Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, Inc.

Spaulding's Penny Post

Spaulding's Penny Post, Buffalo, N.Y., 2c Vermilion (156L1)
One of two recorded examples
Spaulding's Penny Post, Buffalo N.Y., 2c Carmine (156L2)
One of two recorded examples

A detailed history of Spaulding's Penny Post is provided in Pitt Petri's comprehensive article on Buffalo's local posts, published in the Collectors Club Philatelist (Vol. 32, No. 2). A summary of Petri's research follows, supplemented by a review of recorded Spaulding items.

Spaulding's Penny Post was opened at 4 Seneca Street on July 4, 1847, by Enos Wilder Spaulding, according to advertisements and notices appearing in Buffalo's Commercial Advertiser. Spaulding was a licensed Methodist Episcopal minister from Vermont and is described in one advertisement as "having been connected with the Post Office Department, as Assistant Postmaster, in one of the principal Post Offices in New England..." No record of his government service has been found. In 1845 Spaulding appears as publisher of the Impetus, and in 1846 he is listed as the office agent for the temperance paper, The Western Cataract. Spaulding's Penny Post followed Buffalo's first local, Cutting's Dispatch Post, which was established by Thomas S. Cutting in January 1847 (see lots 1015-1018). Cutting was evidently unwilling or unprepared to compete with Spaulding's aggressive marketing, and, by the end of May 1848, Cutting sold out to Spaulding. Sometime between May 1848 and June 1849 Spaulding moved from 4 Seneca Street to "4 doors below the post office on Washington Street". On October 9, 1849, an advertisement announced the purchase of Spaulding's Penny Post by William Hinwood and Frederick W. Robinson, which became the Hinwood &Co. Dispatch. Sometime between April and June 1850 Hinwood & Co. ceased to exist.

Spaulding's Penny Post advertisements and covers show that he charged 1c for letter delivery from July 4 until November 15, 1847. Only one cover is recorded with the red "One Cent" coin handstamp (lot 1478), which is undated but must come from this July-November 1847 period. After the letter rate was raised to 2c, the coin marker was modified by deleting "One Cent" from the center. The single recorded cover with this modified marking-struck in black with a Dec. 13 New York City datestamp on an 1847 folded letter to Buffalo-was part of the Donald Malcolm collection (Siegel Sale 417) and was also described in an article by Calvet M. Hahn (Western Stamp Collector, Nov. 4, 1972). It is the only one of five known Spaulding stampless covers that is not found in the Golden collection. The third (and also unique) type of coin handstamp used by Spaulding is the Dove strike on an April 8, 1848, folded letter offered as lot 1477 in this sale. The date of this Dove cover falls into the 2c rate period.

The distinctive 2c Letter Carrier handstamps and adhesive stamps were introduced in 1848. Two handstamped Letter Carrier covers are recorded: one in pale red dated May 20, 1848 (lot 1480) and one in black dated a year later on May 3, 1849 (lot 1479). Of the smaller Letter Carrier adhesive, Scott 156L1, there is one off-cover stamp (lot 1475) and a July 17, 1848 folded letter to Mrs. Emeline Sanford, Marion N.Y., with an uncancelled stamp. The larger Letter Carrier stamp with advertising text around the border, Scott 156L2, is similarly represented with one off-cover stamp (lot 1476) and a cover to Mrs. James Purdy, Mansfield O., with a faint Buffalo datestamp believed to be "SEP"(September, ca. 1849). The earliest date of the Letter Carrier handstamps and adhesives-May 20, 1848-is in proximity to Spaulding's buyout of Cutting's Dispatch Post. 

The first discovery of a Spaulding's Penny Post item occurred in 1915, when Harry Flierl found the May 3, 1849, folded letter with the 2c Letter Carrier handstamp in black (lot 1479). This cover was later reported by Elliott Perry in Pat Paragraphs (May 19, 1937). The first discovery of any Spaulding's adhesive stamp was made by Elmer E. Gunner, who found the 156L1 cover to Emeline Sanford in correspondence "at a farmhouse in a little western New York town" (as reported by Henry E. Abt in Stamps, Oct. 13, 1945). The large Letter Carrier stamp on the cover to Mrs. James Purdy in Mansfield was discovered in 1952 by Mrs. Frieda Bulger, as reported by Pitt Petri, and was later sold to John R. Boker Jr.   

The Cutting's and Spaulding's stamps are stylistically identical with the Hanford's Post Rider and Gordon's Letter Carrier stamps used in New York City. The 1845 Hanford stamp predates the 1847 Cutting stamp by two years and clearly came first. The earliest Spaulding's Letter Carrier handstamp (May 20, 1848) predates the earliest Gordon's adhesive (July 8, 1848) by less than two months, and Gordon's started in early 1848, so the Letter Carrier design appears almost concurrently in Buffalo and New York City.



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