Warning - you are entering Tag Town
An interesting aspect of Railroadiana collecting
Special of the Month - Emigrant tags!
Detailed Maker information
Detailed "type" information
This site  is brought to you by Scott Czaja with help from many collectors.  Corrections/additions can be suggested here:
Civil War diggers and Introduction
Fantasy, Myth & Fakes
email me here
Dating Techniques
Steamboat examples
Non-transportation (related) style checks
Trade page
Frequently asked questions
*What's New*
An enlarged Sandy River and Maine Central interline check. An odd John Robbins shape.It doesn't get any better than this!
An early Santa Fe Route passenger receipt by Hanson
In the early days of railroading there was a need to uniquely identify one passenger's baggage from anther passenger's baggage. The current problem faced by airlines is not that far from the same problem that existed 150 years ago for the railroads. Today at an airline counter (if you dare) you check your bag and receive a piece of paper "a duplicate". This duplicate has a unique identification number that will match the number on the piece of paper that is attached to your bag. When you get to your destination your baggage check will match the one on your bag. If airline or security personnel questioned you (fat chance), you would be able to prove that your bag is yours by using your duplicate "check". The checks on these pages were originally attached to baggage using a leather strap.

This system is not a new concept. Your baggage may be routed through multiple carriers, and magically it gets to your destination  (
that's the theory).
Concord Manchester & Lawrence RR
very early thick
lead example
B&M Package Room
nickel plated brass
NYLE&W / C&NW Ry. Emigrant tag
used "
one way"
made of copper
very scarce
Fort Wayne, Terre Haute & Southwestern RR
made by J.M.W. Jones of Chicago
Maine 2 foot narrow guage
made by Rand Avery Supply Co
Dating Techniques
I once thought that dating Checks was a simple mathmatical calculation. The more you know, the more you don't know!

Perhaps the easiest way to date a Check is to be able to identify either the age of the manufacturer or the age of the road(s). This can be confusing, however, with decent reference material and a little patience this becomes easy with time
Boston, Lowell & Nashua - Concord - Boston, Concord & Montreal
Note that the "X" refers to eXtra baggage, probably used by a summer resident on Lake Winnepesaukee in New Hampshire.
Fitchburg - Boston Hoosac Tunnel & Western - New York West Shore & Buffalo - Grand Trunk (Great Western Division)
Another fine 19th century Robbins example
[References & Glossary]