WEISS, PHILIP MICHAEL

Copyright 2011-217 John N. Lupia, III
Fig. 1. Photograph of Philip M. Weiss, Secretary and Treasurer of Military Club of Cincinnati, published in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Sunday, August 11, 1929, page 93. 

Philip M. Weiss (1875-1948), was born on August 29, 1875, son of George Adam Weiss and Margaret Leick Weiss, both Prussian-German immigrants, at Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio. 
            
            Philip Weiss is a numismatic dealer trading in stamps and coins beginning in 1895. Like his contemporary Thomas Lindsay Elder we shall find Weiss with a similar character, i.e., brought up poor from the wrong side of the tracks yet both of them rise to fame and fortune as noted dealers in their day.

            Weiss claims that in October 1889, at fourteen years-old  he was the founder and president of Queen City Stamp Company. However, another dealer using that name was in Hastings, Nebraska, who ran ads in Philatelic West. (see Fig. below)

            It was reported in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Sunday, January 3, 1892, page 16,  Philip Weiss was involved in an altercation stabbing Frank Wagner [Kappner] on Race and Findlay Streets and was arrested for cutting him. He was released on bail at $1,000. His case came up at Police Court, January 9, 1892. He was acquitted of the charges of stabbing on June 8, 1892, reported in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Wednesday, June 8, 1892, page 12.
 
Fig. 2. Earliest known advertisement of Queen City Stamp Company in Philatelic Journal of America, January, 1895. The magazine was published by Everett M. Hackett, 116-118 Chestnut Street, St. Louis, Missouri since March 1885. Charles Haviland MeKeel was the editor and small advertisements like that of Weiss were easily and inexpensively published. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

            On February 5, 1896, he married his first known wife named Josephine Sommerholder. He opened a cigar store in Cincinnati using $1,000 his wife Josephine received as an inheritance. 

Fig. 3. Another dealer using the name Queen City Stamp Company was established in Hastings, Nebraska and did business in 1898. This advertisement was published in Philatelic West, Vol. 6, No. 2, May (1898) : 12. Apparently, Weiss learned about this company and when they no longer did business he claimed to be the original dealer established in 1889.
            Since 1895, Weiss was certainly in business as a stamp dealer. No earlier record of him as a stamp dealer prior to 1895 has been discovered so far. So it seems most probable that Weiss around the age of nineteen rather than fourteen first established himself as a stamp dealer.  
            In 1898, he filed a complaint with the Post Office against Gustavus Kohn who gave bogus references and solicited stamps for which he never paid. This led to an investigation and arrest when it was discovered Kohn had been doing the same to a number of different dealers. The story ran in the Detroit Free Press, Tuesday, October 11, 1898, page 10.


            He was a member of the APS Life Member No. 110.
            In 1900 he lived at 1344 Vine Street, Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Fig. 4. Divorce filed against Philip Weiss by abused and battered wife Josephine Sommerholder Weiss, reported in Cincinnati Enquirer, Saturday, November 3, 1900, page 16.

            On May 31, 1904 Queen City Stamp Company was robbed of a stamp album with stamps valued at $25. Later the amount was increased to $200 when further search through the office revealed more stamps were missing. On July 14, 1904, Allen Forsythe of Newport was arrested for stealing from Post Office Boxes. When Weiss heard of the arrest he told the Post Office investigators he knew Forsythe and wanted to examine the stamps he had in his possession. He discovered the stamps stolen from him late May. Philip M. Weiss' wife, Josephine Sommerholder Weiss was in charge of the office that day when the robbery had occurred. Apparently she left the transom open that allowed Forsythe to break in.  Forsythe later confessed to the crime.

            Sometime around 1905 or 1906 he added coins to his stock changing the name to Queen City Stamp & Coin Company.

Fig. 5. Advertisement as Queen City Stamp & Coin Company in the Cincinnati Post, Wednesday, September 26, 1906.

            In the March 1908 issue of St. Nicholas, Volume 35, his advertisement shows the location at 7 Stinton Building.

Fig. 6. Divorce filed against Philip Weiss by abused and battered wife Josephine Sommerholder Weiss, reported in Cincinnati Enquirer, Wednesday, October 7, 1908, page 9.

            He was Regimental Sergeant Major of the First Regiment, O. N. G.
            In 1910, Queen City Stamp & Coin Company, was located at 5th and Vine, Room 3,  and he lived at 1613 Plum Street, Cincinnati, Ohio.
            He was a member of the Cincinnati Philatelic Association, Branch 46 APS, and served as a trustee.
            On August 20, 1911, he married Lillian May Sucher, a notorious woman who sued a wealthy Cincinnati businessman for breach of promise and won $8,000.  Weiss deserted her on September 27, 1912. They were divorced. 
Fig. 7. Advertisement in Cincinnati Enquirer, Sunday, February 4, 1912, page 27.

            In 1917, Queen City Stamp & Coin Company, was located at 604 Race Street, and he lived at 23 East Daniels Street, Cincinnati, Ohio.
            His 1918 Draft Card describes him as having light blue eyes and brown hair, medium height & build.
            On December 31, 1923, he then married divorcee Goldie Dunn Washburn (1879-), a native of Indiana.

Figs. 8 & 9. Weiss correspondence with Joseph K. Coblentz, Springfield, Ohio. Rebate coupon enclosure for 31 cents dated February 13, 1919. 
Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

Fig. 10. Weiss correspondence with Jeanette Smith, Newark, New York, postmarked Cincinnati, May 22, 1922. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

He was a member of the American Stamp Dealers Association.

Fig. 11. Advertisement in American Philatelist, Vol. 36, October, 1922. 
Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

            In December 1924, Weiss sued British stamp dealer H. Roberts, 17 A Kings Road, London, England, for slander demanding $5,000 in damages. Weiss claims the 50,000 postage stamps he ordered were unsatisfactory. And privately complained in a sealed letter to Roberts requesting a refund. Roberts mailed scurrilous accusations against Weiss on postal cards  making the case public since anyone in the Post Offices can read the message of a postal card. Weiss wond the suit and was awarded $2,777 besides the $260.13 valued for the 50,000 stamps.

            In 1930, Queen City Stamp & Coin Company, removed to 34 Cambridge Building 6th and Race Street, Cincinnati, Ohio. 
            In October 1930, on the 40th anniversary of his business he exhibited the unique 1856 Magenta 1 Cent British Guiana postage stamp owned by Mr. Arthur Hind of Utica, New York, who purchased it for $32,500. He also exhibited the 1928 inverted Jenny owned by Mr. Stein, who paid $900 for it.

Fig. 12. 
Weiss published an annual Fixed Price List. Above is the 1931 80-page illustrated Fixed Price List for stamps and albums and other supplies for collecting, examining, and storing them. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

            In 1933, he was nominated by the Wet Party of the Repeal Council to be a Repeal Delegate in the political fight to repeal prohibition. However there seems to have been intern battling between the Cincinnati group and that of Cleveland that wanted Lockwood Thompson.
            On March 10, 1934, he was arrested for intoxication and fined $15 and costs.

            In 1935, Queen City Stamp & Coin Company, removed to 604 Race Street, Room 34, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Fig. 13. Advertisement published in H. L. Lindquist's, Blue Book of Philately (1935) : 391. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.

            He was a member of the Eastern Hills Stamp Club.

            In 1940, he published a pamphlet, "50 Years Dealing In Stamps", containing a brief history of his company, which he gave free to all who attended his fiftieth anniversary celebration on October 26, 1940 at the Alms Hotel, Cincinnati, Ohio.

            He lived at 501 Purcell Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Fig. 14. Queen City Stamp & Coin Company served as a jobber for Wayte Raymond, Inc. Advertisement published in The Numismatist, July 1943, page 569. Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library.


            He died of a coronary sclerosis with myocardial fibrosis at the General Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio, on February 12, 1948. He is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery and Mausoleum, Indianapolis, Marion County, Indiana.

Bibliography :

Philatelic Journal of America, January, 1895.
Detroit Free Press, Tuesday, October 11, 1898, page 10.
1900 Williams Cincinnati Business Directory
Cincinnati Enquirer, Friday, October 18, 1912, page 7 - filed for divorce
American Philatelist, Vol. 36, October, 1922.
"Philatelists in Court Fight," Cincinnati Enquirer, Tuesday, December 20, 1924, page 6 
"Collector Awarded Damages," Cincinnati Enquirer, Wednesday, December 31, 1924, page 20 
Cincinnati Enquirer, Sunday, August 11, 1929, page 93. 
"Repeal Delegate's Death Endangers Wet Cause; New Petition is Needed," Sandusky RegisterSunday, October 1, 1933, page 1
The Evening Independent, Saturday, March 10, 1934, page 2
H. L. Lindquist's, Blue Book of Philately (1935) : 391
"Golden Jubilee," Cincinnati Enquirer, Sunday, October 20, 1940, page 58
The Numismatist, July 1943, page 569.


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