VERY FINE. ONE OF THE FEW REMAINING INTACT SHEETS OF THE ADAMS & CO. CALIFORNIA EXPRESS STAMP -- INITIALLED BY L. REED, A PARTNER IN THE ADAMS FIRM. A TRULY REMARKABLE EXHIBITION ITEM.
The California branch of the Eastern express company founded by Alvin Adams was established late in 1849, following the discovery of gold that led to the great Gold Rush. Under the direction of Daniel H. Haskell, the Adams firm prospered as an express company and banking house in California. In 1855, in the midst of a national banking crisis, the firm was dissolved, and its express business was taken over by Freeman & Co. Isaiah C. Woods, whose name appears in the minute copyright inscriptions along the sides of the design, left for Australia after the Adams California branch folded. Haskell's portrait appears on the different Adams stamps, which were used to prepay express charges on letters carried by Adams & Co. Their rarity suggests that they were not issued until soon before the firm collapsed (the copyright is dated 1853).