FINE. ONE OF TWELVE RECORDED COVERS BEARING THE RARE BLUE EAGLE STAMP OF AMERICAN LETTER MAIL COMPANY.
This use of the rare Blue Eagle stamp probably occurred shortly before the independent mail firms were effectively abolished by the government. On July 1, 1845, the postage rate for distances under 300 miles was reduced to 5c per half-ounce. By the same Act of Congress, Federal law prohibited the carrying of letters by private companies between cities where the Post Office Department offered inter-city mail service. American Letter Mail Company, which had aroused popular support for cheaper domestic postage, was a catalyst for the 1845 legislation. However, it could no longer sustain its fight with the government over mail routes and closed on June 30, 1845.
The Large Eagle stamp in Blue is recorded on covers dated from August 1844 through June 1845, with about half of the reported covers addressed to Hopkins & Weston in New York. The Blue and Black color scheme for the American Letter Mail Co. Large Eagle stamps, which lack a denomination (unlike their predecessor issue, the Small Eagle), may have been modeled upon Great Britain's 1840 Penny Black and Two-Pence Blue. The Blue stamp was used for the single rate, but its original purpose might have been to pay a double rate.
With 1988 P.F. certificate