5¢ Red Brown (1), horizontal pair, large margins to full at bottom right corner, tied by red square grid cancels with matching "New-York 10cts. 14 Jul." (1847) integral-rate circular datestamp on grayish folded letter to Portland, Maine, receipt docketing on back, Very Fine, a beautiful first-month use, from our 1987 Rarities of the World sale, ex Boker
5¢ Red Brown (1), dark early shade, large margins all around including portion of adjoining stamp at bottom, tied by red square grid cancel with matching "New-York Aug. 6" (1847) circular datestamp on blue folded cover to Norwich, Connecticut, docketing on back confirms date, Extremely Fine stamp on a fresh cover, ex Boker
5¢ Dark Brown, Crack in "T" Variety (1a var), Position 69R, exceptionally intense shade from Ridgway's "Chestnut Brown" color family and described by Wade Saadi as "Seal Brown," huge margins to full at bottom, tied by blue "Paid" in oval cancel with matching "Philada Pa. 10cts. Oct. 23" (1847) integral-rate circular datestamp, manuscript "Due 5" for distance greater than 300 miles on folded cover to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Extremely Fine and rare shade, and especially desirable with the Crack in "T" plate flaw (which was first reported by Wade Saadi in the May 1994 Chronicle), ex Saadi, with 1991 P.F. certificate stating Ridgway's Walnut Brown (catalogued under Dark Brown, Scott 1a) but not mentioning the plate crack (which had not yet been reported)
5¢ Brown (1), vertical pair, large to gigantic margins including bottom sheet margin, tied by blue "Baltimore Md. May 28" (1849) circular datestamp with matching "10" in oval handstamp on folded letter to Boston, Massachusetts, Extremely Fine Gem pair, a wonderful quality on-cover sheet-margin vertical pair of the 5¢ 1847, ex Newbury, Klein and Boker, and from our 1996 Rarities of the World sale, with 1988 P.F. certificate
5¢ Red Brown, Double Transfer Type E (1-E), vertical pair, top stamp showing double transfer of "U", "Post Office" and left numeral "5", large margins to just touched at lower right, tied by bold strikes of red square grid cancel with matching "New-York Jan. 8" (1849) circular datestamp on blue folded New York Supreme Court document to Rochester, New York, file fold barely creases bottom stamp at bottom (not the double transfer stamp), still Very Fine and extremely rare pair showing the "Mower Shift" double transfer, this may be the only on-cover vertical pair extant, ex Saadi
5¢ Red Brown (1), horizontal strip of ten--Positions 91-100L, the full row from the bottom of the left pane with left sheet margin and right interpane margin--9mm sheet margin at left (piece missing) and 4mm interpane margin at right, margins at top and bottom are large to full except for one stamp where clear at bottom, bright shade (nearly Orange Brown), tied by multiple strikes of red square grid cancel on large brown envelope to the clerk of the Lake County Circuit Court, Waukegan, Illinois, red "New-York Jun. 7" (1851) circular datestamp with blue manuscript "10" (cents) below date indicating underpaid postage, either paid in cash (or charge) or disregarded by New York City post office, which applied the red "PAID" in arc handstamp not usually seen on covers of this period, red printed corner card at top covered by strip ("[LIV]INGSTON, SECRETARY" visible), green Commissioner in New York seal on back signed by John Livingston, a prominent attorney and law journal publisher, the envelope contained depositions taken by Livingston and submitted to the court, receipt docketing dated June 9, 1851
William L. Stevenson (sold privately to Ackerman through Perry)
Rep. Ernest R. Ackerman (sold privately to Gibson through Perry)
Henry C. Gibson, Sr. (sold privately to Sweet through Ward)
Frank R. Sweet
Ryohei Ishikawa, Christie's Robson Lowe sale, 9/28-29/1993, lot 22, to Hackmey
Joseph Hackmey (collection sold privately to William H. Gross, 2010)
Pencil notes "2/25 3750.00" and "7/69 100,000.00" in different writing refer to past transaction dates and prices
CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES
USPCS census no. 7177 https://www.uspcs.org/resource-center/censuses/1847-cover-census/
Stanley B. Ashbrook, Special Service, #13, p. 86, photo 39
Gordon Eubanks, Jr., "Covers with Three or More 1847 Stamps," Chronicle 254, fig. 1
Jonathan W. Rose, Classic United States Imperforate Stamps, p. 10
Philip H. Ward, Jr., Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, 1935, Vol. 69, p. 265
Biographical information about John Livingston:
M. H. Hoeflich, "John Livingston & the Business of Law in Nineteenth- Century America," The American Journal of Legal History, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Oct., 2000), pp. 347-368 [accessed through www.jstor.org]
The Philatelic Foundation (1993)
Fine; left stamp with a piece out and small tears, two other stamps with small tears, one with vertical crease from file fold
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
50¢ Postage for an Obsolete Odd-Increment Rate
This phenomenal cover bears a strip of ten of the 5¢ 1847, which is the largest known multiple of the 1847 Issue on cover for either denomination. The horizontal strip is the entire bottom row of the left pane of 100 (the sheets of 200 were printed in two panes of 100, left and right). The perimeter sheet margin is at left, and the interpane (gutter) margin is at right. The ninth stamp in each row of the left pane usually has a dot in the "S" of "US," but there was no dot on Position 99L.
The strip was affixed to this large envelope in June 1851 and mailed by John Livingston, a prominent New York attorney and legal publisher, to a circuit court in Illinois. The depositions he enclosed were heavy, and the distance was over 300 miles, so a multiple of the 10¢ rate was required. The 50¢ postage was intended to pay the five-times rate for a letter weighing between 2 and 2.5 ounces. However, by June 1851 the odd weight increments had been eliminated, so this should have been prepaid 60¢. The New York post office marked the cover 10¢ underpaid with the blue manuscript "10" below the postmark date, but the "PAID" handstamp indicates that the 10¢ was either paid in cash (or charge) or disregarded.
The reason for the elimination of the odd rate increments lies in the postal treaty made between the U.S. and Great Britain. The Act of 1845 established the 5¢ under-300 and 10¢ over-300 miles rates that became the basis of the 1847 first general issue. The rates were based on half-ounce weight increments until March 15, 1849, after the postal treaty between the U.S. and Great Britain went into effect one month earlier. At that point, the odd rate increments over one ounce had to be eliminated in the U.S., because Great Britain charged one rate per ounce over the first ounce. To align the U.S. and British rates, the half-ounce and one-ounce increments were kept, but the U.S. half-ounce incremental rates over one ounce were eliminated. Starting March 15, 1849, the rates are shown at below:
This magnificent cover can be traced back to the collection formed by Ernest R. Ackerman, who is reported to have bought the cover from the William L. Stevenson collection. From Ackerman the cover passed to Henry C. Gibson, Sr., and Frank R. Sweet in private transactions. It appeared at auction in the 1993 Christie's sale of the Ishikawa collection, where it was sold to Joseph Hackmey. In 2010 Mr. Gross acquired the entire Hackmey collection in a private transaction.
|Weight (oz)||5¢ under-300 miles||10¢ over-300 miles|
|Up to 0.5||5¢||10¢|
5¢ Red Brown (1), large margins to full, tied by perfect strike of red "Burlington Vt. 5 18 Dec." integral-rate circular datestamp on blue folded letter to Staatsburg, New York, letter flaps have been well sealed so year is undetermined, Extremely Fine, a choice stamp on an immaculate cover with a perfect cancel, from our 1972 Rarities of the World sale, ex Dr. LeBow and Hackmey, with 1981 P.F. certificate
5¢ Red Brown (1), beautiful rich First Printing shade and impression, huge margins to clear at left and slightly in at top, red 7-bar grid precancel at upper left corner, tied by blue grid cancel, matching "Wheeling Va. Feb. 1"(1848) circular datestamp on folded cover to Huntington & Brooks, Cincinnati, Ohio
Very Fine; part of one back panel missing, splits along folds and slightly toned.
USPCS census no. 14210 (date shown as 2/8/1848).
Ex Rep. Ernest R. Ackerman (sold privately through Perry); Wharton Sinkler, Eugene Klein sale, 3/8/1940, lot 47; and John R. Boker, Jr. (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross, 1994).
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
The Wheeling Red Grid Precancellation
The post office in Wheeling, Virginia (later West Virginia), received its first supply of 1847 stamps on August 8, 1847--1,200 5¢ and 400 10¢--and soon after applied a red 7-bar grid to the center of blocks of four before or at the time the stamps were sold. We do not know if the red grids were struck on all 25 blocks in a pane of 100 stamps, or if they were applied to smaller units, but all of the known examples have the red grid in one corner of the stamp (see image at left).
Since most of the recorded examples with the red grid are additionally cancelled, some experts have been reluctant to define them as precancellations, which are usually not cancelled again. However, one of the recorded 5¢ covers has a precancelled stamp without any other cancel (number 1 below), and a piece with a 5¢ has the stamp tied by the Wheeling November 6 (1847) circular datestamp, without any other cancel (Siegel Sale 203, lot 123). Whether the grid was applied as a control mark, as some have suggested, or for reasons that qualify it as a precancel, is a technical point for specialists to debate. Everyone agrees that the Wheeling grid is unique in the manner in which it was applied to the 1847 Issue.
There are seven recorded covers with the Wheeling grid precancel, including three 5¢ and four 10¢ covers. They are listed at bottom (bold entries are offered in this sale):
The USPCS census no. 14211 is a duplicate of number 3 on the above list with an incorrect date of 2/27/1848.
Numbers 4 and 7, the 10¢ covers to Hallowell, were found together and first appeared at auction in Franklin Stamp Co. Sale 34, 6/25/1920, as lots 14 and 15.
The 10¢ cover to Owen & Hurlbut offered here was part of a correspondence discovered in the 1930s and reported to have been sold through Percy Doane. On the occasions this cover has been offered, it has been described as the finest known. Since two of the 10¢ covers have stamps with creases (numbers 4 and 6), and the third has a manuscript cancel (number 7), it is more than a matter of opinion that the 10¢ cover in the Gross collection is the finest of the four known. It has graced the collections formed by Stephen D. Brown, Karl Burroughs, Creighton C. Hart and John R. Boker, Jr.
|Den.||Corner||Date||To Name/City/State||Census no.|
|1||5¢||UR||10/1/1847||Hannah, Kanawah CH, VA||14208|
|2||5¢||UL||1/22/1848||Beatty, Hagerstown MD||14209|
|5||10¢||UL||11/5/1847||Hurlbut, S. Lee, MA||14218|
5¢ Red Brown (1), large margins to clear at right and touched at top left, tied by sharp strike of red Scarab fancy cancel, matching "St. Johnsbury Vt. Jun. 2" (1849) circular datestamp on blue folded letter to Montpelier, Vermont, manuscript forwarding request at bottom, bright and fresh, Very Fine and choice example of the famous St. Johnsbury Scarab fancy cancel, the USPCS census lists only seven 5¢ covers with this distinctive cancel, ex Craveri and Hackmey, with 1999 P.F. certificate
5¢ Red Brown (1), ample margins all around, tied by bold strike of red Herringbone fancy cancel, matching "Binghamton N.Y. Oct. 5" circular datestamp on envelope to Cherry Valley, New York, Roseboom correspondence, fresh and Very Fine stamp, a beautiful cover and strike of this fancy cancel, ex Wolcott, Sweet, Rust (1987 Rarities of the World sale) and Boker, exhibited at The Collectors Club of New York 1940 Centenary exhibition (by Sweet), signed Ashbrook