AN EXTREMELY FINE EXAMPLE OF THIS RARITY - ONE OF THE WORLD'S EARLIEST PROVISIONAL OVERPRINTS
Very few copies known in this sound condition
ONE OF THE FEW KNOWN EXAMPLES OF THIS RARITY WITH ORIGINAL GUM
Ex Ostheimer. With 1965 P.F. certificate (does not note crease)
AN EXTREMELY FINE GEM IN THE FINEST ATTAINABLE USED CONDITION
THE ONLY RECORDED USE OF THE 5-CENT PROVISIONAL SURCHARGE ON A COVER TO PERSIA AND PROBABLY THE LAST OF THE POGUE-FISKE CORRESPONDENCE, RECEIVED BY FIDELIA FISKE SHORTLY BEFORE HER RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES
This remarkable letter is one of seventeen recorded covers bearing the rare 5c on 13c Kamehameha III provisional stamp (see Appendix II), issued between January and August 1857 to compensate for a shortage of 5c Kamehameha III stamps throughout the islands. Only five of the sixteen covers are franked with the United States 10c 1855 Issue, and only this 5c provisional cover is addressed to Persia.
The unusual feature of this cover, apart from its destination, is the method in which prepayment of the ship captain's fee was handled. Other covers from this period are franked with 12c United States postage, sufficient in value to cover the 2c fee. On this cover the Hawaiian stamp and U.S. 10c stamp were affixed, presumably at Lahaina, and the letter was forwarded to Honolulu. The small red pencil "2" is identical in style and appearance to rate notations found on other covers and almost certainly was applied in Hawaii, presumably at the Lahaina office, to indicate 2c prepayment. The unsolved mystery of this cover is the origin of the red "PAID" handstamp and large magenta "2". The shade and texture of the orange-red ink are identical to the Honolulu datestamp, but this type of "Paid" marking is not known to have been used there. On the other hand, it is typical of San Francisco "Paid" handstamps, but these were usually applied to incoming prepaid letters during the 1851-55 period and no later than May 1856. A search of covers from Hawaii through San Francisco, dated after May 1856, turned up no other example of this style of marking, which appears to have been replaced by a larger "PAID 12" handstamp in June 1856. Logically, it makes sense that the "Paid" and "2" markings would have been applied in Honolulu to indicate to the San Francisco post office that the full U.S. rate, including 2c ship captain's fee, had been prepaid in Hawaii under the usual accounting arrangement. Had the letter only been partially prepaid, we would expect to see the "Honolulu*Hawaiian Islands*" datestamp used and other markings to indicate postage was due from the addressee. If we are correct in surmising that the "Paid" marking is of Hawaiian origin, then the San Francisco post office chose not to postmark the letter at all, sending it out on the April 5th eastbound sailing via Panama. Two other 5c provisional covers are recorded with the same date in Honolulu (March 11, 1857), and they undoubtedly traveled east in the mails with this letter.
For a complete background of the Pogue-Fiske correspondence, please refer to the description of lot ##. Fidelia Fiske returne•to the United States in 1858, departing Oroomiah soon after she replied to this letter from her missionary colleague and former Mount Holyoke roommate, Maria Whitney Pogue. In this letter, Mrs. Pogue makes frequent references to other prominent missionaries and an interesting commentary on the evils of indenturing Chinese laborers - so-called "coolies" - calling it "a system somewhat akin to slavery - too much so I think."
The Pogue-Fiske letters were discovered in May 1938 in a sea chest in the basement of a library in Shelburne, Massachusetts (see lots ## and ##). Spencer Anderson, a dealer, dispersed the group to various collectors; this cover is ex Ostheimer. With 1938 A.P.S. certificate signed by Klemann, Bartels and Barrett
AN EXTREMELY FINE COVER IN EVERY RESPECT AND AN ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING EXAMPLE OF THE 5-CENT PROVISIONAL STAMP
Six of the sixteen recorded 5c provisional covers were carried on this trip of the Vaquero, which stopped at Honolulu on its way from Australia and carried two bags of mail when it cleared Honolulu on June 27, 1857. She returned to safe harbor with a broken mast and left again on June 29 with additional mail, arriving in San Francisco on July 16 (Gregory). The Coan correspondence yielded four of the sixteen recorded 5c provisional covers, including two forwarded usages, of which this is the finer (the other may be found in the Caspary sale, lot 50).
Ex Atherton, Honolulu Academy of Arts.