Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4). Position 18 (showing plate flaw on rider's face), large margins to just touching frameline, used with $1.00 Red (143L3), Position R1, full margins to slightly in, both stamps tied by clear strike of blue "Pony Express, San Francisco, Aug. 3" (1861) Running Pony oval datestamp on large cover addressed to C. S. Parsons, 93 Beekman Street in New York City, separated vertical pair of 10¢ Green, Ty. V (35) cancelled by three strikes of New York City grid cancel-- carried on the Pony trip that departed San Francisco on Saturday, August 3, 1861, and arrived in St. Joseph on or about August 15, the mail from this Pony trip was brought to New York City and postmarked at the post office on August 18 (two others are recorded: FKW E131 with NYC grid cancel, and E133 with NYC August 18 datestamp)--cover opened on three sides and slightly reduced, long diagonal cover tear across upper left corner has been expertly repaired (not affecting stamps), 10¢ pair has a large piece of one replaced, a third 10¢ stamp to make up the triple rate was probably removed, but there is no trace of it
THE ONLY RECORDED COVER WITH A COMBINATION OF THE PONY EXPRESS SECOND HORSE & RIDER ISSUE AND ONE OF TWO COVERS WITH THE $2.00 GREEN SECOND ISSUE. A MAGNIFICENT PONY COVER AND IMPORTANT ARTIFACT OF WESTERN AMERICANA.
The first Pony Express stamps--the $2.00 Red and $4.00 Green--were issued in April 1861 after Wells Fargo & Co. became involved in operating the express. When the $1.00 per half-ounce contract rate took effect on July 1, 1861, a new set of stamps was ready, comprising the $1.00 Red, $2.00 Green and $4.00 Black. The FKW census lists only two covers with the Second Issue $2.00 Green (143L4), and this is the only recorded cover with a combination of two Second Issue stamps. The only other Horse & Rider combination cover is offered as lot 16 in this sale--it is stamped with the April 1861 $2.00 Red and $4.00 Green.
This cover was prepaid $3.00 for the triple Pony Express rate based on weight (it weighed between 1 and 1.5 ounces). The corresponding postage of 10¢ per half-ounce should have been 30¢, which has led to the longstanding assumption that a third 10¢ stamp was originally affixed and has since fallen off or been removed. There is no physical evidence of a missing stamp, such as a ghost outline in regular or ultraviolet light, but it is possible the third stamp was affixed at the top right corner, and the cover has been reduced slightly at right. Since this is the only known cover with a combination of the July 1861 Horse & Rider stamps, the missing stamp and restoration are immaterial.
The cover originated in San Francisco and was carried by steamer to Sacramento, which was the original western terminus for the actual Pony relay, but starting with the July 7, 1860, trip, the terminus was moved to Folsom, located at the eastern end of the Sacramento Valley Railroad line. On July 1, 1861, the terminus was moved farther east to Placerville. On the eastern end of the Pony relay, during the summer of 1861 there were problems caused by Confederate bushwacker attacks on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad lines and bridges, beginning in June. Federal military forces were called in to protect the mail route, which was one of Ulysses S. Grant's first commissions as a colonel. After the troops left in August 1861, the Platte Bridge Railroad Tragedy occurred when sabotage led to the derailment of a train over the Platte River, which killed 20 and injured 100 more. Shortly after, the eastern terminus was relocated from St. Joseph to Atchison, Kansas, to provide greater protection from Confederate partisans.
The addressee, C. S. Parsons at 93 Beekman Street, is listed in the city directory as Clement S. Parsons, who was a successful owner of a firm which sold boots and shoes. In August 1861 he served as a trustee on the board of the Columbian Marine Insurance company. This cover probably contained business papers.
FKW Census E132. Illustrated in Ashbrook's Special Service (pages 184-185), Nathan-Boggs, The Pony Express (page 46) and Bakers' U.S. Classics (page 113). Ex John F. Seybold and J. David Baker. Acquired by George Kramer in our July 10-11, 1986, sale (Sale 668, lot 50). With 1953 P.F. certificate.
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. FEWER THAN TEN USED EXAMPLES OF THE $2.00 HORSE & RIDER SECOND ISSUE ARE REPORTED.
The $2.00 Green Second Issue is extremely scarce in used condition. Only two covers are recorded, and we have seen approximately eight genuinely cancelled stamps off cover.
Ex Twigg-Smith and "New Helvetia". With 1996 P.F. certificate.