EXTREMELY FINE. ONLY 36 $2.00 RED PONY EXPRESS COVERS ARE LISTED IN THE LATEST CENSUS, OF WHICH THREE ORIGINATED IN SACRAMENTO. MAGNIFICENT QUALITY AND CERTAINLY ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PONY EXPRESS COVERS KNOWN.
The Third Rate Period ($2.00 per half ounce) was introduced in the East on April 1, 1861, but did not begin in the West until April 15, due to communication delays. It was a relatively brief period, ending with the start of the government contract mail period on July 1, 1861, and introduction of the new $1.00 per half-ounce rate. This cover was carried on the Pony trip departing San Francisco on May 25, 1861. It was posted from the Sacramento office on the following day, and was delivered at St. Joseph on June 6. Another cover is listed in the census with identical markings (Census No. E85).
Ex West, Haas and Edwards. With 1991 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. AN UNUSUALLY FRESH AND CLEAN EASTBOUND PONY EXPRESS USAGE DURING THE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACT PERIOD.
Commencing July 1, 1861, the Pony Express was authorized by Congress to carry mail at the rate of $1.00 per half ounce. An additional 25c was charged by Wells, Fargo & Co. to carry mail from San Francisco to the western terminus at Placerville, which is represented by the printed frank on this entire. The contract also stipulated the mandatory U.S. postage charge of 10c per half ounce. This cover beautifully combines all three postage elements. Although the Scott Catalogue lists the July 1861 issue Pony Express stamps (143L3-143L6) with other private post issues, we wish to emphasize that these stamps were issued under the terms of a government mail contract; therefore, they have semi-official status.
EXTREMELY FINE. ONE OF 20 RECORDED TYPE II EAST-TO-WEST PONY EXPRESS FRANKED ENTIRES RECORDED IN THE MOST RECENT CENSUS OF COVERS AND THE ONLY RECORDED PONY EXPRESS COVER ORIGINATING IN PHILADELPHIA.
According to the new publication, The Pony Express--A Postal History, there are only 20 examples of the Type II $1.00 East-to-West frank, including a few that have stamps added or have been extensively repaired. This is the only Pony Express cover that originated from Philadelphia during any time period, and of course it is the only example of the Type II frank used from Philadelphia (almost all originated in New York City).
The $1.00 franked entire and $1.00 "Garter" adhesive were needed by Wells, Fargo & Co.'s eastern offices when the Pony Express entered its official U.S. government mail contract period on July 1, 1861. The 1861 10c "Pumpkin" entire with the Type II printed frank was ordered from George F. Nesbitt & Co. (New York) by the Overland Mail Company after they obtained approval for the design and imprint from the Postmaster General's office (a June 21, 1861, letter and essay submitted for approval are recorded). Nesbitt was specifically asked to produce envelopes on a thinner, tougher paper than that used for regular stamped envelopes, presumably to reduce weight for the Pony riders. Comparing the Type II franked entires with others, it does appear to be a thinner, less opaque paper, although the Scott Catalogue does not list the 10c entires on more than one kind of white paper.
The period commencing July 1, 1861, was an important one for the Pony Express. Under new management and connected with Wells, Fargo & Co.'s vast network of offices and routes, the Pony Express was authorized by Congress to carry mail under government contract at the rate of $1.00 per half ounce. Although collectors generally perceive all Pony Express stamps and franked entires to be unofficial non-government forms of postage, effective July 1, 1861, the new stamps and entires are semi-official issues intended to prepay goverment contract rates.
This August 26, 1861, usage from Philadelphia comes just as the old stamp issues were being demonetized and the new 1861 Issue was released, due to the Civil War. This Pony Express cover entered the post office and was treated as regular mail until it reached the Wells, Fargo & Co. agent at St. Joseph, Missouri. From there it made the September 1, 1861, westbound Pony trip to California. At Placerville, it was carried by Wells, Fargo & Co. to San Jose. For no apparent reason, the St. Joseph office did not apply a Pony Express datestamp.
Census No. W53
VERY FINE. AN IMMACULATE COVER CARRIED FROM CALIFORNIA TO NEVADA TERRITORY BY WELLS, FARGO & COMPANY'S VIRGINIA CITY PONY EXPRESS. EASTBOUND COVERS ARE RARER THAN WESTBOUND.
With 1990 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $4,000.00
EXTREMELY FINE. A SUPERB EXAMPLE OF THE VIRGINIA CITY PONY EXPRESS 25-CENT RED ON COVER FROM THE FAMOUS CRITTENDEN CORRESPONDENCE. THE RED PONY STAMP IS MUCH SCARCER ON COVER THAN THE BLUE.
With 1990 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $9,000.00.
VERY FINE. AN EXTRAORDINARY AND POSSIBLY UNIQUE VIRGINIA CITY PONY EXPRESS USAGE. THE DOUBLE-RATE FRANKING WITH AN ADDITIONAL UNITED STATES ADHESIVE STAMP IS RARE IN ITSELF, BUT THE SECOND PONY EXPRESS STAMP WAS ALMOST CERTAINLY SUPPLIED AND CANCELLED EN ROUTE BY THE WELLS, FARGO & COMPANY SACRAMENTO SPECIAL MESSENGER.
This cover originates from the famous Crittenden correspondence, but it came to light after the initial public offering of the major portion of covers. The presence of 25c Red Pony Express stamps in two slightly different shades, one of which is cancelled at Virginia City while the other was cancelled en route with the Sacramento Messenger oval, indicates that the letter was franked with double-rate U.S. postage at Virginia City, but the second Pony Express stamp was supplied by the Wells, Fargo & Co. messenger who brought the mail from Sacramento to San Francisco. Other covers are known with supplemental postage tied by the special Sacramento Messenger oval or "Collect" markings indicating that postage was due from the addressee.
Covers with the 25c red stamp are very scarce, and only a few are known with additional U.S. stamps. This double-rate franking is extremely rare, and, from a postal history perspective, quite fascinating.
With 1990 P.F. certificate