J. Elwood Lee

The J. Elwood Lee Company was a relatively small outfit based in Conshocken, Pennsylvania. One of its traveling representatives was Lewis Robie, who was a collector and dealer specializing in private die proprietary stamps. He recognized the opportunity to sell those of L. Elwood Lee at a profit, and late in 1900 the company ordered five different denominations of stamps, probably only needing one. Since the tax was removed as of July 1, 1901, there would have been little chance to use them in any event.

10,000 of the one-eight cent blue stamps were printed.

The five-eights cent stamp may actually have been used. 270,000 of these were printed, far more than any of the other denominations. 15,000 were printed of the one-and-one-fourth cent stamp.

Only 6,000 each were printed of the two-and-one-half cent orange and the five cent chocolate stamps.

A number of different J. Elwood Lee cancellations were used on general issue stamps. There is a suggestion that there is no way they would have needed to use all the different denominations of these as well.

The most striking Lee cancel is this monogram variety. It can be found, unused, on most denominations of the "battleship" proprietary stamps.

Inverted cancels are known as well.

At least the "wheel of legs" logo was used by J. Elwood Lee well before the private die stamps were printed, and was not designed for that purpose. Here it is on an 1894 cover.

A Lee invoice from 1904, showing the "wheel of legs" logo.