Coin Company and are considered “collectables”.

Front of approval sheet for the Korea 1932-40 TB/Christmas seals. Note that this sheet is in a standardized format, where the item number, the price and the country and description of the seals were typed onto the sheet.

I also found that besides promoting and selling stamps, the company produced many various philatelic items for sale, such as facsimiles of stamps, and even created their own cinderella labels. They also produced philately related materials like puzzles of images of stamps. The company promoted and sold charity seals from around the world.

This set was promoted as a “complete” set from 1932 – 1940, but actually the first seal shown is the reprint from 1936, not the original 1932 seal. How to determine the difference between the original seal and the 1936 reprint is explained in the Korea Stamps Society’s article of August 20, 2018.

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