Sale 862 — The D.K. Collection of U.S. Carriers & Locals
Sale Date — Saturday, 31 May, 2003
Category — Carrier Departments (New York N.Y.)
AN HISTORICALLY SIGNIFICANT COVER IN EXTREMELY FINE CONDITION. THIS IS THE ORIGINAL PRINTED ADVERTISEMENT FOR GREIG'S CITY DESPATCH POST, BEARING THE FIRST STAMP ISSUED IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE. ONLY FOUR SUCH STAMPED CIRCULARS RECORDED, OF WHICH THREE WERE POSTMARKED DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF OPERATION.
There are four recorded examples of the City Despatch Post stamp on a complete advertising circular, as follows: 1) Feb. 1 (9 O'Clock) and Feb. 25 (9 O'Clock) datestamps, to Matthias Clark, ex Caspary, Middendorf; 2) Feb. 3 (blank time) datestamp, to Stephen Hale, ex Brown, Matthies, Siegel 1997 Rarities sale, lot 266 (realized $29,000); 3) Feb. 3 (blank time) datestamp changed in manuscript to either "4" or "14", to James Gallatin, notation "In operation", ex Hollowbush, Middendorf, the cover offered here; and 4) Feb. 24 (1 O'Clock) datestamp, to Philip Howe with letter from Greig, ex Kapiloff, Siegel 1995 Rarities sale, lot 341 (realized $8,000).
This folded notice is postmarked on February 3rd, the third day of issue, but the date change indicates it was held for the following day. The absence of a time designation in the datestamp on this notice is atypical of Greig's usual diligence -- letters delivered to patrons were always time-stamped, sometimes with different hours to show attempted delivery. It is generally accepted that these advertising notices were prepared and distributed by Grieg's office during the first week, commencing February 1, 1842. The re-dated February 1st and February 3rd notices were probably prepared at the earlier date and delivered at the later date.
Ex Hollowbush and Middendorf. Accompanied by single and pair of No. 40L1, each with original gum and Extremely Fine.
EXTREMELY FINE APPEARING STAMP ON FRESH COVER. ONE OF THE MOST ATTRACTIVE OF THE FIFTEEN RECORDED COVERS WITH GREIG'S 3-CENT STAMP USED FOR UNITED STATES CITY DESPATCH POST CARRIER SERVICE.
In August 1842 the privately-owned City Despatch Post was bought out and re-established as the carrier department of the New York City post office. Stamps sold by Greig for the City Despatch Post remained valid for prepayment of carrier fees and were used months after the buyout. In the period before U.S. City Despatch Post stamps were issued, the use of Greig's stamps has provisional status among collectors. By November 1842, the mailing date of this cover, Greig's stamps in public hands were accepted concurrently with the government carrier issues (6LB3 and 6LB5, primarily). The carrier stamp, 6LB1, can be distinguished from 40L1 only when cancelled with the "U.S."-designated cancel or postmark. Such examples are very rare, with fifteen covers contained in our records, as well as a dozen or so off-cover stamps.
Ex Hall. With 2001 P.F. certificate
THE FINEST OF THREE RECORDED COVERS BEARING THE WORLD'S FIRST GOVERNMENT-ISSUED OVERPRINTED STAMP. A COVER OF TREMENDOUS PHILATELIC SIGNIFICANCE AND APPEAL.
The world's first government-issued, overprinted stamp is the 2c on 3c U.S. City Despatch Post carrier issue, Scott 6LB7. It was overprinted in late 1845 or early 1846 to meet the need for a 2c stamp to prepay the carrier fee after the drop-letter rate was modified on July 1, 1845. Only four stamps are recorded, including three genuinely used on covers. The cover offered here is regarded as the finest of the three.
To understand why it was necessary to revalue U.S. City Despatch Post stamps from 3c to 2c, it is helpful to look at the effects of the July 1, 1845, postal reform (as per the Act of March 3, 1845). As is well-known to most U.S. stamp collectors, the July 1st reforms created the simplified 5c and 10c postage rates and laid the foundation for adhesive stamps to be used in this country. The postmasters' provisionals appeared first, followed in 1847 by the first General Issue (Scott 1 and 2). However, at the same time inter-city rates were lowered, Congress raised the drop-letter rate from 1c to 2c. A drop letter is one brought to a post office that is not transmitted to another post office. Congress raised the drop-letter rate out of fear that the new postage structure would cause a severe decline in postal revenues. By raising the intra-city rate, Congress hoped to offset some of the anticipated losses.
The consequences of this legislation for the U.S. City Despatch Post were immediate and dire. Prior to July 1, 1845, a drop letter could be taken by the carrier to or from the post office for 3c, which included 2c for the carrier department and 1c for the post office (drop postage). Beginning July 1, an extra cent was required for the drop postage, making the total amount equal to 4c. Although other classes of mail were unaffected by the drop-rate increase (including carrier letters that by-passed the main post office), the U.S. City Despatch found itself at a severe disadvantage competing with local posts, who generally charged 2c for a city letter. In the post-July 1 period, not only did Boyd flourish, but many smaller local posts entered the scene, hoping to capture a share of the market for intra-city letter delivery. By November 1846, the U.S. City Despatch Post was closed. Government carrier service would not appear again in New York City until 1849 under Robert Roberts' supervision.
The three recorded 6LB7 covers were mailed during the first eight months of the 2c drop-rate period. The covers are listed chronologically as follows: 1) Jan. 9, 1846 (red "New York 2 cts"), stamp cut in and tied by filing crease, addressee's name crossed out, no carrier markings, ex Ferrary, Hind, Waterhouse and Middendorf; 2) Feb. 14, 1846 (red "New-York 2 cts" and red carrier datestamp), stamp tied by filing crease, to Rev. R. S. Cook, Tract House, ex Hunter, Caspary, Boker and Golden, the cover offered here; and 3) Mar. 2, 1846 (red carrier datestamp), stamp originally affixed on back over folds and torn in half upon opening, to W. A. Sesley, 213 Fulton St., no other markings, ex Caspary. In addition to the three stamps on covers, there is a stamp off cover, previously affixed to a cover dated Oct. 29 (1845 or 1846), but which did not originate.
The cover offered in this sale is the finest of the three known in terms of condition. It is also more desirable because the cover bears the U.S. City Despatch Post datestamp (evidence of carrier delivery) and the New York post office "2 cts" integral drop-rate datestamp -- neither of the other two covers has both markings. The cover has been known to philately since before 1900 and is described in the Luff book (p. 230). It was probably discovered by the Burger Brothers (signed "Genuine. C. A. Burger") and sold to F. W. Hunter, a 19th century collector.
The rarity of the 2c on 3c stamp suggests that it was used on a very limited basis, during a period of decline for the U.S. City Despatch Post. By overlaying the "2" overprint on the "2" in the drop-rate datestamp, we have determined that they are identical in size and shape. The overprint was probably made from a modified integral-rate marker and struck by hand on each stamp.
Ex Hunter (sold by Scott Stamp & Coin Co., Jan. 1900), Caspary, Boker and Golden. With 1999 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $55,000.00.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. THE ONLY RECORDED MULTIPLE IN THIS CONFIGURATION.
This pair indicates one of two possibilities: that the U.S. Mail stamps were printed with a work-and-turn method (multiple impressions on one sheet) or that the typographic plate had one or positions sideways in relation to the other.
Ex Caspary, Boker and Golden. With 2000 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $2,250.00.