VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN OUTSTANDING AND EXTREMELY RARE FIRST DAY COVER OF THE 1851 3-CENT ORANGE BROWN. THIS IS ONE OF THREE EXAMPLES KNOWN FROM CINCINNATI AND ONE OF ONLY THREE KNOWN WITH CONTENTS REFERENCING THE NEW 1851 ISSUE.
In his census in the 1851 Sesquicentennial book, Wilson Hulme records a total of 43 covers used on July 1, 1851, which is the first day they were valid for postage. First day covers of the 1851 Issue rarely appear at auction.
Ex Roser, Hicks and G.B. Smith. Referenced in Chronicle Nos. 7, 16, 21. Scott value $12,500.00
EXTREMELY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF DE LA RUE'S 1851 GREAT EXHIBITION IMPRINT ENVELOPE USED WITH UNITED STATES POSTAGE -- THIS IS THE WORLD'S FIRST MACHINE-MADE ENVELOPE, AN OBJECT THAT ONLY BECAME UBIQUITOUS WITH THE POSTAL REFORMS INITIATED BY GREAT BRITAIN, WHICH REMOVED THE CHARGE FOR AN EXTRA SHEET OF PAPER.
The world's first machine-made envelopes were manufactured and sold at the Thomas de la Rue stand during the 1851 Great Exhibition in London. The De La Rue firm hosted a large exhibit in the British area, displaying examples of their work, including the crowd-drawing "working envelope folding machine... designed by Warren de la Rue so that it would fold, gum, forward and deliver the envelopes all of which had formerly been carried out by hand" (The Postal History of the Crystal Palace, Maurice H. Bristow). According to information given by De La Rue to the late W. Wilson Hulme II, which is now in the possession of Ken Lawrence, Warren de la Rue had improved an earlier envelope folding machine invented by Edwin Hill, brother of postal reform advocate Sir Rowland Hill.
This particular envelope must have been brought home to the United States by an American fairgoer, then mailed from New York City in December 1851, prepaid with the 3c Orange Brown imperforate stamp from the new issue of July 1851. The addressee was a hymn writer and abolitionist. Bristow estimates that fewer than a half-dozen examples of the imprinted envelope are known. This is the only one with a U.S. stamp.