Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6). Positions 1/6/11/16, vertical strip of four from the first vertical column in the sheet of 20, large to huge margins all around showing the corner guide marks on each stamp, used with four 10¢ Dark Green, Ty. I (62B), corresponding quadruple $1.00 Pony Express rate and 10¢ per half-ounce postage, 10¢ stamps cancelled with blue manuscript and all stamps tied on large blue linen-lined cover originating in Boston on October 11, 1861, addressed "Agent of Pony Express, St. Joseph, Mo, For Mr. Louis McLane or William A. White, Care of Messrs Wells Fargo & Co, San Francisco, California", with original letter and several legal documents from Reuben A. Richards related to the assignment of a debt owed by Joseph B. Hamblen, carried on the westbound Pony trip departing on Thursday, October 17, 1861, which arrived in San Francisco on October 29--one of the last mails to actually be carried by Pony riders before the service was closed on October 24--cover has minor small tears and nicks around edges, certificate notes slight creases in top three $1.00 stamps and a crease in one 10¢ stamp
VERY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED MULTIPLE OF ANY PONY EXPRESS STAMP ON COVER AND ONE OF FOUR EXTANT COVERS WITH THE $1.00 "GARTER" STAMP. ONE OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING OF ALL CLASSIC UNITED STATES COVERS.
The Horse & Rider Second Issue, the "Garter" Issue and Type II franked envelope were issued to prepay the $1.00 Pony Express rate under the government contract that went into effect on July 1, 1861. The franked entire and Garter adhesive were needed by Wells Fargo & Co.'s eastern offices, since the Horse & Rider stamps were never sent to them. On August 12, 1861, Wells Fargo announced in the New York papers that "Pony Express Envelopes" were "Now ready and for sale at our office." Although this announcement refers only to "envelopes," in fact both the franked entires and adhesive stamps were put on sale in August 1861.
The 1861 10c "Pumpkin" entire with the Type II printed frank was ordered from George F. Nesbitt & Co. (New York) after approval was sought from the Postmaster General's office (see lot 28). Nesbitt was specifically asked to produce envelopes on a thinner, tougher paper than that used for regular stamped envelopes, to reduce weight for the Pony riders. Nesbitt also printed the Garter stamps in sheets of 20 with his imprint below the center stamp in the bottom row. There are four recorded covers with the $1.00 Garter stamp (see list), but only one multiple is known on cover--the strip of four offered here. In fact, this is the only cover with a multiple of any Pony Express stamp.
The cover and letter are addressed to Louis McClane or William A. White, in care of the Wells Fargo office in San Francisco. McLane was Wells Fargo's general agent and later became president of the firm. The letter is datelined "Boston Mass. Octo. 11, 1861", and with the enclosures weighed between 1.5 and 2 ounces, thus requiring four times the express fee and postage. The 40¢ postage was paid with the new 10¢ 1861 First Design (Type I) stamps, and the $4.00 Pony Express fee was paid with the Garter strip. The stamps were cancelled with blue manuscript ink, and it appears that the cover was carried outside the mails all the way to the Wells Fargo office. It should have reached St. Joseph in time for the October 17, 1861, westbound Pony trip, which arrived on October 29. Newspaper notices of letters arriving by Pony during this period list McLane and Wells Fargo as recipients.
The cover was discovered by George M. Hackett in 1902 and was loaned by him to Wells Fargo for a display at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition (see photo opposite). Hackett died in 1959, and his heirs sold the collection in a 1983 Butterfield's auction, where George Kramer bought the Garter cover.
FKW Census W64. Illustrated in 1930 Julius Loeb article in The American Philatelist (reprinted in Western Express, April 1984), described in detail in Ashbrook's Special Service (pages 599-603), and illustrated in Frajola-Kramer-Walske, The Pony Express: A Postal History (page 63). With 1983 P.F. certificate.
View enclosures at https://siegelauctions.com/2019/1207/pdf/29_enclosures.pdf
|$1.00 “Garter” covers|
|FKW||Origin||St Jo Pony||Addressee||Provenance|
|W52||NYC 8/24/61||8/29/61||Forbes||H Crocker|
|W68||Boston 10/19/61||10/27/61||Prindle||W Crocker|
EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. THE DISCOVERY EXAMPLE OF A NESBITT IMPRINT ON THE FAMOUS $1.00 PONY EXPRESS GARTER STAMP, THE PRODUCT OF GEORGE F. NESBITT & CO., THE PROMINENT NEW YORK PRINTER WHO PRODUCED THE NESBITT SERIES OF UNITED STATES POSTAL STATIONERY.
George F. Nesbitt & Company is best known for its extensive work in printing books, trade cards, advertising materials and the first U.S. government stamped envelopes. Although Nesbitt was identified as the maker of the franked envelopes and Garter issue in an 1867 article about the Pony Express stamps, subsequent writers mistakenly attributed the Garter printing to Britton & Rey, the San Francisco printers who produced the Horse & Rider issues. Around the year 2000 the Garter stamp offered here was found, bearing the imprint “G. F. Nesbitt & Co. N.Y.” and providing conclusive evidence of the printer.
Ex Gruys and Twigg-Smith
EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. A BEAUTIFUL USED EXAMPLE OF THE PONY EXPRESS GARTER STAMP.
Ex Hall and Twigg-Smith. With 2009 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE. THIS EXTRAORDINARY CORNER SHEET-MARGIN STRIP OF THREE IS THE ONLY RECORDED UNUSED MULTIPLE OF THE $1.00 PONY EXPRESS GARTER STAMP.
The Horse & Rider stamps were never used on westbound Pony Express mail. In Rate Period 3, Wells Fargo & Co. introduced a special franked envelope for westbound mail, but its use was extremely limited. On July 1, 1861, the new contract rate went into effect. On August 12, 1861, Wells Fargo & Co. announced in the New York papers that “Pony Express Envelopes” were “Now ready and for sale at our office.” Although this announcement refers only to “envelopes,” in fact both the franked entires and $1.00 adhesive stamps were put on sale in August 1861.
The small belt-shaped “Garter” stamp looks nothing like the Horse & Rider issues and omits the words “Pony Express.” Although Nesbitt was identified as the maker of the franks and Garter issue in an 1867 article, subsequent writers mistakenly attributed the Garter printing to Britton & Rey. Around the year 2000 a Garter stamp was found with the imprint “G. F. Nesbitt & Co. N.Y.” (see lot 39 in this sale).
The Garter was printed from a lithographic stone of 20 subjects, arranged 5 across and 4 high, based on the corner margin strip and three blocks printed on card with the word “Sample” written across them. A digital reconstruction of the sheet layout is shown opposite.
The Garter stamp is extremely rare in any form. The strip of three offered here is the only recorded unused multiple on regular paper. Only four covers are recorded, including two from New York City and two from Boston, dated from August 24 (lot 41) to October 26, 1861.
Ex Hall. With 2001 P.F. certificate.