William E. Clarke, of Providence, Rhode Island, purchased the rights to “The Great Kidney Medicine” from the widow of Mr. Hunt in 1872. Clarke promptly renamed the drug “Hunt’s Remedy” and registered the words Hunt’s Remedy on a broad ribbon as his trademark. Sometime in late 1878, Clarke must have contacted the National Bank Note Company to have a six-cent private die stamp prepared. The six-cent Wm. E. Clarke stamp featuring the words “HUNT’S REMEDY” on the trademark broad ribbon, was approved by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue on January 20, 1879, and was issued between 1879 and 1880.
Wm. E. Clarke 6¢ Stamp
Holcombe reports that Hunt’s Remedy was sold in two sizes, the smaller size retailing at 75 cents, which required a three cent stamp, and a larger size selling for $1.25, which required a six cent stamp. Accordingly, William Clarke subsequently decided to have a three cent stamp engraved. Based upon the die number, C-318, this occurred at the end of 1879 or very early in 1880.
Wm. E. Clarke 3¢ Essay
Although William Clarke did not adopt the three cent essay, very shortly thereafter, he had a three cent stamp prepared. The issued design is one of the most popular match & medicine stamps, with the vignette of man beating a skeleton with a bottle of Hunt’s Remedy.
Wm. E. Clarke 3¢ Stamp
This design was also used by William Clarke for a popular trade card, and was later used in the design of a postage stamp in the Celebrate the Century series commemorating the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 (Scott #3182f). Wm. E. Clarke's business, or at least William Clarke’s involvement in the business seems to have ended abruptly in late 1880 or early 1881. A short time thereafter, the product reappeared on the market, but marketed under the name Hunt’s Remedy Co.
Wm. E. Clarke Trade Card and Postage Stamp With Same Design