Sale 862 — The D.K. Collection of U.S. Carriers & Locals
Sale Date — Saturday, 31 May, 2003
Category — Carrier Departments (Philadelphia Pa.)
VERY FINE. ONE OF 12-14 RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE NORTHERN LIBERTIES NEWS ROOMS MARKING, WHICH WAS APPLIED TO MAIL HANDLED BY THE SUB POST OFFICE OPERATED BY ANDREW McMAKIN.
Prior to 1854, the Northern Liberties area (north of Vine Street) was outside Philadelphia's city limits. Carriers were used to transport mail between outlying areas and the main post office in Philadelphia. The term Sub Post Office refers to a location where letters could be deposited for delivery to the main post office. The Northern Liberties News Rooms, which advertised its services as early as 1833, established a Sub Post Office in 1835. The proprietor at this time was Andrew McMakin. A news item appearing in the October 10, 1835, edition of the Philadelphia Saturday Courier states: "The enterprising, attentive and indefatigable proprietor of that popular establishment, the Northern Liberties Free Admission News Room, has found the business of his Sub Post Office so much on the increase, as to induce him to prepare a new and appropriate stamp, which we perceive is now imprinted upon all letters deposited at his office." (from research by Elliott Perry and J. William Middendorf). Later advertisements link the Sub Post Office in Northern Liberties with the main Philadelphia post office, which reinforces its status as an authorized drop point for mail. The sender's directive on the letter offered here recognizes the fact that the letter would be conveyed from the Sub Post Office to the main post office.
Debate among postal historians (Perry, Hahn et al) has focused on when the distinctive marking (Type I or II) was applied to letters. Some have argued that it is a press-printed impression applied to lettersheets prior to use and is, therefore, a carrier stamp. In support of the press-printed argument is the consistent orientation of the marking at the left side and at the same degree relative to the paper upon which it is impressed; it would be impossible to apply a hand-held striking device so consistently. Arguing against this press-printed theory are those who cite the effects of folds on the markings and impressions thru the paper, physical evidence that proves the marking was applied after the lettersheet had been folded. Our opinion is that the markings were applied after the letter was folded and given to the Sub Post Office, but that a mechanical device -- similar to a corporate seal -- was used to make the impression. Each letter, when inserted into the device along the guides, would receive the impression in the same relative position and orientation, not unlike a three-hole paper-punch device commonly used today. On the example offered here, the impression appears above the sender's note, but it does cover one word, showing that a) the sender did not write around an existing mark, and b) the person applying the mark was careful not to obscure the directions, except for the first word "The".
In summary, historical evidence supports the status of the Northern Liberties News Rooms Sub Post Office as an official carrier drop point for mail to the main Philadelphia post office. As such, we have positioned the Northern Liberties covers in the Philadelphia carrier section. However, physical evidence refutes the claim that these lettersheets were sold to patrons as stamped stationery to indicate prepayment of the carrier fee; the marking is better classified as an elaborate and mechanically-applied indication of letter handling.
Calvet M. Hahn records between 12 and 14 examples of Type I (some duplication of items is possible). Ex Hollowbush and Golden. With 2000 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. ONE OF THREE RECORDED COVERS WITH THE PHILADELPHIA "S" CARRIER STAMP. AN IMPORTANT CARRIER RARITY.
The initial "S" is believed to designate carrier G. B. Schock. Our records of 7LB2 covers include one used June 6 (1849) with a 5c 1847 (Dr. Morris collection), the cover offered here (June 16, 1849) and another to the same addressee, dated June 29, 1849 (Gronowski collection). In addition to the three known covers, there is at least one (probably two or three) off-cover stamps.
Ex Worthington (cost code on back), Caspary, Middendorf and Golden. With 2000 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $4,500.00.
EXTREMELY FINE. THE EARLIEST RECORDED DATE FOR ANY OF THE U.S.P.O. PHILADELPHIA CARRIER STAMPS AND ONE OF FIVE REPORTED COVERS WITH THE "LS" STAMP.
A few covers and pieces dated in late March and early April are found with the 1849-50 carrier stamps, but most do not have evidence of the year and cannot be reliably dated. This March 13 postmark on a clearly-dated 1849 letter is the earliest use, even assuming the other March dates without the year indicated are 1849 usages. The Philadelphia carrier service was reorganized in February 1849, and stamps were issued at that time.
Ex Emerson, Knapp, Gibson and Golden. With 1999 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $2,500.00.
VERY FINE. A RARE STAMP WITH ONLY EIGHT REPORTED EXAMPLES ON COVER.
Ex Caspary, Boker and Golden. With 2000 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $4,500.00.
A FINE EXAMPLE OF THIS EXCEEDINGLY RARE CARRIER STAMP. NO MORE THAN A DOZEN EXAMPLES OF 7LB14 ARE REPORTED.
Ex Caspary, Boker and Golden. With 2000 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $3,000.00.
A FINE EXAMPLE OF THE U.S.P.O. EAGLE CARRIER ADHESIVE STAMP, OF WHICH FIVE ARE RECORDED.
The Philadelphia carrier stamps printed on the sheet selvage of imperforate 1c 1851 stamps hold a unique position in United States philately. Elsewhere in the world there are very few instances in which sheet selvage was used to produce adhesive stamps -- the Emory Va. Confederate provisional and early stamps of Zanzibar come to mind as other examples.
Based on genuine dated examples of Scott 7LB16 and 7LB18, as well as the record of Eagle Carrier covers used in Philadelphia, it appears that the supply of Eagle Carrier stamps in Philadelphia was depleted sometime in 1856 and that the carrier department resorted to substitute means of supplying stamps for prepayment of the carrier fee. One step was to obtain and distribute 1c 1851 stamps, which required a special accounting arrangement with the post office. Another was the creation of the handstamped adhesives, Scott 7LB16 and 7LB18.
Two handstamps were used to create Philadelphia carrier stamps in 1856: the Eagle oval (Scott type C31), which produced 7LB16, and the large oval (type C32), from which 7LB18 was made. Both are rare, but 7LB16 is considerably rarer, with only five examples recorded: 1) rectangular margins, on cover with 3c 1851 removed, ex Hessel, Golden (realized $6,250); 2) rectangular margins, used on cover with strip of three 1c 1851, ex Caspary; 3) diamond-shaped margins, on piece with one 1c 1851 intact, ex Caspary, Boker, Golden (realized $4,000), the example offered here; 4) rectangular margins showing part of imprint, used on cover to San Francisco with 10c 1855, Siegel 1993 Rarities sale, lot 338; and 5) irregular but mostly rectangular margins, grid cancel, Siegel Dec. 12-14, 1995 (Sale 771, lot 1151). Only one of the five recorded stamps is found on an intact cover.
Ex Caspary, Boker and Golden. With 2000 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail for off-cover stamp is $5,000.00.
A FINE AND EXTRAORDINARY COMBINATION OF THE RARE U.S.P.O. CARRIER -- HANDSTAMPED ON THE SHEET MARGIN OF THE ONE-CENT 1851 ISSUE -- AND THE REGULAR ONE-CENT 1851 STAMPS SHOWING THE MAJOR PLATE CRACK IN PLATE 2.
This piece, bearing the 7LB18 adhesive with a strip of the 1c 1851 from Plate 2 -- from a key position showing the plate crack -- must be an 1856 usage, because Plate 2 was not available until the very end of 1855.
Ex Golden. With 2000 P.F. certificate.