Copyright 2011-2018 John N. Lupia, III

Fig. 1. Photograph of F. M. Trifet circa 1890 published in Charles MeKeel's "Pioneer Stamp Dealers" as figure No. 12, in Philatelic Journal of America (1905)

Ferdinand Marie Trifet (1848-1899), was born in Paris, France, September 10, 1848, son of Alexander H. Trifet, a native of Belgium, and Ernestine de Villiers Trifet, a native of Guadalupe, West Indies.

He married on March 12, 1873, Ella F. Sias (1855-), of Ossipee, New Hampshire. They had two children : Grace A. Trifet (1876-), and Louis B. Trifet (1878-).

He came to the United States in 1851 and settled in Brooklyn, New York. In 1856 he went to South America and the West Indies, residing in Havana until 1859, when he returned to the United States. He lived in Washington. Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York, but came to Boston in 1865, where he has since resided. He attended school in Havana and Washington, but most of his education was under a private tutor.

In 1866, at the age of eighteen, he began his business career as importer and dealer in foreign stamps and coins for collectors, now being the longest-established house in that line in America. As a stamp dealer he published The American Stamp Mercury since October -December 1867. The magazine changed its name to The American Stamp Mercury and Numismatist but went defunct in 1871. Tiffany No. 11.

Courtesy Lupia Numismatic Library. Three copies in stock for sale. write

He was a member of the so-called "Boston Gang" of stamp forgers creating fantasy stamps selling bogus as genuine. When Ebenezer Locke Mason, Jr., detected his forgeries and published warnings to collectors in Mason's Coin and Stamp Collector's Magazine, Trifet retaliated in Trifet’s American Stamp Mercury and Numismatist, rudely describing Mason as “amusingly stupid,” and regrettably “one of the high-pressure kind of human gas bags.” This last remark is regrettable and most unfortunate insofar as a few uniformed American numismatists not knowing American philatelic history took Trifet's remarks as though they were worthy of merit and besmirched the name and dignity of Mason as a numismatist and philatelist.

He had a coin auction sale, Catalogue of a collection of American and foreign coins and medals... [Auction sale, Nov. 17, 1869].

He published A descriptive catalogue of all American and foreign postage stamps, ever issued, being from 1840 to date; : also giving the prices, both used and unused, by the piece or dozen, at which they can be purchased of F. Trifet & Co. 20 State Street, Boston, Mass.: Price, post free, 25 cents. ([Boston] : F. Trifet & Co., Boston, Mass. Office of the American Stamp Mercury and Numismatist, 20 State Street, Room 12., [1868]).

Descriptive price catalogue of the postage stamps of all nations, to which is appended a complete list of the Russian rural-posts stamps. (1875).

Descriptive price catalogue of the postage stamps of all nations : giving the date of issue, value, shape, color and general description of every postage stamp, stamped envelope and postal card issued. (Boston, 1879).

In January 1874, at Boston he published Trifet’s Monthly Stamp Circular,7 vols. 81 nos., Jan. 1874 to May 1879. Tiffany No. 45.

He published, The Stamp Collector's Friend. : An illustrated catalogue of philatelic publications(Boston, Mass.,1874).

He continued publishing on stamps with his Monthly Stamp Circularfrom the 1875-1877.

Illustrated supplement to the Descriptive price catalogue of the postage stamps of all nations. by F Trifet(1877);

Postage stamp album for young collectors. (1880);

In 1880 He lived in Malden, Massachusetts. In the Directory of the City of Malden, 1882, page 131 he is listed as living at 13 Seaview Avenue, Malden, Massachusetts. In 1879 publishing music was added to the stamp business, with the object of furnishing music to the masses of the people in large quantities at small profits. That success attended this undertaking is shown by the fact that Trifet Editions of music and music books were not figured by hundreds or thousands, but by hundreds of thousands and millions; one book alone, Harmonized Melodies, had, in 1899, consumed two hundred and seventy-five tons of paper.

“Blooming Rose Polka,” by Wm T Keefer (1879) Trifet's Monthly Galaxy of Music (1887); in 1892 he published an extensive series of sheet music, Trifet's Monthly Budget of Music. (1892) ; The words and music of six hundred English, Irish, Scotch, and American songs, including sentimental, comic, operatic and Ethiopian. (1892) ; “The Bells of Corneville : Potpourri : introducing the original music as played by the English opera companies by Robert Planquette” (Louis Charles Elson; F. Trifet & Co., 1896); Dewey's Grand Triumphal March (1898); “American Liberty March” (1898) .

One publication deserves notice here, The Ancients Abroad March,by S. G. Cook, was published by Lieut. Trifet in 1897, to commemorate the Company's visit to London in 1896, and has become wonderfully popular, over twenty-five thousand copies for piano, two thousand for band, and fifteen hundred for orchestra, the two latter arranged by Bandmaster Missud, leader of the Salem Cadet Band, being disposed of in less than one year. It was dedicated to the Company, who accepted the same and voted thanks to its publisher.

Mr. Trifet became a member of Company G, of the Independent Boston Fusiliers, First Regiment, M. V. M., in 1869, and served eight years. During this service he held the consecutive positions of private, corporal, sergeant, first sergeant, and first lieutenant. He was commissioned first lieutenant of Company G Sept. 6, 1876, and was discharged June 7, 1877.

Lieut. Trifet joined the Artillery Company Sept. 29, 1879; was third sergeant of infantry in 1889 and adjutant in 1897. He received Masonic degrees in Joseph Warren Lodge, of Boston, in 1891, and was a life member of that Lodge. He received the Chapter degrees in St. Andrew's Royal Arch Chapter, of Boston, and he was High Priest of that body at the time of his decease. He was also a member of Boston Commandery, Knights Templars, of the several bodies of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Boston, Royal Order of Scotland, Fusilier Veteran Association, American Philatelic Association, and of other orders.

Lieut. Trifet died of a brain tumor at his residence, No. 39 Allston Street, Dorchester, Sept. 26, 1899. The funeral services were attended by a large delegation from the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company.

Bibliography :

History of the Military Company of the Massachusetts Now Called the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts.To His Royal Highness, ALBERT EDWARD, PRINCE OF WALES, Field Marshal, Captain General, and Colonel Honourable Artillery Company, London: 269

Mason's Coin and Stamp Collector's Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 9, December (1867) : extending a hand of fellowship 84b-c, retaliate in kind 87b; No. 12, March (1868) : published late 116c-d; On Confederate stamps II, No. 2, May (1868) : 17a; criticism of Trifet catalog III, No. 12, December (1869) : 140b; complains report of late publication is an exaggeration II, No. 1, April (1868) : 8d; Trifet seems to have spread rumor of tampering in FewSmith sale IV, No. 12, December (1870) : 192; Trifet defunct V, No. 3, March (1871) : 50; Trifet coin catalog made by Chaplin V, No. 12, December (1871) : 192; Trifet published second Stamp magazine in America. H-II, No. 2, September (1880) :11b; Trifet selling counterfeit stamps. III, No. 5, May (1869) : 58a-b; Trifet selling counterfeit stamps. III, No. 6, June (1869) : 68d; Trifet selling counterfeit stamps. III, No. 8, August (1869) : 93d; Trifet selling counterfeit stamps. III, No. 9, September (1869) : 106a; Trifet & Co., [D-411], No refund on coin from Trifet’s first coin sale. IV, No. 2, February (1870) : 31; On fair prices of genuine coins. IV, No. 4, April (1870) : 59;

The Stamp Collector's Magazine, Vol. 7 May, June, July, August (1869) : 67, 68, 69, 111, 117, 118, 128

Remy Bourne, American Numismatic Periodicals 1860 -1960(Minneapolis, Minnesota : Ramm Communications, 1990) : 1865-22-23

Trifet's(Monthly) Stamp Circular, or Monthly, 69 issues, Trifet, F. M., Boston, Mass., 7 vols., 81 nos., Jan. 1874 to May 1879. Tiffany No. 45.

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