VERY FINE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE BISECTED USE OF THE 3-CENT 1851 ISSUE, PAYING THE ONE-CENT CIRCULAR RATE FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO PHILADELPHIA, WITH THE RARE "VIA NICARAGUA/AHEAD OF THE MAILS" BLUE ITALICIZED HANDSTAMP.
The census of 3c 1851 bisects, published by David Beals in Chronicle 76 and updated by Stanley Piller, contains a total of 16 covers. Of these, one is the strip of four bisects used from Milton, Massachusetts, seven were bisected for use as 1c stamps to pay part of the 10c transcontinental rate, and eight were bisected to pay the 1c circular rate. Of the eight used to pay the 1c circular rate, only two originated on the West Coast. This circular is dated before the Post Office Department instructed postmasters to reject fractions of stamps as payment of postage in September 1853.
Illustrated and described in the Chase 3c book (1942 edition) on pp. 217-218. Illustrated in Letters of Gold (p. 111). Illustrated in Chronicle 40. Ex Chase, Brown, Emerson, Wiltsee, Polland, Ishikawa and Hackmey. With 1975 P.F. certificate.