VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE. ONLY SEVEN OFF-COVER EXAMPLES RECORDED, PLUS THE FAMOUS CASPARY COVER. ONE OF THE RAREST OF ALL NEW YORK LOCAL POST STAMPS.
Robison & Co. was a relatively small local post in Brooklyn, New York. Elliott Perry located three Robisons in the city directory listings who were in the express business: Cornelius D. Robison at 140 Chambers, 1857-58; Francis Robison at 707 Greenwich, 1857-58; and William Robison at 64 Cedar, 1852-53. It is not known which, if any, of these men was the proprietor.
The most famous example of the Robison & Co. local-post stamp is the one tied on cover to Jas. H. Watson, 231 Henry Street in Brooklyn. The cover was discovered circa 1895 by F. E. Kneeland Jr., a Brooklyn teen-aged boy who found it while searching through a relative's papers. It passed to Ferrary, then to Caspary, and was later to become one of the cornerstones of the Boker collection. Other examples of Robison & Co.'s stamp must have been discovered in the 1860's, because catalogues published in 1864 and 1865 contain listings for a Robison & Co. post.
Our records contain eight examples of 128L1, including seven off cover and the one on cover. Five of the off-cover stamps are known to have small faults.
With 1998 P.F. certificate
FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE EXAMPLE OF THE ROCHE'S CITY DISPATCH STAMP. ONLY THIRTEEN EXAMPLES RECORDED, INCLUDING SIX ON COVERS TO WHICH THEY BELONG.
Wilmington city directory and post-office employment records for James L. Roche are provided by Elliott Perry in Pat Paragraphs (reprint, pp. 459-460). This information is also included with a census of 129L1 stamps and covers by Stephen Gronowski in the July 1995 Penny Post. Roche is linked to the Wilmington post office as far back as 1833 by a signed postage receipt. For much of the time between 1845 and 1858 he was a clerk in the post office. He left in 1849 following Zachary Taylor's election, but returned in 1852. During his hiatus from official postal duties, Roche ran a newspaper and periodical room advertised as "one door from the post office" and started the City Dispatch. The six recorded genuine Roche covers are dated from the third-quarter 1849 through the end of 1850. Roche died in 1859.
The Gronowski 1995 census with updated information contains six genuine covers, three of which have rectangular-cut stamps. There are approximately seven off-cover stamps (including two added to covers).
With 1997 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. A CHOICE COVER BEARING THIS RARE EIGHTH AVENUE POST OFFICE LOCAL STAMP IN COMBINATION WITH THE 1851 ISSUE. ONLY THREE 130L2 COVERS ARE KNOWN TO US, INCLUDING TWO USED WITH THE 3-CENT 1851 FROM THE SAME CORRESPONDENCE.
Although little documentation has been produced, the accepted history of the Eighth Avenue Post Office is that it was operated by James Price in 1854 and sold that year to David Russell. Price may have issued the unique Eighth Avenue Post Office stamp (Scott 63L1), which is reported to have been used in 1852; however, we do not know the basis of the 63L1 year date, because the one recorded example is on a cover without a letter, postmark or other indication of date. The portrait on the 120L1 stamp issued by Price is thought to be his own. Price's successor, David Russell, is listed at 387 Eighth Avenue in 1854 and then at 410 Eighth Avenue from 1855 until 1857-58. The 1855-56 directory lists his occupation as "express" and in 1856-58 it is given as "subpost." Price issued a stamp very similar in design to Russell's.
The three Russell 130L2 covers we record are: 1) Tied by part strike of New York cds to James Allaire, Monmouth Co. N.J., 3c 1851 missing, ex Caspary, Middendorf; 2) Uncancelled with 3c 1851, New York Dec. 18 cds, to Susan Magie, Bloomfield N.J., the cover offered here, ex Lilly, Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1467, realized $8,500 hammer); and 3) Uncancelled with 3c 1851, New York Mar. 14 cds, to Susan Magie, Bloomfield N.J., ex Lilly, Boker.
Ex Lilly and Golden. With 1999 P.F. certificate.
FINE. ONE OF FIVE RECORDED RUSSELL'S 130L3 COVERS, OF WHICH ALL BUT ONE HAVE UNCANCELLED STAMPS. ONE OF THE MOST DISTINCTIVE AND ELUSIVE OF NEW YORK CITY LOCALS.
Our census of covers bearing Russell's stamps includes five 130L3 Red on Bluish covers as follows: 1) Tied by "New-York 5 Cts. Oct. 9" (ca. 1854) due datestamp on lady's embossed cover to Miss Louise Summer, Middlebury O., ex Worthington, Caspary, Hall, D.K. Collection; 2) Uncancelled on cover to Mess. Mead, Taft & Dewey, 237 Broadway, ex Hollowbush, Boker; 3) Uncancelled on cover with 3c 1851 tied by "New-York Nov. 14" datestamp, 1854 enclosure from writer at 367 W. 24th St., the cover offered here, ex Abt, Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1468, realized $5,250 hammer); 4) Uncancelled on Apr. 15, 1856 folded letter (late usage if correct) to Myron Barrett, Union Theo. Seminary, ex Needham, Boker; and 5) Cut to shape, uncancelled, with 3c 1851 tied by "New-York Nov. 5" (ca. 1854) datestamp on small cover to Miss Susan Magie, Bloomfield N.J., ex Caspary. We also record one off-cover 130L3 stamp (ex Lilly, Boker).
Ex Abt and Golden. With 1999 P.F. certificate.
FINE APPEARANCE. REPORTED TO BE THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF THE RUSSELL 8TH AVE. POST OFFICE 2-CENT BLUE GREEN ON GREEN PAPER.
Listed but unpriced in Scott, where described as unique.