EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. THE ONLY RECORDED PENNY EXPRESS COMPANY SHEET WITH REED'S INITIALS -- THESE ARE ALL OF THE INITIALLED STAMPS THAT ARE KNOWN.
The "Penny Express" stamps were issued in 1866 by Henry Reed of the Holladay Overland Mail and Express Co., which in 1867 became part of Wells, Fargo & Company. One of the entries from Henry Reed's journal, published by Henry C. Needham in his American Philatelist series (Apr. 1920), makes reference to the stamps: (excerpt from entry datelined Salt Lake City, June 26, 1866) "Charge yourself ten cents for the red stamps instead of twenty cts. as first verbally instructed by me." Although the numeral "5" appears on both the Red and Blue stamps (114L2 and 114L3), as well as the Black, Reed's instructions and advertisements indicate that the standard letter rate was 10c up to a half ounce, and 10c for each additional half-ounce. No used examples of the adhesives are known, and it appears that the printed envelopes were used for Holladay's express, perhaps because the "5" denomination of the stamps caused confusion. Several sheets of Red and Blue stamps, without gum, reached the stamp market. However, only this one sheet of Black stamps with Reed's initials and original gum is known.
Ex Chapman, Middendorf and Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1410, realized $6,250 hammer)