Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Position L9, three full margins to slightly in at left, tied by clear strike of blue "Pony Express, San Francisco, Sep. 14" (1861) Running Pony oval datestamp with matching "PAID" in oval handstamp, used with 30¢ Orange (38) to pay Prussian Closed Mail rate, tied by "Atchison, Kan. Sep. 27" double-circle datestamp on Civil War patriotic cover depicting three-quarter portrait of George Washington and quote from his Farewell Address--"To the Efficacy and Permanency of Your Union, A Government for the whole is indispensible", no imprint but similar to illustrations and type used by Hutchings & Rosenfield of San Francisco (two other known examples of this design are used from Stockton, California, and Vancouver, Washington Territory).
The cover is addressed to Mr. H. Hauschildt at Elmshorn in Schleswig-Holstein, then under Danish crown rule, with sender's directive "by Hamburg" (18.5 miles south of Elmshorn) and in the same hand on back "Stadt Altona"--Altona was a Danish harbor town on the Elbe river.
The cover was carried on the Pony Express trip departing San Francisco on Saturday, September 14, 1861, and arriving in Atchison, Kansas, on September 27. At this date the western terminus for the Pony relay was at Placerville, and the eastern terminus had been moved from St. Joseph to Atchison, due to Confederate bushwacker attacks on railroad lines near St. Joseph. From Atchison it was sent by railroad to New York for the October 5 sailing of the Hamburg-American line's Saxonia, which off-loaded the mail at Southampton on October 17. Mail for the German-Austrian Postal Union (GAPU) was transported to Aachen for processing. From there the cover was sent north to Hamburg. Since Elmshorn was located in Schleswig-Holstein, then under the Danish monarchy's rule, the cover was turned over to the Royal Danish Postal Agency in Hamburg and transported to Elmshorn. Danish postage was collected from the addressee.
The sequential transit markings follow the route described above: red "N.York Am. Pkt. 7 Paid Oct. 5" (1861) 7¢ credit datestamp dated on the departure day of the HAPAG Saxonia; red framed "AACHEN 19 10/FRANCO" (October 19) transit datestamp and matching framed "FRANCO/PREUSS. RESP. VEREINS/AUSGANGS-GRENZES" handstamp (Paid to the GAPU Border); "HAMBURG 20 10" (October 20) datestamp on back; "KDOPA HAMBURG 20/10" (October 20) Royal Danish Postal Agency in Hamburg double-circle datestamp on back; "HOLST. EISENB. POST SP. BUREAU Z2 20/10". (Holsteinisches Eisenbahn Postspeditions Bureau) Holstein railway datestamp on back; red crayon "4" on front for postage due in Danish rigsbank skilling.
THIS EXTRAORDINARY COVER HAS SEVERAL RARE OR UNIQUE ATTRIBUTES--IT IS:
ONE OF THREE RECORDED CIVIL WAR PATRIOTIC COVERS CARRIED BY PONY EXPRESS, TWO OF WHICH ARE IN PRIVATE HANDS
ONE OF SIX PONY EXPRESS COVERS TO DESTINATIONS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, AND OF THOSE SIX, IT IS THE ONLY COVER TO DENMARK OR GERMANY, THE ONLY PATRIOTIC COVER, AND ONE OF FOUR WITH A PONY EXPRESS STAMP
THE ONLY PONY EXPRESS COVER WITH A 30-CENT POSTAGE STAMP.
The overall condition of the cover is excellent. We note that the 30¢ stamp has a few short or toned perfs, there are two vertical creases at center of cover clear of stamps, an edge tear above the "Paid" handstamp is sealed, and the cover has been lightly cleaned.
FKW Census E160. Illustrated in Ashbrook, The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851-1857, Vol. II (page 294), Brookman, The United States Postage Stamps of the 19th Century (page 259), Nienken, The United States Ten Cent Stamps of 1855-1859 (page 238), Coburn, Letters of Gold (page 77), AMERIPEX '86 color feature in Chronicle 130, Frajola-Kramer-Walske, The Pony Express: A Postal History (page 78), and Walske-Frajola, Mails of the Westward Expansion, 1803 to 1861 (page 231).
Ex Lawrence L. Shenfield, Katherine Matthies (exhibited at SIPEX 1966; Siegel 1979 Rarities of the World, Sale 544, lot 251, to Paliafito), Robert Paliafito (sold privately to Ishikawa) and Ryohei Ishikawa (Christie's Robson Lowe sale, Sep. 28-29, 1993, lot 355, to George Kramer).