EXTREMELY FINE SET OF WELLS, FARGO & COMPANY'S HORSE & RIDER STAMPS ISSUED FOR USE ON THE LEGENDARY PONY EXPRESS. VERY FEW SETS OF THIS SUPERB QUALITY COULD BE ASSEMBLED.
The Pony Express was launched in 1860 by the overland freight express firm operated by William H. Russell, Alexander Majors and William B. Waddell. In an attempt to secure the lucrative government mail contract, the Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company announced that it would carry letters between California and the railroad terminus at St. Joseph, Missouri, in less than ten days. The earliest advertisements appeared in January 1860, and the first pony rider left the Alta Telegraph office in San Francisco at 4:00 p.m. on April 3, 1860. The expressman and his bag of mail did not actually ride off toward St. Joseph. He first boarded the steamer New World and traveled up the Sacramento River to Sacramento. From there another horse and rider galloped off on the first leg of the journey. Several riders and horses were used along the arduous journey, and the mail reached St. Joseph ten days later, on April 13. The operation continued until October 1861.
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. The contract also stipulated the mandatory U.S. postage charge of 10c per half ounce. 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.
Although some of the Horse & Rider stamps were remaindered, they are scarce, and the vast majority do not have four margins or have faults. This superb set would be extremely difficult to duplicate.
Each stamp has been plated and has a 2007 P.S.E. certificate
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.
VERY FINE EXAMPLE OF THE WELLS, FARGO & COMPANY 25-CENT BLUE PONY EXPRESS STAMP ON A COVER FROM THE CELEBRATED CRITTENDEN CORRESPONDENCE.
With 1986 P.F. certificate (before cover was affected by light exposure)
VERY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLE OF THE VIRGINIA CITY PONY EXPRESS 25-CENT RED ON COVER FROM THE FAMOUS CRITTENDEN CORRESPONDENCE. THE RED PONY STAMP IS MUCH SCARCER ON COVER THAN THE BLUE.
With 1981 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED COVER WITH WELLS, FARGO & COMPANY'S "DROPPED IN NEW YORK POST OFFICE" STAMP, WHICH PREPAID THE EXPRESS RATE FROM CALIFORNIA TO NEW YORK.
The Scott Catalogue erroneously lists this stamp under "Newspaper Stamps" in the Wells, Fargo & Co. section. In fact, its real purpose was not to prepay newspaper charges, but to pay the express fee on letters carried by Wells, Fargo & Co. over their steamship route and "dropped in New York Post Office" as the stamp states. In this case, the letter was addressed to a local New York City firm and was probably delivered by or picked up from Wells, Fargo & Co.'s agent.
We record only this cover, one on piece offered in the Golden sale and five off-cover stamps (including a stamp added to a cover, described as such in the Middendorf collection).
From the March 1973 Robson Lowe sale and ex Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1585, realized $10,000 hammer). With 1999 P.F. certificate