VERY FINE. A NEWLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF THE RARE HONOLULU STRAIGHTLINE AND ONE OF ONLY TEN STRUCK IN BLUE.
This cover was carried on the bark Connecticut, which departed Honolulu on December 7, 1850, and arrived in San Francisco on December 31. It was carried to Panama on the PMSS Carolina, which departed on January 1 (1851) and arrived on January 19. After crossing the isthmus by mule pack and riverboat, it left Chagres on the USMSC Georgia, which departed on January 28 and arrived in New York on February 8 after stopping at Havana.
Fred Gregory records a total of 35 examples of the Honolulu straightline handstamp. Of these, the first nine are struck in blue during a brief time period -- between November 2 and December 7, 1850. This newly recorded cover raises the count to 36 total with ten struck in blue. This was used on the same day as the cover offered in our 2011 sale of the David Golden collection (Sale 1009, lot 65)
VERY FINE EXAMPLE OF THE HONOLULU STRAIGHTLINE ON A DOUBLE-RATE COVER PREPAID FOR THE NEW 6-CENT TRANSCONTINENTAL RATE AND POSTMARKED AT SAN FRANCISCO ON JULY 1, 1851, THE FIRST DAY OF THE 1851 RATES.
The 6c transcontinental rate was effective from July 1, 1851, to April 1, 1855. This cover was carried on the American bark Joseph Butler, which departed Honolulu June 4, 1851, and arrived in San Francisco on July 1. It was then carried on the PMSC Panama, which departed on July 1 (arrival date uncertain, about July 20). After crossing the isthmus, it was carried from Chagres on the USMSC Empire City, which departed July 25 and arrived in New York on August 6 after a stop in Kingston, Jamaica.
Ex Edward S. Knapp, George J. Kramer and Steven C. Walske.
VERY FINE STRIKE OF THE HONOLULU STRAIGHTLINE, THE FIRST HANDSTAMPED POSTMARK OF HAWAII, USED BY HAWAII’S FIRST POSTMASTER, HENRY M. WHITNEY.
Fred Gregory records a total of 35 examples of this straightline marking. This letter was carried on the Corsair, which departed Honolulu January 31, 1851, and arrived in San Francisco on February 19. It was then carried on the PMSS California from San Francisco to Panama on March 5, 1851. After crossing the isthmus, it was carried on the USMSS Georgia, which departed Chagres around March 27, stopped at Havana on April 3, and arrived in New York on April 7.
Gregory Census No. 14. Illustrated in Ashbrook, Vol. II, page 242. Ex Honolulu Advertiser and Goldberg.
VERY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE COVER FROM THE EXPLORER CARL VON DITMAR ON HIS EXPEDITION TO THE REMOTE KAMCHATKA PENINSULA IN THE EASTERN SIBERIAN MARITIME PROVINCE. MAILED FROM HAWAII TO RUSSIA VIA SAN FRANCISCO, PANAMA, NEW YORK AND BY AMERICAN PACKET TO BREMEN.
We are aware of three covers from Hawaii to Russia. This cover and another (ex Honolulu Advertiser and William H. Gross) are addressed to Madame C(onde) von Ditmar in Addafer. The third cover is addressed to Y. L. Lortsch in Libau. The manuscript notation “P.P. Hafen” on the back of this cover and the other to Madame von Ditmar identify their origin. “P.P. Hafen” is an abbreviation for Petropavlovsk Hafen (Harbor), located in the Eastern Siberian peninsula of Kamchatka between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea. From 1851 to 1855 this remote volcanic region was explored and mapped by Carl von Ditmar (the subject of his book, Reisen and Aufenthalt in Kamchatka in den Jahren 1851-1855). Von Ditmar wrote the letter once contained in this cover on March 23, 1853 (as per receipt docketing) and sent it to Honolulu, probably on a passing whaling vessel. At Honolulu the forwarders, Hackfeld & Co., placed it in the Hawaii-U.S. mail for Russia.
Once it entered the mail at Honolulu, the cover was carried by the British brig Gazelle, which departed Lahaina on June 4, 1853, and arrived in San Francisco on July 5. From there it was carried to Panama on the PMSS Brother Jonathan, which departed on July 15 and arrived around July 28. It crossed the isthmus and was carried from Aspinwall to New York by the USMSS Illinois, which departed on August 1 and arrived on August 10. At New York it was put on the Ocean Line’s Washington, which departed on August 13 and arrived at Bremen on August 29. The address lists “St. Petersbourg, Dorpat et Oberpahlen a Addafer” as transit points, which are today in Russia and Estonia. After a journey of more than five months, it reached Madame von Ditmar in early September.
From July 1, 1851, to August 15, 1853, the Bremen Convention rate to Russia was 20c (retained by the U.S.), regardless of the distance to New York. The 28c rate indicated on this cover apparently includes 6c for transcontinental postage (an error) and the 2c ship fee. Postage due to the German postal system was collected from the addressee.
In 1854, the French and British, who were battling Russian forces on the Crimean Peninsula, attacked Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. During the Siege of Petropavlovsk, 988 men with a mere 68 guns managed to defend the outpost against 6 ships with 206 guns and 2,540 French and British soldiers. Despite the heroic defense, Petropavlovsk was abandoned as a strategic liability after the Anglo-French forces withdrew. The next year when a second enemy force came to attack the port, they found it deserted. Frustrated, the ships bombarded the city and withdrew.
Illustrated in Richard F. Winter’s article, “United States–Russia Mail: 1840-1875, Part 1: Bremen Mail, British Mail, Prussian Closed Mail” (Chronicle 241), and Gregory’s Hawaii Foreign Mail to 1870 (Vol. I, p. 314). Ex Golden.
EXTREMELY FINE EXAMPLE OF MAIL FROM HAWAII TO ENGLAND VIA SAN FRANCISCO, PANAMA AND NEW YORK.
This cover was carried on the PMSS Sierra Nevada, which departed Honolulu on February 16, 1853, Lahaina on February 24, and arrived in San Francisco on March 15. It was then carried to Panama on the PMSS Golden Gate, which departed San Francisco on March 16 and arrived on March 28. It crossed the isthmus to Aspinwall, where it was carried to New York on the USMSS Illinois, which departed on March 31 and arrived on April 9. It was sent to Boston for the April 13 Cunarder sailing of the Niagara, which arrived in Liverpool on April 25.
The accompanying 2011 P.F. certificate notes that the ink on the address panel has been retraced, but the ink of the address is original and unaltered, and there are faint traces of secondary lines in grayish ink outside the address, which are not obvious, nor do they appear to be an effort to strengthen the address (the cover has not been cleaned). We think they might be artifacts of an attempt to use a mechanical writing/copying device at the time. Two similar covers from the same correspondence are illustrated in Gregory’s Hawaii Foreign Mail to 1870 (Vol. I, p. 312).
Ex Admiral Harris and Golden.
VERY FINE. POSSIBLY THE EARLIEST USE OF THE HONOLULU "HAWAIIAN ISLANDS" CIRCULAR DATESTAMP ORDERED BY POSTMASTER WHITNEY.
The earliest date for the "U.S. Postage Paid" version is February 10, 1852. In addition to its early date, the example offered here is remarkable because it is struck on an inter-island letter. This marking was used almost exclusively on mail to other countries. The anachronism of the "Mar. 10" date in the postmark and the March 16 letter date can only be explained with "they made a mistake."
Ex Van Dyke (with his backstamp) and Golden