VERY FINE. A RARE AND DESIRABLE EXAMPLE OF A SHEET-MARGIN 12-CENT 1851 ISSUE USED ON A "VIA NICARAGUA" COVER.
This is a double-weight letter, as the normal rate at this time was 6c. Carried on the Brother Jonathan, which departed San Francisco Sep. 1 and arrived San Juan del Sur on Sep. 15. It was then likely carried on the Vanderbilt line's Star of the West, which departed San Juan del Norte on about Oct. 1 and arrived in New York on Oct. 9.
Ex Ackerman, Emerson, Knapp and Risvold.
VERY FINE. AN OUTSTANDING BISECTED USE OF THE 12-CENT 1851 ISSUE WITH A REMARKABLY CLEAR STRIKE OF THE "VIA NICARAGUA/AHEAD OF THE MAILS" LETTER BAG OPERATOR HANDSTAMP.
According to research by James Allen, the 1st Assistant PMG's first official notice to postmasters that bisected stamps were invalid was published on September 12, 1853 (Chronicle 239). Therefore, this almost certainly originated in San Francisco prior to the official POD announcement. A similar letter from California, arriving in New York on September 25, was treated as unpaid and marked postage due (Siegel Sale 1041, lot 340).
VERY FINE. A RARE AND DESIRABLE EXAMPLE OF THE "VIA NICARAGUA" MARKING FROM THE SULLIVAN NEWS OFFICE IN SAN FRANCISCO.
VERY FINE. A RARE EXAMPLE OF THE "FROM SACRAMENTO, VIA LOS ANGELES SIX-HORSE STAGECOACH DESIGN.
Our Levi records contain only three examples of this "From Sacramento" design, one of which has that portion crossed out.
VERY FINE. A REMARKABLY RARE ILLUSTRATED OVERLAND MAIL TRAIN PROPAGANDA COVER, USED AFTER THE STAMP WAS DEMONETIZED.
VERY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL COVER WITH THE "VIA PANAMA" ILLUSTRATED SIDEWHEEL STEAMSHIP DESIGN.
Ex Knapp, Haas and Jarrett. Illustrated in Letters of Gold (p. 83)
FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF THREE CONFIRMED COVERS BEARING THE EXTREMELY RARE BERFORD & COMPANY 6-CENT GREEN.
Richard G. Berford and Loring L. Lombard operated the Berford & Co. letter-carrying business beginning in 1851. Berford & Co.'s Express primarily served the West Coast of North, Central and South America, but also advertised rates to Hawaii, Hong Kong, China and other places. Although their letter and package express business was fairly large, the adhesive stamps for letter mail are rare. During the course of their operation, there were several bitter clashes with the government over their mail route. The company is reported to have been sold in June 1854.
We record the following seven 6c (11L2) stamps, on or off cover: 1) cancelled by colorless impression of handstamp on cover marked "Jamaica", same correspondence as the cover offered here, ex Caspary, Boker; 2) uncancelled off cover, ex Souren; 3) tied by smudge on Sep. 29, 1851 folded letter from Jamaica to N.Y., the cover offered here, ex Worthington, Hyzen, Kuphal and Geisler; 4) uncancelled on cover to the Mayor of Albany, Siegel Jun. 20, 1944 sale (the status of this cover is uncertain); 5) cut to shape on Aug. 1852 cover to Paita, ex Chapman, Mason, Horner, Golden, D.K. Collection; 6) cut to shape on same Aug. 1852 cover to Paita as No. 5; and 7) creased, uncancelled, on piece (or possibly on cover), Sloane records.
A 10c rate to the British West Indies was listed in the "Table of Postage" in Berford's June 17, 1851, New York Herald advertisement announcing the "New Postage Law". The same ad listed 6c prepaid rates to certain California towns and a 3c prepaid rate to Chagres or Panama. Evidently the cover offered here and a similar cover from the same correspondence (ex Caspary) were prepaid 6c from Kingston, Jamaica. In the advertisement, the stamps (3c, 10c and 25c) are described and various rates are given, effective July 1, 1851. Obviously, Berford's was acting in response to the U.S. government postage reforms of the same date.
According to http://www.pt5dome.com/ships.htm, the S.S. Ohio was a "wooden side-wheeled steamer, built by Bishop and Simonson, New York, for the United States Mail Steamship Company. She was launched in 1848 and entered service from New York to Chagres via Charleston, Savannah, Havana, and New Orleans on September 20, 1849. She was withdrawn from service along with the S.S. Georgia in 1854, and laid up in New York until 1859. She was broken up in 1860." According to Wierenga's U.S. Incoming Steamship Mail 1847-1875, the Ohio departed Kingston, Jamaica, on September 29, 1851, and arrived at New York on October 6. The U.S. Mail Steamship Company steamers stopped at Kingston for coaling, and this letter describes problems in coaling the Ohio on this particular stop.
Ex Worthington, Hyzen, Kuphal and Geisler. With copy of 1983 and with 2009 P.F. certificates
ONE OF THREE OR FOUR KNOWN EXAMPLES OF THE FREEMAN & CO. EXPRESS STAMP. A MAJOR RARITY OF THE TRANSCONTINENTAL EXPRESSES.
John H. Freeman was a prominent California expressman. In 1851 he sold his business to Adams & Co. and became their agent in Sacramento and Panama. Soon after the collapse of Adams in 1855, Freeman established Freeman & Co.'s Express, and his business grew until November 1859, when he stopped service after selling out to Wells, Fargo & Co.
The Freeman & Co. "To be dropped in New-York Post-Office" Blue stamp is identical -- except for the company name -- to Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Black stamp, listed as Scott 143LP1. It is likely that Freeman & Co. started the service not long before selling out in 1859. Freeman would carry letters outside the mails from California to New York and deposit them (with or without U.S. postage) into the post office. Wells, Fargo & Co. adapted the same stamp design in 1860. The "Dropped" stamps of Freeman or Wells Fargo are extremely rare, and it seems that they were not used extensively. Of the Freeman & Co. stamp, there are two confirmed off-cover examples (and a possible third) and one genuine cover.
Ex Perry (illustrated in his Pat Paragraphs series), Schwartz and Kuphal. Scott Retail $3,500.00
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE PROVISIONAL USE OF THE VANCOUVER'S ISLAND CUSTOM HOUSE SEAL BY POSTMASTER TO INDICATE PREPAYMENT ON A WELLS, FARGO & COMPANY ENTIRE TO THE UNITED STATES.
The customs seal was used by Vancouver's Island postmaster A. C. Anderson to indicate payment of 2-1/2p local postage from July 1858 to June 1859. This is a last-month use of the provisional marking. A similar example from the same correspondence was offered in our Hall sale (Sale 830, lot 875).