VERY FINE. A SPECTACULAR LETTER EXPRESS COVER WITH A PAIR OF THE 5-CENT "GODDESS OF COMMERCE" ISSUE TIED BY A RED DATESTAMP APPLIED BY BOYD'S IN NEW YORK CITY, WHO PROVIDED DELIVERY TO THE ADDRESSEE'S OFFICE ON FRONT STREET.
Henry Wells, William Fargo and D. Dunning formed Wells & Company's Letter Express in early 1844 to provide letter-carrying service between Buffalo N.Y. and points west of Buffalo, including the Great Lakes region. Offices were established in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee. By connecting with Pomeroy's Letter Express at Buffalo -- who in turn arranged for local delivery with Boyd's in New York City -- the Wells-Pomeroy-Boyd independent mail route was able to carry letters from the western frontier to the doorstep of a New York City addressee for considerably less than the post office charged for less-reliable service. The Letter Express ceased operations in November 1844, before all of the eastern inter-city expresses were effectively put out of business by the July 1845 postal reforms.
Ex Malcolm. With 1974 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. A SPECTACULAR AND PROBABLY UNIQUE COVER WITH FOUR LETTER EXPRESS STAMPS FOR THE DOUBLE RATE.
Ex Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1295, realized $4,750 hammer)
VERY FINE DESPITE CREASE. THE LARGEST RECORDED MULTIPLE OF THE SCARCE 10-CENT LETTER EXPRESS STAMP ON PINK PAPER. NO OTHER STRIP OF THREE IS RECORDED ON OR OFF COVER.
The circular 10c stamps (96L3-96L4) depict an American soldier charging ashore with sword raised and Union Flag waving, and a naval vessel in the background. This patriotic design, chosen for stamps that would be used in the Great Lakes region, has been described as a commemoration of Commodore Perry's naval victory on Lake Erie during the War of 1812, which may or may not be accurate. Multiples of these stamps are extremely rare, and this is the largest we have located among records kept by Sloane, Costales and Abt.
Ex Boker (probably acquired by him from the Weekes collection) and Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1301, realized $8,500 hammer).
A RARE CONJUNCTIVE USE AND COMBINATION OF WELLS' LETTER EXPRESS 10-CENT AND POMEROY'S LETTER EXPRESS 5-CENT ISSUES.
This cover travelled from Cleveland to New York City through Wells & Co. (Cleveland to Buffalo) and Pomeroy (Buffalo to New York City). The full rate (10c by stamps) was paid by the Wells & Co. stamp, and the Pomeroy stamp was affixed by Wells to credit Pomeroy with its half of the postage.
Illustrated in Allen's Cleveland Postal Markings book, p. 106. Ex Skove.
VERY FINE. ONLY FIVE GENUINE COVERS EXIST WITH THE 10-CENT SCARLET LETTER EXPRESS STAMP, MAKING THIS ONE OF THE RAREST OF ALL 1844 INDEPENDENT MAIL USAGES.
The stamps issued by Wells' Letter Express are remarkable both for the purpose they served and for their distinctive designs. The oval 96L1-96L2 stamps depict the Goddess of Commerce surrounded by bales and barrels with a merchant vessel in the background -- symbols of private enterprise and the robust economic growth of America during the 1840's. The circular 96L3-96L4 stamps depict an American marine charging ashore with sword raised and Union Flag waving, and a naval vessel in the background. This design, chosen for stamps that would be used in the Great Lakes region, has been described as a commemoration of the Battle of Lake Champlain during the War of 1812, which may or may not be accurate.
Our records contain five 10c Scarlet covers, including one that has not been verified. The four confirmed covers are: 1) Jul. 19, 1844 Boyd's delivery date in NYC, sent from Cleveland with Scarlet 96L4 and Pomeroy's 117L1, ex Worthington, Hollowbush, Hall (Siegel Sale 830, lot 369, realized $14,500 hammer); 2) Sep. 28, 1844, folded letter from Buffalo to Miller & Co., NYC, double rate, stamp tied by ms., the cover offered here, ex Caspary, Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1304, realized $8,500); 3) Oct. 4, 1844, folded letter from Monroe Mich. to Dwight Johnson, NYC, with Scarlet 96L4 and Pomeroy's 117L1, ex Perry, Schwartz; and 4) [Date unknown] 1844, folded letter from [origin unknown] to Willet P. Ward, NYC, with Scarlet 96L4 and Pomeroy's 117L1, Sloane's records. The three combination frankings each bear a Pomeroy's stamp, affixed by Wells to credit Pomeroy with their share of the prepaid postage.
Ex Caspary and Golden. With 1999 P.F. certificate.