VERY FINE. ONE OF THE FINEST OF THE SIX RECORDED COVERS WITH THE KELLOGG'S PENNY POST STAMP, OF WHICH ONLY THREE ARE TIED BY A HANDSTAMP.
Kellogg's Penny Post & City Despatch was a relatively short-lived local post in Cleveland. It is believed that the post existed in 1853 and 1854. A cover dated June 28 (1853) and a piece dated April 7 (1854) are the earliest and latest recorded dates of use for the 92L1 stamp. Carrier service in Cleveland began in December 1853, which probably forced Kellogg's out of business by mid-1854.
Our records contain the following six Kellogg's covers, arranged by date (including assumed year dates): 1) Jun. 28 (ca. 1853) Cleveland datestamp ties 3c 1851, 92L1 cancelled by pencil on New England Hotel corner card cover to West Fairlee Vt., ex Caspary, Schenck, Skove, Golden (sold after the auction); 2) Jul. 11 (1853 content) Cleveland datestamp with "24" in circle tying 92L1 on folded letter to Mrs. Cowell, Dorset, England, from Harmer Rooke sale, Jul. 7-8, 1960; 3) Jul. 29 (1853 contents) Cleveland datestamp, tied by ms. cancel on folded letter originating in Cincinnati to New Orleans, carried to Cleveland and given to Kellogg's, ex Boker; 4) Sep. 1 (ca. 1853) Cleveland datestamp on cover to Newark O., one 92L1 remains from strip of three (other two torn off), ms. "Charge Johnson House" hotel notation, ex Knapp, Middendorf; 5) Sep. 27 (ca. 1853) Cleveland datestamp and grid tie 92L1 and 3c 1851 on Waverly House corner card cover to Canton O., discovered in 1997, Siegel 1997 Rarities sale; and 6) Jan. 21 (ca. 1854) Cleveland datestamp with black grid tying 92L1 to Painesville O., ex Hall (realied $8,000), the cover offered here. In addition to the six covers, there are at least six 92L1 stamps known off cover.
All of the surviving Kellogg's covers were delivered to the post office (three from hotels); no city-delivery covers are known. Is it possible that Kellogg's post was incorporated into the Cleveland carrier department started by Henry S. Bishop on December 21, 1853? Bishop left the carrier department on July 1, 1854, to become an employee of the Cleveland post office (source: Elliott Perry). Bishop's move roughly coincides with the end of Kellogg's post; however, no official records are known to us that confirm Kellogg's involvement as a carrier. The use of the black grid to cancel the stamp on this cover strongly suggests an official link to the post office.
Ex Hall. With 2001 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $9,000.00.
VERY FINE. THIS IS A RECENTLY DISCOVERED COVER BEARING THE RARE KIDDER'S CITY EXPRESS "HORSE & RIDER" STAMP.
John T. Boyd discontinued his Brooklyn post on June 30, 1845, when the new postal laws made it illegal for private companies to carry mail along postal routes -- in Boyd's case, between Brooklyn and New York City. Elliott Perry suggested that Boyd's Brooklyn agent was Wellington Walton, who is listed in the 1846 city directory as an "express proprietor" at 195 Gold Street in Brooklyn. Walton & Co. City Express covers are dated as early as February 14, 1846, leaving a seven-month gap between Boyd's discontinuance and Walton's successor post -- possibly Walton did not start up until the next Valentine season. In early 1847, Walton sold out to Henry Kidder, whose "Kidder's Brooklyn City Express Post" oval handstamp is recorded as early as Mar. 11, 1847 (reference: Calvet M. Hahn, "Brooklyn City Post 1850's"). Kidder operated the post with the help of Isaac and George Snedeker, who were brothers. Kidder sold out to the Snedeckers in 1851, and the post continued under their ownership until 1854 when it was sold to others.
The Kidder's 93L1 stamp was issued during Kidder's ownership and used after the Snedekers acquired ownership. It is believed that the first Brooklyn City Express Post stamp (28L5) was issued by the Snedekers. Beginning about 1850, the Kidder's stamps were initialed "IS" (sometimes "YS") for Isaac Snedeker. The initials were applied to sheets before use and are not cancellations. (Reference: Donald S. Patton, The Private Posts of the United States, pp. 265-268).
Scott Retail $6,000.00 for a cover with stamp tied by handstamp.
THE UNIQUE ONE-CENT STAMP OF THE MAGIC LETTER EXPRESS, AN ILLEGAL RICHMOND-BASED MAIL ROUTE THAT EXISTED BRIEFLY AFTER THE END OF THE CIVIL WAR. IN OUR OPINION, THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST SIGNIFICANT EXAMPLES OF AN AMERICAN PRIVATE MAIL CARRIER IN EXISTENCE -- BORN IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE SOUTHERN REBELLION AND MOST LIKELY SUPPRESSED BY FEDERAL OFFICIALS RESPONSIBLE FOR REORGANIZING MAIL SERVICE DURING THE RECONSTRUCTION PHASE OF THE WAR.
The Magic Letter Express was run for approximately two months in June and July 1865 by the Richmond firm of Evans, Porter & Co., under the management of Maurice Evans. It is perhaps the most misunderstood of American local posts, yet its origins can be impeccably documented and its stamps are of the greatest rarity. In the Golden sale, we had the opprtunity to establish the history of the Magic Letter Express with previously unreported archival documentation. This information may be found in the Golden catalogue (lot 1326) and at our website: www.siegelauctions.com/1999/817/y817225.htm#238.
Only six Magic Leter Express stamps are known in total, including the unique 1c (on cover, offered here), one 2c (off cover, offered in lot 90), and four 5c (two on covers). The first example of a Magic Letter Express stamp was described in the June 1887 Quaker City Philatelist as one of two "discoveries of Confederate Locals" by G. M. Bastable, the other being the Liberty Va. Confederate provisional. Bastable is quoted in the article: "The Richmond local, known as the Magic Letter Express, I found among a large correspondence from Richmond, Va., extending from 1840 to 1870. Many of the old envelopes had Confederate stamps of the general issue, and others U.S. stamps of the general issue. I obtained these from a member of the family to whom they were mailed, and among the lot I found the Magic Letter Expresses. The family could give me no information concerning this particular stamp." The article pictures a cut of the 5c Magic Letter Express and describes the item as "an envelope bearing the postmark of Richmond, Va., July 30, [the stamp] is printed on manila paper, and has a good margin. The envelope is addressed to Mr. Ro. King, Gordonsville, Va." We have no record of this cover other than the 1887 report.
Including the long-lost discovery cover, we record the following examples: 1) 1c cancelled "Paid" on Jun. 2, 1865, folded letter handcarried from "Rockland" to Richmond, "June 3d 1865" ms. postmark, delivered locally at appropriate 1c rate, ex Golden, the cover offered here; 2) 2c 101L1, ms. "Richmond July 4 '65" cancellation, ex Needham, Boker, Richardson, Moyer, Golden (realized $22,000), offered in lot 90; 3) 5c 101L2, uncancelled, affixed to the undated broadside, ex Needham, Boker; 4) 5c 101L2, ms. "July 18" postmark and part of Richmond Va. Jul. 19 duplex datestamp and cork cancel (applied by post office), found by George Sloane, ex Boker; 5) 5c 101L2 tied by ms. "Richmond July 10/65" postmark on cover to Talbot B. Coleman, Staunton Va., ex Needham, Boker; and 6) the Bastable discovery example, 5c 101L2, reported to be dated Jul. 30, 1865, on cover to Robert King in Gordonsville Va., whereabouts unknown and no confirming photo.
The recorded dates establish a time period from June 3 through July 30, 1865. The covers to Staunton and Gordonsville, as well as the incoming cover from Rockland, indicate that the Magic Letter Express used railroad lines to convey mail distances as far as 140 track miles from Richmond. This local post and inter-city express was blatantly illegal. However, the spirit of the times is reflected in one paragraph from the letter offered here: "The Yankees have been here this morning since before breakfast. They came after the branded horses but went away without them. They came from Fred'ksbg & said that it was reported to them there that you had government horses & mules on the farm." The battles may have ended, but for many Southerners, the war was not over.
Ex Golden. With 2000 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $24,000.00.
"VERY FINE APPEARANCE. THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF THE MAGIC LETTER EXPRESS 2-CENT STAMP, USED FOR TWO MONTHS IN RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, AFTER THE CIVIL WAR."
Ex Needham, Boker, Richardson, Meyer and Golden. With 1987 and 2000 P.F. certificates. Scott Retail $11,000.00.