VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONLY SEVEN EXAMPLES OF PRICE'S EIGHTH AVENUE POST OFFICE STAMP ARE KNOWN TO US -- ALL BUT ONE ARE UNCANCELLED ON COVERS.
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 until 1857-58. The 1855-56 directory lists his occupation as "express" and in 1856-58 it is given as "subpost." Russell issued a stamp very similar in design to Price's.
We have located seven examples of Price's 120L1 stamp, all uncancelled, six of which are on covers (at least three did not originate). We cannot be certain this stamp originated, although the "Paid 3 cents" -- applied to the cover before the 3c 1851 was affixed -- is positive evidence that a local post was involved in bringing it to the post office for mailing. Such notations were usually made when a coin was given to the post.
Ex Caspary and Hall. With 2001 P.F. certificate as a genuine stamp but declining opinion as to usage.
EXTREMELY FINE STAMP AND ONE OF NINE RECORDED PRIEST'S DESPATCH BLACK-ON-PINK USAGES.
Steven M. Roth's census lists eight covers with 121L4, and we have added one additional cover (see Golden sale, lot 1445). Not all of the recorded covers have stamps that necessarily originated.
Pencil note on back "Found in Phila. 1919." Ex Needham, Boker, Lilly and Golden. With 1999 P.F. certificate.
FINE AND RARE. ONE OF ONLY NINE PRIEST'S DESPATCH BLACK-ON-PINK USAGES.
Another cover to Henry Seybert is listed among the nine 121L4 covers in the Roth census. Although the paper of this stamp is classified as Rose, our observation is that it is unlike the example offered in the previous lot and might be a white paper that has been toned by gum.
Ex Golden. With 1999 P.F. certificate stating that the stamp has been removed and replaced on this front of origin
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONLY SIX PRIEST'S 121L6 COVERS ARE RECORDED IN ROTH CENSUS.
The Roth census (Penny Post, January 1994) lists six 121L6 covers, including four in combination with the 3c 1851.
With 2001 P.F. certificate
ONE OF THE RAREST OF ALL INDEPENDENT MAIL USAGES FROM THE ONLY STEAMBOAT CARRIER TO ISSUE STAMPS.
Prince's Letter Dispatch was established by J. H. Prince of Portland, Maine, and carried mail by steamboat to Boston, which is probably why it continued to function without government interference as late as 1869. The pictorial stamps used by Prince were engraved and printed by Lowell & Brett of Boston (Lowell's imprint appears below the steamboat vignette). Although an abundant supply of unused stamps reached philatelic hands, genuinely used stamps are extremely rare. Larry Lyons records eleven Prince 122L1 covers, including fronts only (The Penny Post, October 2002).
The Scott Catalogue has two separate listings for this stamp tied on cover with No. 65 or No. 94. The former is priced at $8,000.00, and the latter at $4,750.00.
VERY FINE. ONE OF THREE RECORDED STAMPS ISSUED BY REED'S CITY DESPATCH POST, THE FIRST LOCAL POST IN SAN FRANCISCO. ONLY TWO 126L2 STAMPS ARE RECORDED, EACH USED ON SMALL COVERS ADDRESSED IN THE SAME HAND TO WELL-KNOWN SAN FRANCISCO CITIZENS, WHICH UNDOUBTEDLY CONTAINED INVITATIONS. THIS WAS THE DISCOVERY COPY OF REED'S STAMP.
All that is known about Reed's City Despatch Post was provided by Henry B. Phillips, who published Filatelic Facts and Fallacies" during the 1890's and included an article on Reed's post in the April 1894 issue. Subsequent writers have repeated Phillips' statements, almost verbatim, and we shall, too.
The December 17, 1853, edition of the Daily Alta California carried an advertisement by Reed that is considered to be the inaugural announcement of this post, the earliest established in San Francisco. The other known contemporary reference to Reed's City Despatch Post is found in the San Francisco 1854 city directory published by Le Count & Strong, which states that the post was owned by Henry Reed and held its offices at Adams & Co.'s Express on Montgomery Street. It is clear from the advertisements and one of the recorded covers that Reed operated the City Despatch Post as a local delivery arm of Adams. Under the direction of Daniel H. Haskell, the Adams firm prospered as an express company and banking house in California. In 1855, in the midst of a national banking crisis, the firm was dissolved, and its express business was taken over by Freeman & Co. Presumably, the City Despatch Post closed at this time. Henry Reed is possibly the same-named employee of the Holladay Overland Mail and Express Co. who operated the Penny Express Co. in 1866.
Our records contain three Reed's covers: 1) 126L1 Green Paper, tied by Adams & Co. large double-circle datestamp on Jul. 15, 1853 folded letter from Guatemala to James Bell & Co., San Francisco, framed "Via Nicaragua/Ahead of the Mails" handstamp, discovered by E. W. Smith in 1903 in San Francisco warehouse (per 1927 letter to Needham), ex Ferrary, Jessup and Boker; 2) 126L2 Blue Paper, uncancelled, used on unsealed cover to John S. Hagar Esq. in San Francisco, ex Wiltsee, Caspary, Boker, Clifford and Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1457, realized $27,000 hammer); and 3) 126L2 Blue Paper, uncancelled, slight creases, used on cover to "Mr. Warren, Horticulturalist", original publisher of the California Farmer, same handwriting as No. 2 cover to Judge Hagar, the cover offered here, ex Phillips, Lichtenstein, Needham, Jessup, Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1458) and Kuphal (Siegel Sale 927, lot 317).
This envelope was unsealed when mailed and almost certainly contained an invitation (the flap is now partly sealed). A pencil notation on back reads "Mrs. Cooper at Mrs. Gallreath, 280 Clay above Sutton", which may indicate that the invitation reply was returned in this envelope. This cover was discovered in 1892 and reported by Henry B. Phillips in Filatelic Facts and Fallacies (Apr. 1894). It was exhibited in 1894 at the Midwinter Fair in the philatelic exhibit. When the Phillips collection was acquired by Alfred F. Lichtenstein, the Reed's Warren cover was presented to Henry C. Needham. With the 1950's dispersal of Needham's collection, the cover was acquired by Edgar B. Jessup. It was subsequently acquired by David Golden and sold through the Siegel firm in 1999 to Edgar Kuphal. The Kuphal collection was sold in 2006 (this cover was acquired by Mr. Geisler in the 2007 Rarities sale).
Ex H. B. Phillips, Lichtenstein, Needham, Jessup, Golden and Kuphal. With 1976 and 1999 P.F. certificates. Scott Retail $27,500.00
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).
Ex Kuphal. With 1997 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $3,500.00