Sale 1063 — United States Postal History
Sale Date — Thursday-Friday, 19-20 December, 2013
Category — Western Mails cont: Transcontinental and Virginia City Pony Express
VERY FINE. ONE OF SIX RECORDED PONY COVERS WITH THE NEW YORK RED “PAID” OVAL HANDSTAMP USED IN COMBINATION WITH THE ST. JOSEPH RUNNING PONY OVAL.
There are three interesting features of this cover. First, westbound Pony covers are rarer than eastbound, and only twelve are listed in the FKW census with the New York oval “Paid” handstamp, of which six are struck in combination with the St. Joseph Running Pony oval. Second, this cover demonstrates the “under 3,000 miles” loophole that allowed westbound mail to be sent in bundles from the East Coast to St. Joseph by mail with only 3c U.S. postage. This loophole was closed by the Act of February 27, 1861, which eliminated the mileage provision and required 10c postage on any letter crossing the Rocky Mountains. A third unusual feature of this cover is the date change in the St. Joseph oval. Close examination reveals that the “SEP” month slug was used in the oval and was over-struck by “OCT” in a separate operation. October 4, 1860, is the correct date.
FKW Census W17. Trip WT-41. Illustrated in Pony Express--The Great Gamble, Roy S. Bloss (endpapers). Ex Caspary, Beals, Kramer and Twigg-Smith. With 1996 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE. AN OUTSTANDING AND VERY RARE EXAMPLE OF THE SHORT-LIVED WELLS, FARGO & COMPANY $2.00 HORSE & RIDER FIRST ISSUE ON COVER.
This cover was carried on the Saturday, June 22, 1861, trip from San Francisco, which arrived at St. Joseph on July 4. It is addressed to A. W. Canfield, who received 18 of the recorded eastbound Pony Express covers, including the two Civil War patriotic Flag-and-Cannon covers (one of which is in the Smithsonian National Postal Museum collection).
When Phase II (Interim Phase) started on April 1, 1861, the rate for a Pony Express letter was substantially reduced to $2 per half-ounce, down from the $5 per half-ounce or $2.50 per quarter-ounce rates in effect during the previous year. At the same time, the new agents--Wells, Fargo & Company--had special stamps and envelopes printed for use on Pony Express letters. The $2 rate was in effect for a brief period, from April 1 to June 30, 1861. The FKW census records 37 $2.00 Red covers.
The $2 and $4 were printed in sheets of 20 (5 wide by 4 high). Rather than build up the printing stone from intermediate transfer groups or from a primary matrix containing the denomination, the printers used a blank matrix to enter each subject on the stone for each value. This required a total of 40 transfers (20 for each value). The denomination (shaded numerals “2” and “4”) then had to be individually transferred to each subject on both stones, thus requiring another 40 separate transfers. It seems incredible that experienced lithographers such as Britton & Rey did not simplify the process by using intermediate transfers. Based on the fact that the $2 and $4 of the July 1861 issue (in Green and Black) were printed from the same stones as the April 1861 issue, it is certain that the printers had retained the two original stones. Lithographic stones were usually re-used by erasing the image and repolishing the surface, but in the case of the Pony Express stones, they were evidently preserved for future printings.
FKW Census E103. Trip ET-111. Ex Hall. Illustrated in Nathan-Boggs book (p. 42).
EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. FEWER THAN SIX USED EXAMPLES OF THE $4.00 GREEN HORSE & RIDER FIRST ISSUE HAVE BEEN REPORTED. THIS IS QUITE POSSIBLY THE FINEST USED COPY EXTANT.
The $4.00 Green was used briefly during Rate Period 3 to pay the double $2.00 per half-ounce rate. Only one cover is recorded (FKW Census No. E105), and we have seen four genuinely cancelled stamps off cover.
Ex Twigg-Smith. With 2009 P.F. certificate.
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. FEWER THAN TEN USED EXAMPLES OF THE $2.00 HORSE & RIDER SECOND ISSUE ARE REPORTED.
The $2.00 Green Second Issue is extremely scarce in used condition. Only two covers are recorded, and we have seen approximately eight genuinely cancelled stamps off cover.
Ex Twigg-Smith. With 1996 P.F. certificate.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF FIVE RECORDED USED EXAMPLES OF THE $4.00 BLACK PONY EXPRESS STAMP.
Only two covers with the $4.00 Black (Second Issue) are recorded, each worth in the mid six figures.
Ex Caspary. With 2005 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. A BEAUTIFUL USED EXAMPLE OF THE PONY EXPRESS GARTER STAMP.
Ex Hall and Twigg-Smith. With 2009 P.F. certificate.
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.
Congress awarded the mail contract along the Central Route to the Overland Mail Company on March 12, 1861, effective July 1. The contract paid $1,000,000 per year for mail/passenger service along the Central Route and required the company "...during the continuance of their Contract, or until completion of The Overland telegraph, to run a Pony Express semi-weekly at a Schedule time of ten days eight months of the year and twelve days four months of the year..." This period of operation is known as Phase III, which corresponds to Rate Period 4 (July 1-October 26, 1861). During this period, Wells, Fargo & Co. issued new stamps and envelopes to reflect the agreed-upon government contract rate of $1 per half-ounce for the Pony Express. In addition, Wells, Fargo & Co. charged a fee for service in California (10c if a franked envelope was used, 25c if not) and U.S. postage (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 Wednesday, July 17, and arriving in St. Joseph on July 29. There are four recorded covers from this trip. The addressee, Henry I. Beers, was a prominent California businessman who returned to New York in 1859 and made his fortune in oil and real estate in Western Pennsylvania.
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. Trip ET-118. Ex Geisler. With 2008 P.F. certificate.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A SUPERB CORNER-MARGIN COPY OF THE VIRGINIA CITY PONY EXPRESS 10-CENT BROWN ON COVER.
Ex D.K. Collection and Twigg-Smith. With 1992 P.F. certificate.
VERY FINE EXAMPLE OF THE WELLS, FARGO & COMPANY 25-CENT BLUE PONY EXPRESS STAMP ON A COVER FROM THE CELEBRATED CRITTENDEN CORRESPONDENCE.
This cover and letter were sent to Clara C. Crittenden by her husband, Alexander Parker Crittenden, a prominent West Coast attorney, while he was residing in Virginia City. The move to Nevada became necessary after California passed a law prohibiting the practice of law by anyone who would not take the loyalty oath. “Parker” Crittenden was a pro-Southerner who chose to relocate to Virginia City, rather than swear allegiance to the Federal government. His wife stayed in San Francisco for some time, and the two corresponded frequently while he was away. A few years later he was shot dead by his mistress in front of his wife and son.
Ex Kramer and Geisler. With 1981 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $7,500.00
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.
This cover was sent to Clara C. Crittenden by her husband, Alexander Parker Crittenden, a prominent West Coast attorney, while he was residing in Virginia City. The move to Nevada became necessary after California passed a law prohibiting the practice of law by anyone who would not take the loyalty oath. “Parker” Crittenden was a pro-Southerner who chose to relocate to Virginia City, rather than swear allegiance to the Federal government. His wife stayed in San Francisco for some time, and the two corresponded frequently while he was away. A few years later he was shot dead by his mistress in front of his wife and son.
Ex Kuphal. 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. Ex Golden and Kuphal. With 1999 and 2011 P.F. certificates. Scott Retail $7,500.00