VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A BEAUTIFUL STRIKE OF THE ST. JOSEPH "PONY EXPRESS" OVAL AND CIRCLE DATESTAMP IN GREEN.
This cover was carried on the Pony Express trip that left St. Joseph on March 14 and arrived in San Francisco on March 28, 1861. During the Second Rate Period ($2.50 per quarter-ounce), the large oval-and-circle marking was introduced at the St. Joseph office. It is known as a transit marking on the backs of eastbound covers and on the fronts of westbound covers (nine in green on westbound covers reported in The Pony Express, Frajola-Kramer-Walske).
Pony Express Census No. W35.
VERY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLE OF THE $2.00 PONY EXPRESS STAMP TIED BY THE BLUE SAN FRANCISCO RUNNING PONY OVAL.
This Pony Express cover was carried on the trip departing San Francisco on May 25 and arriving at St. Joseph on June 6, 1861.
Pony Express Census No. E84. Ex Baughman. With 1965 P.F. certificate
A FRESH COVER WITH CLEARLY STRUCK MARKINGS AND A FINE EXAMPLE OF THE $1.00 RED STAMP ISSUED BY WELLS, FARGO & COMPANY FOR THE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACT PERIOD BEGINNING IN JULY 1861. THIS IS A VERY EARLY USE OF THE STAMP.
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 fee 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 and was carried on the fourth eastbound Pony Express trip after the new rates and stamps were introduced. 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.
Pony Express Census No. E112. Ex Knapp.
FINE APPEARANCE. THE EARLIEST OF THE FOUR RECORDED COVERS BEARING THE PONY EXPRESS ONE-DOLLAR GARTER STAMP AND THE ONLY EXAMPLE USED WITH THE 1857 ISSUE.
According to 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 (one newly recorded example from Philadelphia has recently been added to the record). There are four recorded covers with the $1.00 Garter stamp (a detailed list is provided below).
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 ordinary 10c entires on more than one kind of white paper. Nesbitt also printed the Garter stamps in sheets of 20 (5 wide by 4 high) with his imprint below Position 18, the center stamp in the bottom row. Information regarding the Type II frank and Garter stamp can be found in Wells, Fargo & Company 1861 Pony Express Issues.
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 government contract rates.
This August 24, 1861, usage from New York City comes just as the old stamp issues were being demonetized and the new 1861 Issue was released, due to the Civil War. This double-rate 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 August 29, 1861, westbound Pony trip to California. At Placerville, it was carried by Wells, Fargo & Co. to San Francisco.
There are four recorded covers with the $1.00 Garter stamp, listed here by St. Joseph date (all sent from East to West in 1861): 1) St. Joseph Aug. 29, the cover offered here, ex H. J. Crocker; 2) St. Joseph Oct. 24, ex Caspary, Haas, Kapiloff; 3) St. Joseph Oct. 27, ex Wm. H. Crocker, Knapp, Moody; and 4) Undated (c. October 16th) with strip of four $1.00 and four 10c 1861 for two-ounce quadruple rate, Kramer collection, the only recorded multiple Garter franking.
Pony Express Census No. W52. Illustrated in Nathan's The Pony Express (p. 51) and Frajola-Kramer-Walske The Pony Express (p. 63). Ex Henry J. Crocker.