VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE EXAMPLE OF THE NEW YORK "PAID" OVAL HANDSTAMP IN COMBINATION WITH THE ST. JOSEPH RUNNING PONY OVAL. ONE OF THE FEW RECORDED PONY COVERS SUBJECT TO THE 3-CENT UNDER-3,000 MILES UNITED STATES POSTAGE RATE.
There are several interesting features to this cover. First, westbound Pony covers are generally rarer than eastbound, and only a few are known with the oval "Paid" handstamp applied at the company's New York office. Second, according to Nathan-Boggs (p. 21), the U.S. 3c under-3,000 miles rate was used only on westbound letters beginning in early September 1860, evidently phasing out in 1861. The authors speculate that the lower rate was justifiable because some westbound letters were carried privately in a pouch to St. Joseph, where they technically "entered" the mails (the start of the Pony trip being considered the mail route). There is no documentary evidence supporting this supposition, other than the covers themselves. A third unusual feature of this cover is the date change in the St. Joseph oval. Close examination reveals that the "SEP" month slug was used in the oval and was over-struck by "OCT" in a separate operation. October 4, 1860, is the correct date. In September 1860, the St. Joseph Running Pony oval was struck in carmine, with trips departing on September 6 and 13.
Ex Caspary. With 1996 P.F. certificate.
VERY FINE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE ST. JOSEPH "RUNNING PONY" COVER FREE FRANKED BY THE MOST COLORFUL OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE PONY EXPRESS.
The Pony Express began its inaugural trip on April 3, 1860, under the ownership of the Central Overland and Pike's Peak Express Company. The three founders were William H. Russell, Alexander Majors and William B. Waddell. The Pony Express was absorbed by Wells, Fargo & Co. in April 1861 after failing to secure a government contract at the beginning of the Civil War due to a variety of circumstances, including Russell's often reckless behavior.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXTREMELY RARE EXAMPLE OF THE PONY EXPRESS STAMP CANCELLED AT SACRAMENTO.
With 1963 P.F. certificate (prior to restoration)
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN ATTRACTIVE AND RARE PONY EXPRESS COVER.
Ex Barkhausen. With 1997 P.S.E. certificate