Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, Inc.

Franklin Official Carrier


LO1 Cover Census

LO1 Plate Crack

Special Printing (Scott LO4)




The Meyersburg census of Franklin Carrier covers, which remains current, contains 19 confirmed examples (this number was corrected after our Meyersburg Sale 791 by removing a duplicate listing). Included among the 19 covers are:

  •  Four from New York (listed below - three are tied by the red circular datestamp, one of which is in the New York Public Library)
  • One cover from New Orleans (tied, offered in lot 19 of the Golden sale)
  • 14 covers from Philadelphia (3 tied by blue circular datestamp, 10 cancelled by red star but not tied, and one tied by red star). 
The Meyersburg census, which is current, contains only four Franklin Carrier covers used from New York City:
  • 1.) Undated buff cover to John J. Latting, 85 Fulton St., tied by red "New York" circle, ex Chase, Miller Collection, New York Public Library
  • 2.) Sep. 15, 1852 folded letter to David Sands, 141 William St., tied by red New York circle, ex Caspary, Middendorf
  • 3.) Oct. 28, 1852 cover to Henry Mathews, Union Hotel, ex Seybold
  • 4.) Dec. 21, 1852 cover to R. J. Palfrey, New Orleans, Franklin stamp uncancelled, 3c 1851 tied by New York circular datestamp. Therefore, only two of the covers available to collectors (numbers 2 and 3 listed above) have Franklin Carrier stamps actually tied by a cancel.



Position 13R
Number 3 in census
The only off-cover example available to collectors
Position 19L
Number 1 in census
The only recorded plate crack on cover

The 1851 Franklin Carrier plate prepared by Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co. was marred by a large, nearly horizontal crack across six stamps in the second row from the top (Positions 18-20L and 11-13R). As the plate wore, the crack extended further into the two adjoining at left and right (Positions 17L and 14R). The crack is evident on plate proofs, issued stamps and reprint proofs. Our records contain only three used examples:
  • 1.) Position 19L on cover, ex Lichtenstein. This remarkable cover shows proper use of the Franklin Carrier stamp in March 1852 to prepay the fee for delivery within city limits by the carrier department, entirely outside of the regular mails. Only this cover, among the 19 known, has a stamp from one of the cracked-plate positions.
  • 2.) Position 19L off cover, ex Ferrary, Chase, Miller and now at the New York Public Library. The stamp was acquired by Carroll Chase, whose whole carrier collection was sold to Benjamin K. Miller and is now at the New York Public Library.
  • 3.) Position 13R off cover, illustrated above.

To date we have been unsuccessful in locating an unused plate crack example, although it is listed unused in Scott.




The only copies available to collectors

(1c) Blue, Franklin Carrier, Special Printing, Perf 12 (LO4)
Ex Green, Hollowbush, the Golden copy (lot 23)
(1c) Blue, Franklin Carrier, Special Printing, Perf 12 (LO4)
The ex-Col. Green, Lilly and Sheriff unique pair

In a letter to Eugene Costales, dated March 22, 1962, Elliott Perry provides an accurate account of the discovery of the five Franklin Carrier Special Printing stamps on White Paper, Perforated 12.

Perry (in typical style, taking aim at Philip Ward) describes the cache of Continental Special Printings in strips of five, which included the 1c to 90c 1875 (except the 2c Vermilion and 5c Taylor): "John Klemann got the batch... The whole lot came from Steel's widow [Charles F. Steel, National and Continental Bank Note Co. employee]. Evidently when the special printings were made Steel kept a strip of five of each, with few exceptions [note added in Perry's hand, including block 3c 1869 imperf with NBNCo. cancellation. I suppose the remainder of the Franklins were destroyed as the five in the Steel lot which Ackerman didn't buy in 1918 are all that are known to me. I think John K. [Klemann] sold a single to Luff and one to Needham, and there is one in the Miller collection, which may or may not be the Needham copy."

We have made an exhaustive investigation and have determined the following:
  • A pair and single from the original strip were sold to Edward H. R. Green, but were left in the mixed Reprint lot when his collection was sold (acquired by Philip Ward and so noted in his Mekeel's column, Oct. 4, 1957).
  • The ex-Green pair remains intact. It was in the Lilly and Sheriff collections sold by our firm in 1967 and 1986 (Sale 665), respectively.
  • The ex-Green single is the stamp offered here, which was offered in the Hollowbush sale (John A. Fox, Jul. 8, 1966)
  • The single sold to Benjamin K. Miller remains in the New York Public Library,
  • The single sold to John Luff remains in Luff Reference Collection at The Philatelic Foundation,

Therefore, only the pair and the single are available to collectors. Despite reference to six stamps in the Steel lot by Ward (repeated by others), there were only five, as Perry states and as sale records show.



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