EXTREMELY FINE. A COLORFUL AND EXCEEDINGLY RARE COMBINATION OF THE 5-CENT 1847 ISSUE AND SWARTS' CITY DISPATCH STAMP ON GREEN GLAZED PAPER. ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL 1847 ISSUE AND LOCAL POST COMBINATION COVERS WE HAVE EVER ENCOUNTERED.
Aaron Swarts was employed by the Post Office Department at Chatham Square in 1845 and 1846. On January 5, 1847, the Chatham Square branch was discontinued, leaving area residents and businesses without a convenient nearby post office. Swarts saw his opportunity and on January 15 announced the opening of his local post at 6 Chatham Square, advertising it as the Branch Post Office, although there was no official connection at all to the government post office. Swarts' City Dispatch Post was one of the most successful of the many private posts in New York City in the 1840's and 1850's. (source: Perry, The Chatham Square Post Office).
No later than January 15, 1849, Swarts bought another major local post operated by John Bouton. The exact date of the buyout is unknown, but there is one cover dated January 15, 1849, with Swarts' "Paid" cancel applied to Bouton's stamp (ex Hall, Siegel Sale 830, lot 762), followed by another dated January 29, 1849, with the "Swarts" overprint on Bouton's stamp (Hall sale, lot 763). Therefore, the change in ownership certainly occurred days, if not weeks, prior to January 15, 1849.
After using up the Swarts-overprinted Bouton stamps between January and April 1849, Swarts adopted the Zachary Taylor "Rough and Ready" design used by Bouton, which was originally inspired by Taylor's successful 1848 presidential campaign. The early impressions from Swarts' first lithographic stone (Stone 1) are very sharp, as this example demonstrates. Later Stone 1 printings are less clear, and Stone 2 printings can be differentiated from Stone 1 by the presence of the "horn" (line of color) to the left of Taylor's forehead. The first printing was made from Stone 1 in Black on Green surface-coated paper (136L1) and in Black on Bluish Gray paper without surface coating (136L7). Covers with either 136L1 or 136L7 are scarce, and only some of them can be reliably year-dated (in particular, covers from the Pierpont Mallory & Co. correspondence). The early Bluish Gray 136L7 covers are clustered between July 23 and August 30, 1849. One Green 136L1 is known tied on a folded letter dated May 16 (ex Hall, Siegel Sale 830, lot 766), but there is no year date; it is more likely 1849 than 1850, based on the stamp's sharp early impression and Swarts markings. Three Green 136L1 and 5c 1847 combination covers are dated June 8 (1849 folded letter), June 12 (1849 folded letter) and again on June 12 (the cover offered here, without year-dated content). These are followed by a September 25, 1849, year-dated letter with 136L1 and a few later or undated usages. It is likely that the earliest printing from Stone 1 was made on Green surface-coated paper, represented by the stamps on the May/June 1849 covers.
Two of the 136L1 and 1847 combination covers are addressed to Sarah Platt in New London, Connecticut. Ashbrook, in his Special Service, claimed that the June 8 cover to Platt had stamps that did not originate, but he was unaware of the June 12 cover to Platt (ex Baker). All three of the 136L1 and 1847 combination covers were written up by Jerome S. Wagshal (Chronicle No. 169, February 1996), who corrected the misidentification of the Swarts stamps (accurately identifying them as 136L1, Stone 1) and raised doubt about Ashbrook's analysis.
Ex Emerson (Kelleher sale, Oct. 19, 1937, realized $345) and Brigham.