FINE APPEARANCE. A VERY RARE COVER BEARING THE WELLS' LETTER EXPRESS 10-CENT STAMP DEPICTING A MARINE CHARGING ASHORE WITH SWORD AND FLAG.
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.
Ex Gordon N. John
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. With 2007 P.F. certificate