Things on Checks

by Hermann Ivester

Having been duly inspired and shamed by Bob Hohertz’s article on dogs on checks and his plea for articles in the last issue of TCC, I offer the following topical items.

More Dogs on Checks

Figure 1 presents a striking vignette of an alerted dog guarding the safe. And a good thing he was on the job too, for his owner had carelessly left the safe open and bags of money lying around. This is a good advertisement for the dog, but one might wonder about banker Charles Hammond of Tipton, Iowa.

Figure 2 shows another striking vignette of a pioneer family complete with barking dog springing to arms, apparently to repulse a threat from Indians. The imprinted stamp is RN-C11.

Figure 3 shows a whimsical scene of a boy with a dog, watering his horse on a lazy summer day. It bears an RN-G1 imprinted revenue stamp.

Mules on Checks

These are much scarcer than dogs on checks. Figure 4 shows a profile of three prize mules of the Galbreaith Horse and Mule Company of Bentonville, Arkansas. The design is in black on pink paper. An earlier version of the Knott-Galbreaith Horse and Mule Company on blue paper shows the same vignette.

Figure 5 is an American Bank Note Company proof of a vignette of a team of six mules pulling a load of cotton bales. Not exactly a check or draft, but I have an 1871 draft of the DeSoto Bank of Memphis, Tennessee bearing this vignette, along with RN-C1. I would have shown it, but it is in such poor condition I wouldn’t want anyone to think I would collect such an item.

Figure 6 shows a team of two mules in the background of a riverport scene on an 1872 Nicholasville, Kentucky check. The revenue stamp is an RN-C2.

Guano on Checks

Guano on checks is even scarcer than mules on checks. I know of only one, and it is shown in Figure 7 on an 1867 Augusta, Georgia check of J.O. Matheson & Co., Commission Merchants. The revenue stamp is RN-B1.

Impossible Animals on Checks

Apparently the artists who created vignettes were not required to have actually seen the animals they depicted. How else can we understand the rectangular cow of Figure 8 above, or the would-be buffalo of Figure 9 below?

2007 Postscript

Above is a double-header from the Ivester collection – its vignettes include both mules and a dog! This beautiful draft from Louisville, Kentucky bears an RN-C11 imprint.

This article appeared in the July – September 1997 issue of The Check Collector.