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Sale 886 — The Dr. Robert LeBow Collection, Part 2: United States

Sale Date — Wednesday, 10 November, 2004

Category — Stampless Markings & Unusual Usages

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
3006
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3006, Stampless Markings & Unusual UsagesAaron Burr, Aaron BurrAaron Burr. Vice President, murdered Alexander Hamilton, one-page autograph letter signed, datelined "Albany 1 Oct. 1822", also with original outer folded cover addressed in his hand to Halsey Rogers in Caldwell N.Y., red Albany circular datestamp and ms. "10" rating, few light folds, Very Fine

E. 750-1,000
500
3007
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3007, Stampless Markings & Unusual UsagesWar of 1812 -- The "Bottle Letter" from an Impressed American Sailor, War of 1812 -- The "Bottle Letter" from an Impressed American SailorWar of 1812 -- The "Bottle Letter" from an Impressed American Sailor. Two items: the original "bottle letter" thrown overboard in 1806 by an American impressed into service aboard the British sloop of war, Pethel, and the 1808 transmittal letter reporting its discovery; the former is opened for display and, although it shows some effects of its ocean journey, is fully readable

A UNIQUE AND HISTORIC ARTIFACT OF THE BRITISH IMPRESSMENT OF AMERICAN SAILORS, ONE OF THE PRINCIPAL GRIEVANCES LEADING TO THE WAR BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND GREAT BRITAIN IN 1812.

"Lat. 10. Long 74 [Note: location off the Caribbean coast of South America] on Board the Pethel Sloop of War. I am American Born at Boston aged 26 years. Sailed from New York on Board the Brig Lyon Nov 26, 1805. Nothing Occured worthy of Remark for 14 days after. We lost sight of the Hook when at 6 o'clock in the Evening we was brought to by the above Vesel and after undergoing many Species of Insult myself & three others mainly Frederick Fenton, Simon Alongos & Aaron Stusio, all native Americans were ordered on board which we refused & on so doing was beaten & Kicked into the Boat, was then thrown into Irons for ten days, after which time was brought on Deck & Interrogated if we would enter in his Majesties Service with the Alternative of a good flogging and to live on bread and Water until we should comply with their Imperious mandates, after a short Consultation amongst us we agreed to enter & Embrace the first Opportunity that Occured to free us from the Slavery in which we was involved. Accordingly we Signified our Willingness to become the Tools of the Navy of his Britannic Majesty./Tis impossible to say any more as my watch on Deck is called. I must therefore conclude hoping that some Effectial mode of Redressing the grievances of American Tars will be thought of & put into Execution by our Govt./John Johnston/Jany. 10, 1806."

The accompanying folded transmittal letter is datelined "Collectors Office, Baltimore 10 June 1806" from the Collector of Customs at Baltimore, R. Purviance, to David Gelston, Collector of Customs at New York. It bears a red "Balte. Md. Jun. 9" circular datestamp and ms. "34" rate. The letter reads:

"Sir, The enclosed letter was handed to me this morning by William Jennett, Master of a coasting vessel, who found corked up in a Bottle on Shore, the State of North Carolina./As the writer, as well as the other sufferers, who were Impressed with him, sailed from your Port in the month of November last, in the Brig Lion, I hope you may have it in your power to furnish the necessary proofs for their relief./I have the honor to be very respectfully, Sir, you mo(st) ob(edient) serv(ant), R. Purviance, Coll." The receipt docketing reads "R Purviance 10 June 1806. No discovery can be made."

Accompanied by P.S. No. 6 (Journal of Postal History) featuring the "Bottle Letter".

E. 10,000-15,000
25,000
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3008
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3008, Stampless Markings & Unusual UsagesMillard Fillmore, Millard FillmoreMillard Fillmore. Free frank "Free M. Fillmore M.C." as member of Congress on 1857 folded letter to Paris, France, blue "Buffalo N.Y. Jul. 15" oval datestamp and matching "Free" in scroll, endorsed "To go by the first Packet from N York to Havre" and with Havre transits, blue receiving backstamp, ms. due marking, fresh and Very Fine

E. 300-400
1,300
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3009
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3009, Stampless Markings & Unusual UsagesWindsor Locks Ct. Feby. 28, Windsor Locks Ct. Feby. 28Windsor Locks Ct. Feby. 28. Clear strike of red handstamp with date in ms., matching "Paid" in scroll on 1842 folded letter to Bath N.H., ms. rating at top right, fresh and Very Fine, attractive usage of this scarce pictorial handstamp

E. 1,000-1,500
1,600
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3010
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3010, Stampless Markings & Unusual UsagesPhiladelphia Full-Rigged Ship Handstamp, Philadelphia Full-Rigged Ship HandstampPhiladelphia Full-Rigged Ship Handstamp. Perfect bold strike in red of this elaborately detailed ship-letter handstamp with matching "Phila. 3 Jun" octagonal framed datestamp and ms. "14-1/2" rate on folded letter to Baltimore, datelined at St. Pierre, Martinique, Apr. 29, 1835, file fold and very minor paper dampening effects, still Very Fine, one of the most remarkable of all U.S. postal markings

E. 500-750
850
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3011
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3011, Stampless Markings & Unusual UsagesU.S. Naval Lyceum, U.S. Naval LyceumU.S. Naval Lyceum. Clear strike at right of cover addressed to "U.S. Sloop 'Dale', Pacific Station" in care of the U.S Naval Lyceum in Brooklyn N.Y., blue ms. "Pomeroy O. July 4th" pmk. with matching "Paid 50" for double rate to N.Y., fresh and Very Fine, this oval handstamp depicting a full-rigged ship was applied to mail forward to naval personnel from the the U.S. Naval Lyceum in Brooklyn

E. 500-750
950
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3012
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3012, Stampless Markings & Unusual Usages"Saved from the Wreck of the Steamship Stella, April 2 '65", "Saved from the Wreck of the Steamship Stella, April 2 '65""Saved from the Wreck of the Steamship Stella, April 2 '65". Red ms. endorsement with postmaster's signature on red and blue George Washington and Flag Patriotic cover with sender's notation "(Co)me and be drafted...can't see it" (probably a draft evader), originated in Peru and addressed to Union Me., red "Paid at Callao" crown-circle handstamp, "A Callao FE 27 65" British P.O. backstamp, "Forwarded by Crosby & Co. Ship Chandlers and Ship Agents, Callao, Peru" oval handstamp, Panama transit (Mar. 6), "Steamship 10" in circle applied at New York, red crayon "6", waterstained and stamp soaked off, still intact and highly exhibitable, our search for information on the Stella was unsuccessful, but clearly this is an extremely rare salvaged-mail cover and undoubtedly unique as a Civil War Patriotic usage

E. 1,000-1,500
2,600
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3013
c
U.S. to Lima, Peru. Two folded letters from the Leffingwell correspondence, both from New Haven Conn., Sep. 22 and Oct. 4, 1826, addressed to Lima and carried by private ship, former sent via Cape Horn with good content describing difficulty of sending letters to Peru, latter sent via Panama with notation by sender describing route to be taken ("in charge of Mr. Bartlett, Consul at Guayaquil") and "1-1/2" (reales) ms. rate for internal Peruvian postage due, Very Fine pair

E. 150-200
105
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3014
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3014, Stampless Markings & Unusual Usages1849, Arequipa (Peru) to Boston via Panama, 1849, Arequipa (Peru) to Boston via Panama1849, Arequipa (Peru) to Boston via Panama. Aug. 6, 1849 folded letter from traveling photographer R. H. Vance to Boston, red "30" due handstamp for 30c rate on inbound mail from Peru, letter requests more supplies but adds "Direct your letter to Lima, Peru S.A. to the care of Russel Dartnell Esq. You will have to get some merchant to forward it for you or it will not come by the way of Pannamar & if not it will perhaps be six months before it arrives to Lima," minor edge wear and small tear, Fine

E. 100-150
95
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3015
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3015, Stampless Markings & Unusual Usages1876 Postage Due Notice from Iquique (Peru), 1876 Postage Due Notice from Iquique (Peru)1876 Postage Due Notice from Iquique (Peru). Printed card from Iquique Post Office to U.S. correspondent, informing them (in Spanish!) that a letter sent to an addressee in Iquique is being held subject to payment of 20 centavos postage due and requesting that they (the U.S. sender) advise the addressee to make payment, "Panama 26 No 1876 Transit" British P.O. datestamp, "12" debit handstamp, Callao backstamp, "New-York Due 19 Cts. Dec. 13" circular datestamp, Very Fine, interesting foreign-mail usage (the sender had to pay 19c to find out his addressee owed another 20 centavos!)

E. 100-150
250
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3016
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3016, Stampless Markings & Unusual UsagesSteamer Rapides, Steamer RapidesSteamer Rapides. Absolutely perfect strike of illustrated Mississippi River name-of-boat handstamp on 3c Red Nesbitt entire to Buchannan Carroll & Co. in New Orleans, faint red "New Orleans La. Dec. 20" circular datestamp and black "Steam" straightline handstamp, vertical file fold and two filing pinholes as usual for this correspondence, lightly cleaned

EXTREMELY FINE. A PICTURE-PERFECT IMPRESSION OF THE MOST SPECTACULAR OF ALL STEAMBOAT MARKINGS.

Our Levi records contain six genuine covers with the pictorial Steamer Rapides handstamp. The clarity of five of the six strikes suggests that the marking was appreciated in its own time and applied very carefully.

E. 3,000-4,000
3,750
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3017
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3017, Stampless Markings & Unusual UsagesSteamer Storm, Steamer StormSteamer Storm. Perfectly struck large red oval packetboat handstamp on Buchannan Carroll & Co. folded cover to New Orleans, red "New Orleans La. Jan. 6" circular datestamp and bold "Way 11 Cents" handstamp, usual filing crease, Very Fine

E. 200-300
425
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3018
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3018, Stampless Markings & Unusual Usages1836-39 Express Mail Rates, 1836-39 Express Mail Rates1836-39 Express Mail Rates. Two folded letters to New York City, each with blue New Orleans circular datestamp and matching "Paid", ms. "Express Mail" endorsements, 75c and $1.50 rates, Very Fine examples of the single and double rates for expedited service

E. 100-150
55
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3019
c
Eastern Expresses. Three covers, incl. one from Gay, Kinsley & Co.'s, one from Pullen & Copp's and one from Wells & Co.'s Buffalo, Albany & New York Express, each with label, few faults, otherwise Fine-Very Fine, scarce group

E. 300-400
900
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3020
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3020, Stampless Markings & Unusual UsagesHouse's Printing Telegraph, House's Printing TelegraphHouse's Printing Telegraph. Illustrated cover depicting telegraph and printed message, offices listed (Philadelphia office as origin), addressed to George D. Wetherill in Philadelphia with printed message enclosed, dated 1851, ms. "75 col" for 75c collect, Very Fine, the printing telegraph was developed for commercial use in 1846, the New York and Washington line began in 1851 and was quickly extended to Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore, this is a very early Philadelphia usage

E. 150-200
625
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3021
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3021, Stampless Markings & Unusual UsagesNorthern Liberties News Rooms, Sub Post Office, Northern Liberties News Rooms, Sub Post OfficeNorthern Liberties News Rooms, Sub Post Office. Type I circular mark impressed at left on March. 30, 1836 folded letter to Reading Pa., red "Phila. 31 Mar." in octagonal frame, matching "Paid" in octagon handstamp, skillfully reinforced along folds and minor cosmetic improvements along edges

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.

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.

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. 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).

E. 7,500-10,000
5,000
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3022
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3022, Stampless Markings & Unusual Usages(Greig's) City Despatch Post, New York N.Y., 3c Black on Grayish (40L1), (Greig's) City Despatch Post, New York N.Y., 3c Black on Grayish (40L1)(Greig's) City Despatch Post, New York N.Y., 3c Black on Grayish (40L1). Large margins, tied by red "Free" cancel on 1842 part-printed folded letter to local address, matching "City Despatch Post N.Y. 29 Apr." Type I circular datestamp, light vertical file folds incl. one barely affecting adhesive, small filing holes, otherwise Very Fine, scarce, ex Meroni

1,500
1,800
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3023
c
Sale Number 886, Lot Number 3023, Stampless Markings & Unusual UsagesHale & Co., (5c) Blue, Street Address Omitted (75L5), Hale & Co., (5c) Blue, Street Address Omitted (75L5)Hale & Co., (5c) Blue, Street Address Omitted (75L5). Large margins all around, tied by red boxed handstamp on June 29, 1844 folded letter from Boston to New York, adhesive with pre-printing paperfold, cover with light file folds well away from stamp, Very Fine

450
260
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