VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A BEAUTIFUL STRIKE OF THE FAMOUS "RUNNING PONY" HANDSTAMP ON A COVER CARRIED BY THE LEGENDARY PONY EXPRESS EARLY IN THE GOVERNMENT MANDATED SERVICE PERIOD.
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 combines all three postage elements and was carried on the fifth eastbound Pony Express trip after the new rates and stamps were introduced, leaving San Francisco on July 13 and arriving in St. Joseph on July 29th. There are two known covers that survive from this trip, out of an average of 305 letters carried per eastbound trip between July 1, 1861 and the last Pony trip on October 23, 1861. (Frajola, Kramer, Walske book)
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. In November 1861, after completion of the first transcontinental telegraph, the Pony Express ceased operation.
Pony Express Census No. E114.
VERY FINE EXAMPLE OF THE WELLS, FARGO & COMPANY 25-CENT BLUE PONY EXPRESS STAMP ON A COVER FROM THE CELEBRATED CRITTENDEN CORRESPONDENCE.
Ex Kramer. With 1981 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $4,000.00
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. Ex Golden and Kuphal. With 1999 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $11,000.00