Henry T. Helmbold started in the drug business in 1846. In 1863 he moved to New York City from Philadelphia, and opened a drugstore which he named the Crystal Palace Pharmacy at 594 Broadway. He had 2¢ and 4¢ private die stamps engraved in early 1864, and in the spring of 1868, he requested new stamps, in the same design, with values of 3¢ and 6¢.
In January 1871, Helmbold requested new stamps with denominations of 3¢ and 6¢, accompanied by a sketch of the requested design. Joseph Carpenter wrote to Helmbold on January 25, 1871, stating that he had received the application for new stamps, but questioning the wording of the sketch which stated “Examine carefully that this stamp is not perforated or torn at sides.” As the new stamp was to be perforated, Joseph Carpenter cautioned that the wording “not perforated or torn” could confuse consumers. On January 28, 1871, Joseph Carpenter wrote that he would prepare a model and submit it in a few days (presumably to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue). On August 2, 1871, Joseph Carpenter wrote to Helmbold stating that he had not been able to work upon Helmbold’s new stamp due to the government’s order to produce a new series of revenue stamps (the 1871 documentary and proprietary issues), and to inquire whether, given the passage of time, Helmbold still wanted the new stamps. Helmbold’s answer was apparently negative, as no stamps were produced from the essay. The Helmbold essay has an unfinished appearance, consistent with work being abandoned before completion. The essay does not have any engraved shading as would be expected upon security paper.