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Sale 950 — U.S. and C.S.A. Postal History

Sale Date — Wednesday, 19 December, 2007

Category — Steamboat Mail

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
2072
c
Sale Number 950, Lot Number 2072, Steamboat MailSteamer Knickerbocker, Steamer KnickerbockerSteamer Knickerbocker. Sharply-defined and detailed strike of orange-red "Father Knickerbocker" in circle handstamp on folded letter datelined "New York, May 18, 1846" from Aaron Claflin at 253 Pearl Street to William Carter in Defiance O., red "New-York Ship May 2(0?)" circular datestamp and matching "STEAM BOAT" straightline handstamp, ms. "10" rate, docketed on back with May 28 receipt date, vertical file fold clear of markings

EXTREMELY FINE. THE FINER OF TWO RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THIS SPECTACULAR STEAMBOAT MARKING, APPLIED TO MAIL CARRIED BY THE KNICKERBOCKER ON THE LONG ISLAND SOUND BETWEEN NEW YORK AND STONINGTON.

This extraordinary cover is accompanied by an eight-page analysis, dated January 5, 1978, from Calvet M. Hahn to the cover's owner in 1978, Louis Grunin. The key points of Mr. Hahn's analysis are summarized below.

The Knickerbocker was an 858-ton steamer built in 1843 by Smith & Dimson for Daniel Drew and Isaac Newton. The engine was formerly in the DeWitt Clinton. Advertisements indicate that the Knickerbocker had 60 private staterooms, berths for 500 people and several large parlor rooms for families. The steamer's maiden voyage was on August 21, 1843, for the People's Line on the Hudson River, running between Albany and New York City. Beginning on April 1, 1846, the Knickerbocker was moved to the Long Island Sound, where it ran the regular route between Stonington and New York City, providing a water connection to the Stonington & Providence and Boston & Providence railroad lines. In 1848 it was moved to the Norwich line. According to an advertisement in the New York Courier & Enquirer (appearing from April 11 to June 30, 1846), the captain of the Knickerbocker was S. Thayer, and the steamer departed from Pier 3 on the North River on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from Stonington on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The unusual use of the "New-York Ship" datestamp and "Steam Boat" straightline on this cover originating in New York City is explained in Mr. Hahn's analysis as follows: "Mr. Claflin [the sender] probably put this letter in his pocket to drop into the pier box as he passed on his way home to Brooklyn, on May 18, 1846. It would be easier than sending someone to the post office. If he dropped it into the box on the 18th [Monday in 1846], rather than being viewed as incoming mail it would have been handled as outgoing mail by the Independent Line and put on board the Knickerbocker for Stonington. In Stonington the error would have been spotted Tuesday morning the 19th and put back on board for return to New York. Upon return it would have been taken with other letters to the ship letter office and postmarked Wednesday morning the 20th and despatched via land mail to Ohio. It could not have made it back earlier as the Knickerbocker departed on its return at 8 p.m. Tuesday the 19th from Stonington."

Mr. Hahn surmises that the "Father Knickerbocker" handstamp was used to advertise the new service which began on April 1, 1846. It is similar to name-of-packet and illustrated packetboat markings on Mississippi River steamboat mail. Mr. Hahn speculates that the rarity of this marking is due to the fact that most letters went via Providence direct on the New Jersey Steam Navigation Line's vessels.

Ex Knapp, Klein, Simmons and Grunin. With 1978 P.F. certificate.

E. 10,000-15,000
25,000
2073
c
Sale Number 950, Lot Number 2073, Steamboat MailSteam Boat Belle Creole, Steam Boat Belle CreoleSteam Boat Belle Creole. Well-struck red oval handstamp on blue 1850 folded letter datelined "Vicksburg Dec. 9, 1850" to New Orleans, red "New Orleans La. Dec. 12" circular datestamp with matching "Steam 10" in double circle, fresh and Very Fine

E. 300-400
700
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2074
c
Sale Number 950, Lot Number 2074, Steamboat MailSteamer Cuba, Steamer CubaSteamer Cuba. Red oval handstamp struck inverted on blue folded letter datelined "Vicksburg July 25, 1851" to New Orleans, neat "New Orleans La. Jul. 27" circular datestamp and matching "Way 6" handstamp, fresh and Very Fine

E. 200-300
375
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2075
c
Sale Number 950, Lot Number 2075, Steamboat MailSteamer S. W. Downs, Steamer S. W. DownsSteamer S. W. Downs. Well-struck red oval handstamp on buff cover to New Orleans, matching "Paid, E. A. Dentzel, Agt. P.O., N.O." handstamp, light file folds, Very Fine example of this scarce marking

E. 200-300
180
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2076
c
Sale Number 950, Lot Number 2076, Steamboat MailFrom Natchitoches, Packet, D. R. Carroll, From Natchitoches, Packet, D. R. CarrollFrom Natchitoches, Packet, D. R. Carroll. Well-struck blue oval handstamp on cover with 3c Dull Red, Ty. III (26), tied by ms. at corner, to New Orleans, ms. "Valuable", fresh and Very Fine

E. 300-400
225
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2077
c
Sale Number 950, Lot Number 2077, Steamboat MailSteamer J. F. Pargoud, J. W. Tobin, Commander, Steamer J. F. Pargoud, J. W. Tobin, CommanderSteamer J. F. Pargoud, J. W. Tobin, Commander. Well-struck handstamp on cover bearing 3c Dull Red, Ty. III (26), pen cancelled, to New Orleans, Very Fine, Chase's notes on back

E. 200-300
200
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2078
c
Sale Number 950, Lot Number 2078, Steamboat MailFrank Paragoud, Frank ParagoudFrank Paragoud. Green corner card for New Orleans and Vicksburg Tuesday Packet on 3c Pink entire to New Orleans, cancelled by "Vicksburg Miss. Jun. 20" duplex, usual small filing holes, Very Fine

E. 200-300
375
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2079
c
Sale Number 950, Lot Number 2079, Steamboat MailFrom Steamer Storm, From Steamer StormFrom Steamer Storm. Well-struck red oval handstamp on blue folded cover to New Orleans, also with red "Way 11 Cents" and "New Orleans La. Feb. 3" circular datestamp, light vertical file fold, Very Fine, a pretty cover

E. 300-400
425
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2080
c
Sale Number 950, Lot Number 2080, Steamboat MailNatchitoches Packet, Swamp Fox, Natchitoches Packet, Swamp FoxNatchitoches Packet, Swamp Fox. Red oval handstamp on 3c Red Nesbitt entire to New Orleans, cancelled by "Steam" handstamp, "New Orleans La. Feb. 19" circular datestamp with matching "Due 3" handstamp, ms. "Valuable", fresh and Very Fine, probably charged 3c due to weight

E. 300-400
550
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2081
c
Sale Number 950, Lot Number 2081, Steamboat MailSteamer Vicksburg, Steamer VicksburgSteamer Vicksburg. Blue boxed handstamp cancels 3c Pink entire to New Orleans, fresh and Very Fine

E. 200-300
140
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2082
c
Steamboat Covers. The Latshaw collection of steamboat covers mounted and described in four volumes, 123 covers (possibly a few fronts), includes 77 name-of-boat markings (about one-third have stamps, mostly 3c 1851-57's or Nesbitt entires), "Steam" straightline in various forms on 18 stampless and 7 stamped covers (mostly 3c 1851-57's), a few route agent markings and 17 late 19th Century entires with straightlines identifying name of vessel, many clearly-struck red ovals, a bold Steamer Rapides illustrated steamboat handstamp (3c 1851 on front only), most have minor cover faults, some light or part strikes, still an outstanding collection of this fascinating subject, worth careful examination

E. 5,000-7,500
4,000
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2083
c
Way Covers. Collection of 37 covers described and mounted on pages in one volume, most with Mobile Ala. ("Way 11") or New Orleans markings, includes early ms. "Way 25" on cover to New Orleans, 5c 1847 with "Way 1" in manuscript, stampless with "Important & Valuable" endorsement, 1851's and Nesbitt entires incl. one with three 3c 1851's and "Steamboat Piota" oval, mixed condition, most are presentable, several scarce markings

E. 1,000-1,500
1,600
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