EXTREMELY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE MIXED-ISSUE FRANKING FOR THE 15-CENT RATE TO SWITZERLAND PLUS 8-CENT REGISTRATION FEE.
The 15c rate for Closed Mail via England was in effect from April 1868 to May 1870 (reduced to 10c). The registry fee at this time was 8c.
VERY FINE. ONE OF THREE RECORDED USAGES OF THE 10-CENT 1869 PICTORIAL ISSUE TO SHANGHAI, CHINA, AND THE ONLY ONE WITH RAILROAD-DESIGNATED ROUTING INSTRUCTIONS.
On May 10, 1869, the tracks of the Union Pacific joined those of the Central Pacific Railroad at Promontory, Utah. The connection bridged the 2,000 miles to the Missouri River, and the four to six months time taken by the overland pioneers was reduced to six days. Previously, mails were mostly sent via Panama, which was the shortest route.
It is rare to see a railroad designation on a cover with the 1869 Pictorial Issue. Of the other two recorded usages to Shanghai, one was sent via London at the 34c rate, and the other was sent at the 10c trans-pacific rate but does not have any routing instructions.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A REMARKABLY RARE MULTIPLE OF THE 10-CENT 1869 PICTORIAL ON COVER FROM THE U.S. CONSULATE AT YEDO, JAPAN, AND SENT VIA THE U.S. POST OFFICE IN YOKOHAMA.
With 1985 P.F. certificate
EXTREMELY FINE EXAMPLE OF THE 24-CENT 1869 PICTORIAL USED FOR DOMESTIC POSTAGE ON A PACKAGE WRAPPER ORIGINALLY CONTAINING A MEDICAL PUBLICATION. A UNIQUE USE OF THIS 1869 HIGH VALUE.
With 1980 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail on cover $20,000.00
VERY FINE. THIS IS THE CELEBRATED 30-CENT 1869 "BRADFORD" COVER FROM SHANGHAI, WIDELY REGARDED TO BE ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT 1869 PICTORIAL COVERS IN EXISTENCE. THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE LEBOW COLLECTION AND ONE OF THE GREATEST CLASSIC UNITED STATES COVERS.
Although there is neither a year date nor source notation on this cover, it was probably sent in January 1871 (not 1870) by Oliver B. Bradford, who was in Shanghai in 1871 and was appointed Vice Consul two months later. Several years later, Bradford was convicted of tampering with the U.S. mail and subjected to a congressional impeachment review (he was not impeached). Bradford went on to help build China's first railroad (source: Michael Laurence, Chronicle 80, p. 219).
The cover was postmarked at the U.S. Consulate Post Office in Shanghai on January 14 (1871) and sent by a Pacific Mail Steamship Company branch steamer to Yokohama, where it made the January 24 sailing of the PMSS Great Republic, arriving in San Francisco on February 16, 1871. There was a nearly identical set of sailing dates in 1870 for the Japan, but for the historical reasons cited above, the correct year date is probably 1871. From San Francisco it would have been carried by the relatively new transcontinental railroad to Pennsylvania.
Of the approximately 50 covers known with the 30c 1869, only three originated in the Far East: 1) the "Bradford" cover offered here; 2) another seven-times rate cover from the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, with a pair of 30c 1869 and 10c 1869, in restored condition; and 3) the "Miro" cover with pairs of 10c and 30c 1869's, "China and Japan Steam Service" oval, no origin indicated.
Michael Laurence described this cover in his Chronicle series as "one of the great gems of 1869 philately." In the 1981 Sotheby Parke Bernet sale catalogue of the Ishikawa USPO in China and Japan collection, the late Calvet M. Hahn (who described the material) made a rare use of the superlatives "magnificent and unique" to describe this cover.
Signed Ashbrook. Ex Ishikawa.