Letters from P.E.I. - Arthur Bartlett, Charlottetown Stamp Dealer

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Submitted by Dennis Taylor, [email protected]

Dennis writes: "Attached is a scan of the letterhead of Charlottetown stamp dealer Arthur A Bartlett. I thought it would be of interest to those who access your "Useful Postal Related Information:" pages. I don't know when Mr. Bartlett operated his business. I only remember receiving a blank copy of the letterhead with its very fine colour stamp copies across the top when I was a young fellow in Charlottetown. My father took me (45+/- yrs ago) to visit a lady who lived at the west end of Grafton Street, (may have been on the SE corner of West and Grafton Sts.) and she was somehow related to Mr. Bartlett [Probably daughter Mary Florence (Bartlett) Cosh who lived at 12 West St.]. She was kind enough to give a young stamp collector one of the blank letterheads in her possession."

A. A. Bartlett - Stamps!

Mike Salmon gives us a bit of history about Mr. Bartlett and these letterheads. "Arthur Bartlett was a member of the consortium who bought up the remaindered PEI stamps in 1873. He was taken to court as this letter head was thought to be too good and items cut from it might be used to defraud collectors. In the end he was allowed to keep all he had printed but not allowed to print any more. His wife and daughters continued to use them after his death. Good clean unfolded full sheets can today sell for about $100."

In looking for personal information on Mr. Bartlett, we come up a little short:

1901 Census:

Lot Surname Given Name Age Religion Occupation
Arthur A.
Agent (General)

I do not have the full census entry for Mr. Bartlett. Does anyone have it so we can post it here - this is from the census index only.

Arthur Bartlett was dead by the time of the 1922 Phone Directory, "Bartlett, Mrs. A. A. - r 175 Fitzroy - 261-J" and McAlpine's 1924/25 Directory - "Bartlett, Arthur A. Mrs. (wid) h 175 Fitzroy."

Recent information sent by Gary Carroll shows Arthur Allison Bartlett - 5 Nov., 1852 - 14 Dec., 1920. He had a daughter, Mary Florence (Bartlett) Cosh - 16 May, 1885 - 19 Sep., 1971. Mary lived at 12 West St.

The Globe and Mail in 1971 printed an interview with Mary about her father, which I will reproduce for you. Thanks to Daphne Schober for sending a scan of that article. Mary was her Godmother:- Source: Globe and Mail, April 17, 1971, article by Douglas Patrick:

The great purchase of pre-Confederation Maritime remainders

"During an interview in Charlottetown, Mary F. Cosh talked about her father, who headed the syndicate in the purchase of the Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island postage stamps issued before Confederation in Canada. These stamps are called remainders in the plural because so many thousands of stamps in each value were left. Each was a remainder of one denomination.

Mrs. Cosh said, "My father, Arthur A. Bartlett, was born a great many years ago in Saint John. He became a commercial traveller in drygoods and draperies with two firms in New Glasgow. He went over every year, and sometimes he would take a trip down to Italy or some place. He was always keen on stamps. It was very reasonable travelling in those days. His people were United Empire Loyalists who came from the United States to live in New Brunswick.

A postmaster named Donald King in Halifax was a great friend of my father's. He went up to Ottawa before the old Parliament Buildings were burned down. In the attic he found this enormous collection of Nova Scotia remainder stamps in boxes, hundreds and thousands of stamps. He spoke to my father about it, and they determined they would go to see Mr. Fielding, who was the Premier of Nova Scotia at the time, and tell him that they had something that belonged to the Province of Nova Scotia and they would like to buy it.

He said, "Gentlemen, I can't do business like that. You lay your cards on the table and I promise I will protect you." So, they told him what Mr. King had found and they finally agreed to buy the stamps after some bickering. I think the price was around $18,000, but I am not quite sure about that.Then they decided they would form a syndicate consisting of Donald King; my father as secretary; Mr. Chase, a big apple grower in the valley of Nova Scotia; Sir Lois Davies, who was on the Supreme Court of Canada at the time, was an islander. The others were Parker Carvell, also an islander, and my uncle, Tom Rankin, who was very interested in it.

They put up the $18,000 and my father went over when the deal was consumnated and everything was signed. I remember this as quite a little girl, and its strange he sent this telegram to my mother; never thought of telephoning in those days; in fact I don't even know if we had a telephone. But at any rate, he sent this telegram: "Everything is lovely and the goose hangs high".That meant he got the stamps for less; I think they were willing to pay about $20,000 or something. I am not quite sure about that. But there are certain things I am sure of, and they did get them.Well then the syndicate was formed and father, after he retired from travelling, went into the insurance business, then after that, when he retired from everything, he kept an office downtown and had his stamps there.

He went quite largely into the sale of stamps. He had correspondence from all over the world.I remember one man's letter in particular. When he came to the foot of the page instead of saying Please turn over, PTO, or anything like that, it was Twirl the page, please. This came from some part of Europe. My faher had a great many Australian stamps and many good ones, too. Finally he went over to England. It must have been about1910 or 12, perhaps a little earlier, and he sold his collection to Stanley Gibbons for $20,000. Not the remainders, but some remainders were in it of course, as part of the collection.

Mrs. Cosh continues her story about her father and purchases next week." [Alas, we do not have part II of this article. Could anyone pass it along to us?]

If anyone has more information on him, we would love to hear from you!

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Last Updated: 12/19/2003 8:25:46 PM
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