VERY FINE. A RARE AND DESIRABLE PONY EXPRESS COVER, FREE FRANKED BY JOSPEH ROBERSON, WITH ORIGINAL CONTENTS AND CARRIED AS A WAY LETTER ON AN EASTBOUND PONY TRIP IN JULY 1861.
This was picked up at Fort Bridger by the Pony Express trip that left San Francisco on July 3, 1861, and arrived at St. Joseph on July 15. This was the first trip of the fourth rate period, though the rate was immaterial in this case since it was free franked. Pony Express letters on company business and from U.S. senators were carried free of any express or postal charges.
Joseph Roberson was born in Missouri about 1840, lived in Tennessee and was a pioneer expressman. He was head clerk for Pony Express founders Russell, Majors and Waddell, and when this letter was written he was agent for the Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company. He was subsequently an officer with Wells, Fargo & Co. His wife, Emily, nee Lofland, wrote a manuscript titled History of the Pony Express, which was published in the San Francisco newspaper California Spirit of the Times in 1879. Mrs. Roberson lived until 1943.
FKW Census EX1 (listed without known date as the letter that accompanies was not reunited with the cover until after the book was published). Trip ET-114.
Cover is ex Dr. Robertson and Walske
EXTREMELY FINE. THE ONLY REPORTED PONY EXPRESS COMMISSION ENVELOPE FOR PAYMENT BETWEEN EXPRESS COMPANIES.
Beekman's Express was based in Jacksonville, Oregon, and operated in conjunction with Wells, Fargo & Co. This envelope was used to convey payment received at Jacksonville to the Pony Express office at Sacramento.
VERY FINE EXAMPLE OF THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNNING PONY HANDSTAMP ON THE FIRST EASTBOUND TRIP OF THE THIRD RATE PERIOD.
According to the Frajola-Kramer-Walske book on Pony Express mails, the Third Rate period commenced on April 15, 1861. At this point Wells, Fargo & Co. offices throughout California began gathering mail to be carried by Pony Express. The first eastbound trip under the new $2.00 per half-ounce rate departed San Francisco on Wednesday, April 17, arriving in St. Joseph on April 30. Three covers are recorded for this trip, including one with the oval handstamp struck in red and two struck in blue.
Pony Express Census No. E68. Ex Hall. With 1973 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. A RARE EXAMPLE OF AN "INTERIOR" PONY EXPRESS COVER, CARRIED IN A FRANKED ENTIRE TO NEW YORK CITY AND MAILED FROM THERE WITH A 3-CENT 1857 STAMP.
This cover was carried on the Pony Express trip leaving San Francisco on May 11, 1860, arriving at St. Joseph fourteen days later on May 25 (listed as ET-7 in The Pony Express, p. 86). It was presumably enclosed in another envelope (possibly with other letters) and did not receive the usual express markings. Information about the addressee, Reverend Thomas B. Fox, may be found at http://www.frsuu.org/serm45.htm. Ex
ExPearce, Jessup and Piller. With 1990 P.F. certificate. Unlisted in The Pony Express census, because the few known "interior" covers were excluded.
VERY FINE. ONE OF EIGHT RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE "CENTRAL OVERLAND PONY EXPRESS COMPANY" FRANK, OF WHICH ONLY TWO ARE PRINTED ON 3-CENT ENTIRES. THIS IS ALSO THE EARLIEST RECORDED USE OF THE SACRAMENTO PONY EXPRESS MARKING (AND THE ONLY STRIKE IN BLACK). A REMARKABLE AND EXTREMELY RARE COVER FROM SEVERAL PERSPECTIVES.
According to the census in The Pony Express, recently published by The Philatelic Foundation, there are eight recorded entires with the two-line frank, which identifies the company as the Central Overland Pony Express Company. In fact, there was no such company, but rather The Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company owned and operated the Pony Express. Of the eight entires, all but two are 10c values of the Nesbitt issue. Only this entire (Census No. E52) and one other (Census No. E28) are 3c entires. A valid question is why the Pony Express frank would be applied to 3c entires when the 10c over-3,000 miles rate usually applied to eastbound Pony Express mail. The logical answer is that mail to and from intermediate points along the Pony trail or mail from California to Salt Lake City would only require a 3c rate. The presence of manuscript station markings on several of these COPEC franks supports the contention that they were mainly used by telegraph operators and way stations along the Pony route. In the case of the cover offered here, it was evidently accepted at Sacramento and St. Joseph with only 3c postage.
This cover was datestamped January 7 at Sacramento, which corresponds to the Pony trip departing San Francisco on January 5, 1861, and reported to have arrived in St. Joseph 22 days later on January 27, a rather long transit time, even during the winter months. The St. Joseph postmark on this cover has always been described as January "28", but we believe it is a blurry "22", which would point to a 16-day Pony trip arriving on January 21, more in line with typical winter journey times.
Illustrated in Letters of Gold (p. 256). Ex Parker and Kramer. With 1998 P.S.E. certificate.
VERY FINE. ONE OF ONLY SEVEN WESTBOUND PONY EXPRESS COVERS CARRIED DURING THE SHORT-LIVED THIRD RATE PERIOD, ACCORDING TO A RECENTLY-PUBLISHED CENSUS. THE USE OF THE 3-CENT STAR DIE ENTIRE IS ALSO RELATIVELY RARE AMONG PONY EXPRESS COVERS.
According to The Pony Express, recently published by The Philatelic Foundation, only seven Westbound covers are known during the Third Rate Period from April to June 30, 1861. The cover offered here is identified in the census as W42. Although no express rate is present, it was rated $2.00 per half-ounce, the rate in effect during the brief three-month period before the new government contract rate of $1.00 per half-ounce took effect on July 1, 1861. The application of the 3c U.S. rate to Pony Express mail relates to a loophole in the rate structure and is explained in The Pony Express (p. 28): "Therefore, a letter sent under separate cover in the government mails from the [COCPP] office in New York City to Saint Joseph could be prepaid in bulk with the proper postage at 3 cents per half ounce. At St. Joseph the packet of letters would be delivered from the post office to the Pony Express agent. When the individual letters from the packet were placed into the Pony Express mails at Saint Joseph, they were subject only to the 3 cents postage for the distance between Saint Joseph and California."
Census No. W42. Ex West and Polland. With 1967 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE. A VERY RARE FREE-FRANKED COVER CARRIED BY THE LEGENDARY PONY EXPRESS. THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED PONY COVER FRANKED BY TERRITORIAL DELEGATE ISAAC STEVENS AND THE ONLY PONY COVER ADDRESSED TO WASHINGTON TERRITORY.
According to Appleton's, Major General Isaac I. Stevens (1818-62) served two terms as Washington's first territorial delegate to Congress from December 1857 to March 1861. Stevens had a long career as a public servant, including service in the Mexican War and in the U.S. Coastal Survey office. In 1853 he was appointed governor of Washington Territory, in which capacity he conducted explorations for the northern route of the Pacific Railroad. During this period he was also superintendent of Indian affairs and negotiated a number of significant treaties with Native Americans in Washington Territory. In 1856 Stevens became involved in a bloody confrontation with Native American tribes who rebelled against the white settlers. After suppressing the rebellion and slaying the tribal chiefs, Stevens arrested whites alleged to have sympathized with the Indians. When a territorial judge, Chief Justice Edward Landers, issued the writ of habeas corpus, Stevens declared two counties under martial law and had Landers arrested and held prisoner until the end of the war. Soon after Stevens joined Congress and succeeded in vindicating his treaties and actions in the Indian war. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Stevens became an officer in the Federal army. He was killed at the battle of Chantilly in September 1862.
This letter was carried on the westbound Pony Express trip that departed St. Joseph Mo. on December 6, 1860, arriving in San Francisco and entering the mails on December 21. During this period, westbound covers were carried privately to St. Joseph to take advantage of the 3c under-3,000 miles rate. However, in this instance, the Stevens free frank meant no postage was required (but the express fee was paid).
With 1996 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE ST. JOSEPH "RUNNING PONY" COVER FREE FRANKED BY THE MOST COLORFUL OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE PONY EXPRESS.
The Pony Express began its inaugural trip on April 3, 1860, under the ownership of the Central Overland and Pike's Peak Express Company. The three founders were William H. Russell, Alexander Majors and William B. Waddell. The Pony Express was absorbed by Wells, Fargo & Co. in April 1861 after failing to secure a government contract at the beginning of the Civil War due to a variety of circumstances, including Russell's often reckless behavior (see following lot).
VERY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED EAST-TO-WEST PONY EXPRESS USAGE ORIGINATING IN PHILADELPHIA. AN OUTSTANDING WESTERN EXPRESS USAGE.
The Wells, Fargo & Co. frank, issued July 1, 1861, paid the Pony Express $1.00 charge for mail to California. It was printed on a 10c government entire to cover United States postage. Westbound Pony Express covers are far rarer than eastbound, and this is reported to be the only example postmarked at Philadelphia.