J. Murray Bartels

J. Murray Bartels

J. Murray Bartels is one of those rare names in philately that, even today nearly seven decades after his passing, his name is still conjured up within the pantheon of great philatelists and dealers—for Bartels certainly qualifi ed in both categories.

As a student and philatelist, Bartels built well known collections of Philippines, Canal Zone, Danish West Indies and Virgin Islands. He wrote the following books: The Postage Stamps of the Philippines (with F.A. Foster and F.L. Palmer) (1904); Bartel’s Checklist of Canal Zone Stamps (1906, 2nd ed. 1908); and United States Virgin Islands (Mekeel Booklet No. 21) (with Bertram W.H. Poole) (1917).

As a renowned dealer, Bartels held 33 auctions from 1898 to 1944. Among his many important sales were portions of the Clarence Eagle and Arthur Hind Collections. From 1939 to 1941 Bartels and Edwin Mueller collaborated in a series of auctions, including the “Bartels Special Rarity Sales” containing portions of the famous European collection of Baron Alphonse de Rothschild.

Bartels built an international reputation as an expert and authority on U.S. postal stationery. He was one of the “three Bs” of postal stationery, along with Dr. Daniel D. Berolzheimer and Dr. Victor M. Berthold (whose stock he has purchased in mid-career). His fi rst book, published in 189 , J.M. Bartels and Co.’s Catalogue and Reference List of the Stamped Envelopes, Wrappers and Letter Sheets, had three  subsequent editions through 1911. He also wrote Envelopes of the United States with several editions published from 1930 to 1938. Fellow dealer Prescott H. Thorp  succeeded Bartels in this fi eld, publishing subsequent catalogs as “Thorp-Bartels” editions.

Bartels maintained his stamp shop on Nassau Street in New York nearly up until his passing—just before his scheduled 338th auction.

[Editor’s Note: Information contained herein is part of the biography of J. Murray Bartels maintained by the American Philatelic Society in conjunction with their Hall of Fame, into which Bartels was inducted in 1946, following his death.]