There's an old saw that goes, "can't see the forest for the trees," meaning losing sight of the big picture by concentrating on the details. In this instance the corollary, "can't see the tree for the forest" applies.
I'm embarrassed to admit that a gray $1 Commerce, R184b, issue with a missing surcharge (the tree) has resided unidentifed in one of my stockbooks (the forest) for 10, 20, or maybe even more years. I've long collected both handstamp and printed cancels on the battleships, both the documentaries and the more popular proprietaries; but have never paid much attention to cancels on the dollar-value Commerce issues. I've simply accumulated any that have come in job lots or collections in a stockbook.
But knowing of John's interest in cancels, at the last minute, I took that stockbook along to the Minnesota Stamp Expo where we met this Summer while he was visiting family in the area. I told him to just take any of the gray Commerce Issue cancels that interested him as I was never going to do anything with them. When he came to the stamp illustrated below he delayed, looked closely, then suggested that I might want to keep this one. Dah, I still didn't notice the missing overprint when he showed the stamp to me, and I'm a detail oriented person -- more apt to miss the forest for the trees than the other way around! Thanks again John, for spotting it!
Scott R184b surcharge missing variety
C. ELEV. CO.
Only the $1 value of the gray Commerce Overprints is listed in the Scott Specialized as having a missing surcharge. There are some other surcharge varieties listed for the later 1902 green Commerce issues with ornamental surcharges, but I've checked my stockbook thoroughly(grin), and I don't have any of those.
The C. ELEV. CO. cancel might be from the Cargill Elevator Company, as they were a prominent grain elevator company at the time, but that's simply a guess. Today, Cargill is one of the nation's largest privately held companies.
Can anyone confirm Cargill as using the C. ELEV. CO. cancel, or offer examples of any of the surcharge varieties of the green Commerce Overprint issues? If so, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.