VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE USAGE OF THE WILLIAM E. LOOMIS LETTER EXPRESS ISSUE ON COVER.
With 1996 P.F. certificate
FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE EXAMPLE OF THE McINTIRE'S CITY EXPRESS POST STAMP TIED ON COVER. ONLY ONE OR TWO OTHER GENUINELY-TIED USAGES EXIST.
William H. McIntire established and operated this post between 1857 and 1860, based on recorded covers and city directory listings reported by Elliott Perry. McIntire's 2c stamp is quite scarce and oddly so, considering the duration of the post. Examples on covers are generally uncancelled. Two tied usages have cancellations not found on any other covers and for this reason are suspect. This cover and one other with a damaged 99L1 have the correct company oval handstamp tying the stamp. These two may be the only genuinely tied usages.
Ex Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1318, realized $2,900 hammer).
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF ONLY FOUR RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE 5-CENT MAGIC LETTER EXPRESS STAMP.
The Magic Letter Express was run for approximately two months in June and July 1865 by the Richmond firm of Evans, Porter & Co., under the management of Maurice Evans. It is perhaps the most misunderstood of American local posts, yet its origins can be impeccably documented and its stamps are of the greatest rarity. In the Golden sale, we had the opportunity to establish the history of the Magic Letter Express with previously unreported archival documentation. This information may be found in the Golden catalogue (lot 1326) and at our website: www.siegelauctions.com/1999/817/y817225.htm#238.
Only six Magic Letter Express stamps are known in total, including the unique 1c on cover, one 2c, and four 5c (two on covers). The first example of a Magic Letter Express stamp was described in the June 1887 Quaker City Philatelist as one of two "discoveries of Confederate Locals" by G. M. Bastable, the other being the Liberty Va. Confederate provisional. Bastable is quoted in the article: "The Richmond local, known as the Magic Letter Express, I found among a large correspondence from Richmond, Va., extending from 1840 to 1870. Many of the old envelopes had Confederate stamps of the general issue, and others U.S. stamps of the general issue. I obtained these from a member of the family to whom they were mailed, and among the lot I found the Magic Letter Expresses. The family could give me no information concerning this particular stamp." The article pictures a cut of the 5c Magic Letter Express and describes the item as "an envelope bearing the postmark of Richmond, Va., July 30, [the stamp] is printed on manila paper, and has a good margin. The envelope is addressed to Mr. Ro. King, Gordonsville, Va." We have no record of this cover other than the 1887 report.
Including the long-lost discovery cover, we record the following examples: 1) 1c 101L1 cancelled "Paid" on Jun. 2, 1865, folded letter handcarried from "Rockland" to Richmond, "June 3d 1865" ms. postmark, delivered locally at appropriate 1c rate, ex Golden, D.K. Collection (Siegel Sale 862, lot 89, realized $37,500); 2) 2c 101L2, ms. "Richmond July 4 '65" cancellation, ex Needham, Boker, Richardson, Moyer, Golden, D.K. Collection (Siegel Sale 862, lot 90, realized $12,500); 3) 5c 101L3, uncancelled, affixed to the undated broadside, ex Needham, Boker; 4) 5c 101L3, ms. "July 18" postmark and part of Richmond Va. Jul. 19 duplex datestamp and cork cancel (applied by post office), found by George Sloane, ex Boker, the stamp offered here; 5) 5c 101L3 tied by ms. "Richmond July 10/65" postmark on cover to Talbot B. Coleman, Staunton Va., ex Needham, Boker; and 6) the Bastable discovery example, 5c 101L3, reported to be dated Jul. 30, 1865, on cover to Robert King in Gordonsville Va., whereabouts unknown and no confirming photo.
The recorded dates establish a time period from June 3 through July 30, 1865. The covers to Staunton and Gordonsville, as well as the incoming cover from Rockland, indicate that the Magic Letter Express used railroad lines to convey mail distances as far as 140 track miles from Richmond. This local post and inter-city express was blatantly illegal.
This stamp was found by George Sloane. Ex Boker.
FINE. ONE OF SIX RECORDED COVERS BEARING MASON'S NEW ORLEANS CITY EXPRESS 2-CENT STAMP, OF WHICH THREE ARE TIED.
This December 1850 usage falls within the period from July 1850 through August 1851, when Mason's operated prior to the formation of the New Orleans carrier department. As observed by Dr. Hubert C. Skinner (Texas Philatelist, Feb. 1969), two different city-delivery rates have been found on Mason's covers. This December 1850 usage is a 2c rate, while the Feb. 6, 1851, cover has a 1c stamp. There is no rate change evidenced by the four recorded Mason's 2c stamped covers delivered to or from the post office from July 1850 through August 1851. One local cover (number 4 below) is dated Apr. 21 (1851), but it has a 2c stamp; we have not read the letter, addressed to the Archbishop of New Orleans, but perhaps it originated outside New Orleans. Based on the Feb. 1851 1c cover, it seems that Mason reduced the local rate from 2c to 1c between Dec. 27, 1850, and Feb. 6, 1851, which may explain the need for a re-rated 102L1 stamp.
Our records contain seven 102L2 stamps, including the following six on covers, listed chronologically: 1) Jul. 4 (1850 contents) New Orleans datestamp (10c rate), stamp with wide left sheet margin and cancelled (not tied) by Mason's small circle (no datestamp) on folded letter to Chas. T. Pollard, Montgomery Ala., ex Ackerman, Caspary; 2) Dec. 26, 1850 folded letter locally addressed to J. R. Hyde, stamp tied by red grid, Dec. 27 company datestamp, the cover offered here, ex Worthington, Caspary, Middendorf, Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1329, realized $9,000 hammer); 3) Mar. 25 (1851 contents) New Orleans datestamp (10c rate), stamp tied by red grid, Mar. 25 company datestamp on back of folded letter to Dr. Banks, New York City, ex Ferrary, Hollowbush; 4) Apr. 21 (1851?) company datestamp, stamp cancelled by red grid on folded letter to Rev. Anthony Blane, Archbishop of New Orleans, P.F. records; 5) Jul. 4 (1851 contents) New Orleans datestamp (new 5c rate), stamp tied by Mason's small circle (no datestamp) on folded letter to Eleanor Fratherly, Sodus Pt. N.Y., ex Boker; and 6) Aug. 9 (1851 contents) New Orleans datestamp, "Way 6" and "Adv. 1" handstamps on Aug. 7 folded letter from Mobile to Carl Marten, New Orleans, stamp has trace of red ink but not cancelled, ex Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1330, realized $10,000 hammer). In addition to the six stamps on covers, we record one off-cover stamp on piece with the Mason's small circle and another stamp that was probably added to a cover (ex Hall).
Ex Worthington, Caspary, Middendorf and Golden. With 1999 P.F. certificate
EXTREMELY FINE. ONE OF THREE RECORDED COVERS BEARING INTACT EXAMPLES OF THE MEARIS' CITY DESPATCH POST STAMPS. THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED 2-CENT COVER AND THE ONLY MEARIS VALENTINE USAGE. AN ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING COMBINATION OF QUALITY AND RARITY.
A letter given to Mearis for delivery within the city was charged 2c. This is the only recorded example of the city-delivery rate, in this case paid by a single 2c stamp, Type G, which we have assigned to Position 1 in our plating analysis (see Golden sale catalogue Siegel Sale 817, p. 301, or go to http://www.siegelauctions.com/enc/carriers/mearis.htm). It is identical to Type F (Position 3), with the same type fonts used for each of the four lines, and the diamond ornaments in each corner. The differences between Types F and G are more apparent when one is overlayed on the other.
This beautiful Valentine cover was donated by the Garrett family to the Princeton University Library and was deaccessioned through our firm in 1981. We wish to make one observation, which may be pure coincidence, but the stamp on this Valentine was left uncancelled, just as the Davis's Penny Post stamp on the Valentine offered in the Golden sale (lot 1020) was left uncancelled, in contrast with other known examples. In both cases, it is possible that a cancellation was considered an impolite and aesthetic detraction from the beauty of the Valentine.
Illustrated in Kelly's CCP series (Vol. 50, No. 3, p. 150). Ex Princeton University Library and Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1333, realized $15,000 hammer).
EXTREMELY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF THE MEARIS' CITY DESPATCH POST STAMP WITH THIS DISTINCTIVE TYPE ARRANGEMENT -- THIS STAMP IS THE SINGULAR BASIS FOR THE SCOTT 103L6 LISTING.
This 1c type is readily identified by the upper and lower case "City Despatch", the ornate "Post" font, and the sans-serif type used for "M. W. Mearis", none of which is found on any of the other positions in the plate. Assuming that the two bottom stamps in our plate reconstruction have the same large block type for "M. W. Mearis", the only available position for this 1c type is Position 2.
Illustrated in Kelly's CCP series (Vol. 50, No. 3, p. 152). Ex Caspary, Boker, Richardson and Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1334, realized $10,000 hammer). With 1999 P.F. certificate
ONE OF TWO RECORDED COVERS BEARING FRAGMENTS OF MEARIS' CITY DESPATCH POST 2-CENT STAMP.
The ex-Caspary se-tenant pair originally had a fragment of the adjoining stamp below at lower left, which showed part of the "City Despatch" label (the margin was later trimmed to improve the appearance). The fragment showed a serifed typeface used for "City Despatch" and floral corner ornaments, which rule out any of the other 2c types -- we call it Type K. The cover offered here bears the only example of the type, which would probably be given its own Scott number (103L1A) if it was a complete stamp.
Ex Kelly (illustrated in his CCP series, Vol. 50, No. 3, p. 153) and Golden
ONE OF TWO RECORDED FRAGMENT USAGES OF MEARIS' CITY DESPATCH POST 2-CENT STAMP.
This front previously had a label adhering to lower left with a Hanford's Penny Post handstamp, which has been removed. There are only four recorded examples of the rectangular "City Despatch" handstamp, this being the only one with the Mearis adhesive. Three of the four are listed by Steven M. Roth in his Feb. 1997 Chronicle article on Baltimore locals.
Ex Abt and Golden.