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James Murdock Junior

Murdock is well known for 2 specific Reasons. One is as a patent holder and the other is as a manufacturer. Murdock is believed to always have done business in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati is a true crossroads on the Ohio river bordering Covington, Kentucky. It is believed that James Murdock Junior took over the firm of Murdock and Spencer.

The Murdock patent is for a reversible check that is folded back onto itself. These checks are obvious because of two protruding rivets (on both front and reverse) next to the lower strap opening. In a reversible pair the bag check is always thicker than the duplicate (customer) check. The patent date is August 22nd, 1865.

Another nice characteristic of a Murdock check is the fancy hallmark sometimes found on the back of the duplicate checks. There are a couple of versions of this hallmark. The older of the two says, "Stamps and Burning Brands". This version clearly states an address of 139 West 5th Street. The later version is more ornate and lists more diversity in: Seal Presses, Stamp Cutting, Engraver, Die Sinker, etc.

From a collecting perspective a huge cache of 4 1/2 five gallon buckets of baggage checks was found in the 1970s. Almost all of these checks have the town of Montgomery somewhere on them. Many of these checks were made by Murdock. All of these checks date to 1895 or earlier. This may seem like a "flooding" of the market, however, this was/is a great opportunity to acquire different shapes, hallmarks, interline road names and destinations. Several Murdock examples follow.

3 Murdock "Montgomery" reversible
The front view of a duplicate pair and a single "duplicate" with different routing. The Sherman check is a great routing/dating puzzle.
The reverse view of the same checks as above. Note that the rivets protrude on both sides of reversible Chattanooga check.
3 Uncommon Murdock examples
The large Cincinnati Northern is unusual because of its size and the name is completely spelled out. This check was used by a trapper named C.Teel. Thrift is the mother of invention.  The Atchison check has some early routing. The NYP&O check is a Wilcox 1880 patent, made by Murdock. The patent is hard to see under the top slot.
The reverse view of the same checks as above. The Cincinnati Northern check has been marked by C. Teel. The Atchison check has the older hallmark. The NYP&O does not have "reverse" routing. The window cardstock "insert" would have been used for this purpose.

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