Royal Reels: Gambling


A colourful non-Australian-related cover introduced me to the Professor Loewy two years ago and almost simultaneously I found an Australian cover sent to the same man. The Hoboken N.J. cover sold for a cool USD 6,000, the price can be attributed to at least 3 factors: it is a first day cover for the 1901 2c Pan-American Exposition stamp with a May 1 1901 machine cancel; the black vignette of the stamp is shifted upward; it has a multi-coloured vignette; and there are 3 different design exposition labels, one tied by the postmark (Figure 1).

The registered Victorian cover had 5 stamps, two single 1d orange ‘Reading’ stamps arranged tête bêche, a single 2½d red-brown on yellow paper Tannenberg stamp and 2 singles of the ½d pink ‘Stamp Duty’ stamps all postmarked with large ‘R’ in a circle plus an unframed REGISTERED/ D/ MA/ 1O/ 99/ BENDIGO postmark. There is also a pencilled ‘19′, and a blue ‘514′ handstamp. The cover is addressed to Profes. M. Loewy, at the same address of 1251 Garden St., Hoboken N,J. America (Figure 2).

I had forgotten the third cover in my own collection, which was sent to the professor at the same address with the green ½d and blue 2d New South Wales stamps, postmarked by the duplex WEST MAITLAND /JA 14/ 9-P.M./01/ N.S.W. with the barred ‘64′ obliterator [Type D3 (iii)] (Figure 3).

The reverse had a partial New York Feb 15, 1901 transit mark, a HOBOKEN N.J./ FEB 15/ 1-PM/ 1901/ REGD. arrival postmark, a PAID/ C/ ALL, as well as scraps of the margins of the NSW stamps (Figure 4).

The cover’s contents confirmed what I had thought from the very first cover that the professor was a stamp collector, for it contained a small piece of paper with the following message: “Miss Meynell will in future only exchange stamps European Catalogue from 25 ct. to 4 dollars each. Other American W. Indian and other scarce values from 10ct. She will give stamps Australian same values. Columbus U.S. 1. to 5. dollars specially desired. Stamps sent were useless for collection however she thanks Professor Loewy and hopes he will be satisfied (over the page) with enclosure otherwise Miss Meynell will return stamps he sent …….German correspondence will do” (Figures 5 & 6).

The little I learnt about the professor was fragmentary, and can be summarized as follows:: Ellen Peachey at the American Philatelist Research Library was first to tell me that Loewy was an entertainer, and the professor title was probably self-bestowed; The Japanese Philately Vol 47 No 2, April 1992, showed 3 Japanese covers addressed to the professor, and stated that “Few Americans could read Japanese in 1904, written in the semi-cursive running style and in ‘sōrōbun’. Prof. M. Loewy was one of them”; magician Dai Vernon always considered that the ‘palm from the top of the deck’ was the creation of Professor Morris Loewy; the New Jersey Postal History Society published a request from its members for information on the professor, and the society’s librarian found that he advertised himself as an “expert in card performances and theatrical entertainments”; and, the editor of Japanese Philately stated that Loewy ‘received a considerable quantity of covers and picture postcards from Japan and Korea about 1900-05, some with messages written in Japanese script’.

Two years later I found a website relating to the history of Hoboken, N.J. documented with fine postcards, and with more information on Loewy. He was born in Austria ca. 1859 and immigrated to the United States in 1889. He previously married Mathilda in Sweden and in an 1892 Directory he was listed at 218 Bloomfield St. Hoboken, as a Magician. They had 2 sons, Alphonso and Bernard, both born in New Jersey. By 1900 he lived at 1251 Garden St., Hoboken, and he listed himself as a card artist and magician. In 1920, Morris, Mathilda and son Bernard were living in North Bergen, N.J., and Morris listed himself as “professor, play card tricks”. Morris Loewy is best known for the ‘Loewy Palm’ card trick, was quite a linguist, a stamp and post card collector, but he is no professor!

The same website as above has been greatly expanded and I have extracted the following text from it. Professor Morris Loewy, who has been a resident of Hoboken for the past twenty-five years, was born in Vienna, Austria, on July 25, 1857. His parents were Philip and Julia Loewy. He is a prestidigitator of international fame. He uses only playing cards in his performances and exhibitions and never fails to astonish his audience by the wonderful manner in which he is able to manipulate the bits of pasteboard.

Professor Loewy can be classed as a prodigy. His aptitude for card manipulation has extended almost from his infancy. He began his professional career when but eight years of age. His early education came though private tutors and travel. He has been a great traveler and his ability has made him a welcome favorite before both royalty and the common people. He has appeared before and astonished such personages as Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria, King Christian IX of Denmark, King Oscar II of Sweden, King George of Greece, Czar Alexander of russia, King Edward of England and others. In this county he has appeared before Theodore Roosevelt and the late Mayor Gaynor and host of other prominent people. His presence is greatly desired at gaterings where select entertainments are given.

He is not merely and entertainer, but a successful business man as well. He is president of the Spray Vibrator Corporation, the Loewy Company and the Osflo Company. He is a member of the Elks and Royal Arcanum, honorary member of the New York Stamp Society and Honorary president of the Berolina and National Alumni. His hobby is the collection of post cards, stamps and coins.

The above information was found at a remarkable website by Maggie Blanck which can be found at and it is highly for history about German families in Hoboken N.J.