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“Here’s the Story, of a Man Named Brady…”

“Here’s the Story, of a Man Named Brady…”

“… who was busy with three boys of his own..”

No wait… sorry, different Brady. 😉

Mathew Brady was one of the most, if not THE most, prolific photographer of the Civil War. CDVs (Carte de Visites, an early form of photograph) from his studio are highly collectible, as he (and his employees) photographed many military subjects, as well as unusual subjects of the era such as circus freaks, native americans, etc. The CDVs appeal to military history collectors, Civil War re-enactors, collectors of Americana, etc.

For revenue stamp collectors, on the other hand, the interest is due primarily to the diminuitive script printed cancels he utilized, one worded “Brady”, and the other “Washington”. The “Brady” cancel is routinely $250-400 at retail, and the considerably more scarce “Washington” is $350-500. Here are examples of each from my collection:

I first became aware of these cancels years ago when I read through Bruce Baryla’s award-winning exhibit, The Civil War Sun Picture Tax. His page on Mathew Brady can be seen here:


I was enamored by the connection between the two cancels and set about trying to not only get examples of both cancels, but more difficultly on CDVs (which Bruce did not have in his exhibit) and hopefully at least one with a front mark like the one shown in his exhibit, with both “Brady” and “Washington” in the same fonts as the cancels, thus establishing the connection.

Easier said than done, however, as the vast majority of Brady CDVs found are either outside the 2-year period that CDVs were taxed (August 1, 1864 through July 31, 1866) and thus don’t have revenue stamps affixed, or are canceled with other types of cancels rather than the script cancels:

Along the way, I purchased the script “Washington” cancel shown above from Bruce’s exhibit when he broke down the exhibit and sold it in pieces on eBay back in 2013. I also found this unusual example, a double strike of the “Washington” cancel:

But still, I wasn’t able to obtain examples of “Brady” or “Washington” on CDVs… until a few weeks ago. I now have examples of both script cancels on Brady CDVs, and happily one of them has the front mark connecting the two:

Now the next question is given that Brady CDVs can also be found with front marks of “Brady” and “New York” in the same font as the script cancels, does that mean that lurking somewhere out there is a “New York” script cancel?… to my knowledge, none have been reported… yet. I need to do some more research to determine whether the Brady-New York front mark combination was used during the taxable period, or if it just came later.

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2 thoughts on ““Here’s the Story, of a Man Named Brady…”

  1. Hello!

    I am curious about these because I recently obtained one. I have a question about collecting them. Where do you house them? I am a fan of Leuchtturm (Lighthouse) albums. Where would I house them in my albums? With the back-of-book stuff, or in the regular issues?

    Thanks so much,


  2. Do you mean the stamps or the photos (CDVs)? If you mean the former and don’t have dedicated revenue album pages, stock books or Vario pages work well. For the CDVs, I use rigid toploaders for baseball cards, with a plastic sleeve over the CDV to protect it when removing from the toploader. Revenue stamps are most definitely back of book.

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