10¢ Black, Diagonal Half Used as 5¢ (2a), upper right diagonal half, large margins at top and right, tied across the cut by bold dark grayish blue grid cancel with matching double-struck "Mineral Point W.T. 27 May" (1851) circular datestamp and "PAID" straightline handstamp on folded letter to the postmaster of Hampton, Rock Island County, Illinois, the letter asks the postmaster to forward any letters he may be holding for Isaac Smith (himself) and two other names, the Mineral Point datestamp still has the "W.T." territorial initials, but Wisconsin became a state three years earlier on May 29, 1848
Extremely Fine--an unusually choice 10¢ 1847 bisect on cover from Wisconsin.
The USPCS census records three bisects used from Mineral Point, Wisconsin, which did receive 5¢ stamps, but apparently ran short during a brief period. This cover is easily the finest of the three--one of the others is a cover front only.
This cover was sold in a Hugh C. Barr sale on 12/19-20/1941 and then in an Irwin Heiman sale 11/21-22/1975, where acquired by Haas. Ex Marc Haas, Duane B. Garrett and John R. Boker, Jr. With 1986 P.F. certificate.
10¢ Black, Diagonal Half Used as 5¢ (2a), matching upper right and lower left halves of the same stamp on separate envelopes, addressed to Mrs. George Evans at Mrs. Hollister's in Brattleboro, Vermont, bisects have ample to large margins except lower left is just in at bottom, well-tied across the cuts by orange-red grid cancels (struck four times on lower left bisect), upper right with matching "Gardiner Me. Apr. 28" (1851) circular datestamp, and lower left with "Gardiner Me. May 2" (1851) circular datestamp, letter from Senator George Evans accompanies May 2 cover
William L. Moody III, H. R. Harmer sale, 10/23-25/1950, both covers together as lot 135A, to "ETW"
J. David Baker, Siegel Auction Galleries, 4/4/1978, Sale 526, lots 63-64
Siegel Auction Galleries, 1996 Rarities of the World, 5/21/1996, Sale 777, lot 37, to William H. Gross
CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES
USPCS census nos. 1984 and 1985 https://www.uspcs.org/resource-center/censuses/1847-cover-census/
Hugh J. and J. David Baker, Bakers' U.S. Classics, p. 174
J. David Baker, "Additional 1847 Bisects," Chronicle 87, p. 8, with an account of original find by Ezra D. Cole
Susan M. McDonald, "The Gardiner, Maine, Bisect Puzzle," Chronicle 64, pp. 134-140
-- "Gardiner, Maine, Revisited," Chronicle 87, pp. 144-145
-- "Gardiner, Maine, Addenda," Chronicle 121, pp. 32-33
The Philatelic Foundation (1978)
Very Fine covers; upper right bisect used April 28 has trivial small sealed tear at top; May 2 envelope with erased pencil docketing
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
The Gardiner, Maine, 1847 Bisects
In April and May 1851, a former U.S. senator from Maine, George Evans, wrote a series of letters to his wife in Brattleboro, Vermont. The 54-year-old distinguished politician, whom John Quincy Adams described as "one of the ablest men and most eloquent orators in Congress," paid the 5¢ postage with diagonal halves of the 10¢ stamps on hand from the issue of 1847. Perhaps his knowledge of current legislative acts made him aware that the recently passed Act of March 3, 1851, would reduce postage rates, and his 10¢ stamps would not fit the new 3¢ domestic rate, starting July 1. The post office in Gardiner, Maine, did not object to the senator's thrifty half-stamps, and each letter traveled 225 miles to Brattleboro, where the postmaster was equally accommodating.
About 80 years later, the Evans 1847 bisect covers were bought by a stamp dealer, H. A. Robinette. Details of his fortuitous purchase were provided by Ezra D. Cole in a Chronicle article published by J. David Baker in 1968:
In the 1930s [Ezra Cole] rented a farm in West Brattleboro, Vermont... While there Ezra visited his friend Dana Stafford [who] invited him to attend several meetings of the Brattleboro Stamp Club. At one of them, who should appear but H. A. Robinette, the well-known Washington, D.C., dealer... Before [Robinette] left Vermont, he visited Ezra at his farm and showed him a package of covers, a package of twenty-eight 10¢ 1847 bisects postmarked Gardiner, Maine, addressed to Mrs. George Evans. As Ezra recalls, six or seven were damaged, torn or had parts of the bisected stamp missing, and he believes they were destroyed as they talked about destroying them. Ezra bought three matching pairs, six bisected covers for $600 a pair, and two other bisected covers for $250 each...
Working with the USPCS 1847 census, we have verified 12 Gardiner, Maine, 10¢ bisect covers. Four have bisects that cannot be matched. Eight covers have bisects from four stamps. The dates and census numbers are:
1) 4/28 and 5/2 (#1984/1986), red grids, lot 40
2) 5/12 and 5/14 (#989/1990), blue grids
3) 5/19 and 5/20 (#1991/1992), blue grids
4) 5/23 and 5/26 (#1993/1994), blue grids, Hirzel
Since one set of pairs is in the Hirzel collection at the Museum of Communications in Switzerland, only three are available to collectors. In addition to these, there is a pair of matching diagonal bisects on covers from the Stilphin correspondence, and a pair of vertical bisects sold in the Gross U.S. Treasures sale.
10¢ Black, Diagonal Half Used as 5¢ (2a), bottom right diagonal half, large margins other two sides, tied by large manuscript "X" cancel with blue "Lake Champlain S.B. Nov. 2" (ca. 1849) route agent's circular datestamp (Ryterband Type 2A, used by route agent Turner at this time), matching "PAID" and "5" handstamps on undated folded cover to New York City
Very Fine; some slight negligible toning.
This is an extremely rare use of a 10¢ 1847 bisect with a route agent's marking, and it is the only recorded example with the Lake Champlain Steamboat datestamp. The USPCS census lists only two 1847 covers with the Lake Champlain Steamboat circular datestamp--the other bearing a full 10¢ stamp, datelined Montreal in June 1850 (Sale 1041, lot 235). Among all route agent handstamped 1847 covers, the census lists only a handful of others with a 10¢ bisect, including railroad uses.
Pencil note indicating this was bought from Warren H. Colson in April 1926. Ex Dr. Ralph Poriss, Marc Haas, Guido Craveri, Joseph Hackmey, and from our 1992 Rarities of the World sale. Illustrated in The United States 1847 Issue: A Cover Census (p. 808). With 1971 P.F. Certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE. A SUPERB DIAGONAL BISECT OF THE 10-CENT 1847 ISSUE, USED TO PAY THE 5-CENT UNDER-300 MILES RATE JUST A FEW WEEKS PRIOR TO DEMONETIZATION OF THE 1847 ISSUE.
Effective July 1, 1851, the basic letter rate was reduced to 3c for domestic letters sent up to 3,000 miles. New stamps were issued to accommodate the new rates, and the old stamps were demonetized and invalid for postage after June 30, 1851. This letter was sent June 5, 1851, less than a month prior to demonetization.
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. A GORGEOUS EXAMPLE OF A DIAGONAL BISECT OF THE 10-CENT 1847 ISSUE FROM THE EVANS CORRESPONDENCE.
This bisect comes from the correspondence written by former U.S. Senator from Maine, George Evans, to his wife. The Evans correspondence was the subject of two articles by the late Susan M. McDonald (Chronicle Nov. 1969, Feb. 1984), who conjectured that Senator Evans was writing to his wife while she stayed at one of the medical spas existing in Brattleboro at the time. According to our records, the Evans correspondence yielded 16 bisects, all diagonal. They were all used between April 26 and May 26 of 1851. Eight are matched halves from four stamps.
Ex Sampson and Boker. With 1949 A.P.S. and 1964 P.F. certificates.
EXTREMELY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED BISECT OF THE 10-CENT 1847 ISSUE USED FROM BENNINGTON, VERMONT. POSTMASTERS IN VERMONT HAD A COMMON TENDENCY TO APPLY POSTMARKS AND CANCELLATIONS VERY CAREFULLY, AS THIS SUPERB BISECT COVER DEMONSTRATES.
Illustrated in an article titled The United States 1847 Issue by Dr. Carroll Chase in The Philatelic Gazette, Vol. 6 of 1916, p. 258, fig. 36. Ex Ackerman, Gibson, Dale-Lichtenstein and Boker.
VERY FINE. A RARE DIAGONAL BISECT OF THE 10-CENT 1847 ISSUE, USED TO PAY THE 5-CENT UNDER-300 MILES RATE JUST A FEW WEEKS PRIOR TO DEMONETIZATION OF THE 1847 ISSUE.
Effective July 1, 1851, the basic letter rate was reduced to 3c for domestic letters sent up to 3,000 miles. New stamps were issued to accommodate the new rates, and the old stamps were demonetized and invalid for postage after June 30, 1851. This letter was sent June 13, 1851, just prior to demonetization, and one day after the bisect offered in the following lot.
Unlisted in Alexander census.
EXTREMELY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL BISECTED USE OF THE 10-CENT 1847 ISSUE, TIED ACROSS THE BISECT CUT BY THE BLUE NUMERAL "5" HANDSTAMP OF CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE.
The fascinating history of the discovery of the Stilphin correspondence is detailed in a six-page article by Susan M. McDonald (Chronicle 115). An elderly lady in Syracuse N.Y., the last of her family, decided to destroy her family's correspondence, which was in several trunks in her attic. When all but one trunkful was destroyed, she stopped to rest and noticed an advertisement to buy old stamps in a magazine. She eventually sold the contents of the trunk to a collector, Wallace MacLaren, who had placed the ad. The correspondence included several stampless and 1851 Issue covers, and also seven 5c 1847 covers and five 10c bisects. She almost destroyed the bisects, fearing the torn stamps were valueless. She later discovered another four bisects, and three others have subsequently been found, for a total of twelve from the Stilphin correspondence. Most were sent to Mary Stilphin by her future husband, Rev. John B. Foote.
Ex Alvin Good and Dr. Graves. 1980 P.F. certificate no. 87064 no longer accompanies. Signed Ashbrook. Accompanied by Chronicle article. Scott Retail $13,000.00
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A SCARCE USE OF THE 10-CENT 1847 BISECT ON A RAILROAD COVER.
Only two are reported in the Alexander census used on this railroad. With 2005 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE APPEARING BISECT USAGE OF THE 10-CENT 1847 ISSUE.
This cover and one used from Concord N.H. and addressed to the same recipient originally formed an entire stamp, and were the subject of an article in the Chronicle in February 1983. The writer of both covers was Rev. J. B. Foote.