FRESH AND VERY FINE. ONE OF THREE RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE NASHVILLE CIRCULAR "PAID 5" PROVISIONAL HANDSTAMP ON A THRU-THE-LINES EXPRESS COVER. THIS COVER BEARS THE RARER NASHVILLE OFFICE MARKING.
Fewer than a dozen North-to-South covers carried by American Letter Express Co. are known, and those put into the mails at Nashville usually have the "Paid" straightline in combination with "5" or "10" rate handstamps. This and the previous lot represent two of the three covers known to us with the provisional markings (the third is illustrated in Edward Brooks American Letter Express Company). It is also an extremely rare example of the American Letter Express Co. Nashville office datestamp.
VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE AMERICAN LETTER EXPRESS USAGE - THE ONLY FORWARDED COVER SHOWING BOTH THE 5-CENT AND 10-CENT CONFEDERATE RATES.
The original letter is enclosed. Datelined "Harrisburg, Aug. 12th, 1861" (presumably in Pennsylvania), it is a brief but fascinating inquiry, "Please let me know if you think the money I have invested in Mobile is safe? Will interest money be paid? There is a colored man in Mobile, belonging to Mr. William Redwood - could you manage to find out if Mr. Redwood would sell him & on what terms, without letting him know by whose promptings you made the enquiry? The man's name is Jim Bragg, his wife belonged to me, & is now with me. I see no immediate prospects for the close of this unhappy war. I fear both parties must fight it out, until one or other is compelled to succumb." This pragmatic businessman was rightfully concerned about the security of his Southern investment, was attempting to purchase the freedom of a slave and reunite him with his wife, and correctly predicted the course of the war.
Six days after this cover and letter entered the mails in Nashville, the Federal order closing down the express operations went into effect, and on August 30th the messenger for American Letter Express Co. was arrested upon arrival in Louisville. Illustrated in Shenfield (p. 26). Ex Muzzy
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN EARLY THRU-THE-LINES EXPRESS USAGE AND EXTRAORDINARY MULTIPLE-RATE FRANKING.
Ex Seybold. With 1986 P.F. certificate
AN IMPORTANT THRU-THE-LINES EXPRESS USAGE, SHOWING THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF THE HARNDEN'S LABEL FROM ITS OFFICE AT AMERICUS, GEORGIA
The cover has been torn in half down the center and thru the 3c pair. In addition, much of the bottom stamp of the 3c pair was torn off, apparently to reveal the "10" rate handstamp. For the purpose of improving its appearance, archival tape has been used to seal the tear, and the back of the cover bearing the Harndens label has been folded up for display. Considering that this extraordinary express cover is the only recorded example of its kind, collectors are advised to overlook the condition factors.
Adams Express Company retained the Harnden name at certain offices in Georgia, because of the Harnden firm's reputation there. The Harnden oval handstamps used at Macon and Savannah are very rare. This cover was evidently sent by Adams (Harnden) messenger from Americus, Georgia, to the office at Louisville. As required by regulations, Confederate postage was prepaid, but in this unusual instance the Confederate post office at the originating point applied its town marking. The Adams office at Louisville correctly applied new stamps - it is not clear why the letter was re-rated 6c rather than 3c - and they put it into the regular Federal mails for New York City.
EXTREMELY FINE AND HIGHLY EXHIBITABLE. A SCARCE ELLSWORTH PATRIOTIC DESIGN AND PROBABLY THE ONLY EXTANT EXAMPLE CARRIED BY ADAMS EXPRESS.
Federal troops surrounding Washington D.C. at the beginning of the war relied on Adams for transmission of mail and valuables. This cover was carried by Adams to New York City and put into the mails for New Hampshire.