Contact Siegel
6 West 48th Street
9th Floor
New York, NY 10036
Contact by phone:
New York: (212) 753-6421
Dallas: (214) 754-5991

Sale 1117 — U.S. & Confederate States Postal History

Sale Date — Thursday-Friday, 17-18 December, 2015

Category — Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`s

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
4369
 
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4369, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sMagic Letter Express, Richmond Va., 2c on 1c Black, Manuscript Surcharge (101L1 var -- unlisted), Magic Letter Express, Richmond Va., 2c on 1c Black, Manuscript Surcharge (101L1 var -- unlisted)Magic Letter Express, Richmond Va., 2c on 1c Black, Manuscript Surcharge (101L1 var -- unlisted). Denomination changed by writing "2" over the printed "1" and "s." over the "Cent"denomination, appears to us to be in the same hand as the manuscript cancellations found on other examples, margins showing full outer ornaments, uncancelled, clear impression, large central thinned area

FINE APPEARANCE. THIS IS THE UNIQUE EXAMPLE OF THE ONE-CENT MAGIC LETTER EXPRESS STAMP UPRATED TO TWO CENTS WITH MANUSCRIPT "2" AND "S." -- MAGIC LETTER'S "LOCK AND KEY" STAMPS ARE AMONG THE GREAT RARITIES OF CARRIERS AND LOCALS COLLECTING.

The Magic Letter Express was operated for approximately two months in June and July 1865 by the Richmond firm of Evans, Porter & Co., under the management of Maurice Evans.

With the addition of this stamp, only seven Magic Letter Express stamps are known in total, including the unique 1c on cover, this 1c stamp uprated to 2c, one normal 2c, and four 5c (two on covers). The first example of a Magic Letter Express stamp was described in the June 1887 Quaker City Philatelist as one of two “discoveries of Confederate Locals” by G. M. Bastable, the other being the Liberty Va. Confederate provisional. Bastable is quoted in the article: “The Richmond local, known as the Magic Letter Express, I found among a large correspondence from Richmond, Va., extending from 1840 to 1870. Many of the old envelopes had Confederate stamps of the general issue, and others U.S. stamps of the general issue. I obtained these from a member of the family to whom they were mailed, and among the lot I found the Magic Letter Expresses. The family could give me no information concerning this particular stamp.” The discovery cover resurfaced in a 2010 Rumsey auction (Sale 37) after being “re-discovered” in the late Carl Walske’s reference collection.

1) 1c 101L1 cancelled "Paid" on Jun. 2, 1865, folded letter hand carried from "Rockland" to Richmond, "June 3d 1865" manuscript postmark, delivered locally at appropriate 1c rate, ex Golden, D.K. Collection (Siegel Sale 862, lot 89, realized $37,500);

2) 1c with manuscript "2s.", uprated to 2c, the example offered here;

3) 2c 101L2, manuscript "Richmond July 4 '65" cancellation, ex Needham, Boker, Richardson, Moyer, Golden, D.K. Collection (Siegel Sale 862, lot 90, realized $12,500);

4) 5c 101L3, uncancelled, affixed to the undated broadside, ex Needham, Boker;

5) 5c 101L3, manuscript "July 18" postmark and part of Richmond Va. Jul. 19 duplex datestamp and cork cancel (applied by post office), found by George Sloane, ex Boker and Kuphal (Siegel sale 925, lot 1610, realized $7,000);

6) 5c 101L3 tied by manuscript "Richmond July 10/65" postmark on cover to Talbot B. Coleman, Staunton Va., ex Needham, Boker;

7) the Bastable discovery example, 5c 101L3, dated Jul. 30, 1865, on cover to Robert King in Gordonsville Va., ex Carl Walske (Rumsey Sale 37).

The recorded dates establish a time period from June 3 through July 30, 1865. The covers to Staunton and Gordonsville, as well as the incoming cover from Rockland, indicate that the Magic Letter Express used railroad lines to convey mail distances as far as 140 track miles from Richmond. This local post and inter-city express was blatantly illegal.

The discovery of this new example of the 1c Magic Letter Express would be noteworthy even without the additional previously unlisted variety. The manuscript rate change on this stamp reveals yet another facet of this fascinating post-Civil War mail operation.

Accompanied by photocopy of Evans, Porter & Co. circular advertising the service. The 1c is listed only on cover, with Scott Retail of $40,000.00. The normal 2c is priced in Scott at $14,000.00

E. 5,000-7,500
7,500
4370
ng
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4370, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sMetropolitan Errand & Carrier Express Co., 5c, 10c Red Orange (107L1-107L2), Metropolitan Errand & Carrier Express Co., 5c, 10c Red Orange (107L1-107L2)Metropolitan Errand & Carrier Express Co., 5c, 10c Red Orange (107L1-107L2). Two of 5c and one of 10c, one 5c original gum, other two no gum, clear to large margins, 10c tiny margin tear, Very Fine and scarce trio, one 5c ex Caspary and Middendorf, second 5c ex Lilly, 10c ex Middendorf

925
450
Back to Top
4371
 
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4371, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sNantucket Mass., Fantasy Locals, Nantucket Mass., Fantasy LocalsNantucket Mass., Fantasy Locals. Collection of 10 stamps, woodblock designs depicting sperm whales in various colors and sizes, also two full-rigged ship designs added to 3c 1851-57 covers (one a piece) and "tied" with fake postmarks (these two are reportedly the only known examples), Very Fine, actually quite attractive designs

E. 150-200
375
Back to Top
4372
c
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4372, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sNew York City Express Post, New York N.Y., 2c Black on Green Glazed (111L1), New York City Express Post, New York N.Y., 2c Black on Green Glazed (111L1)New York City Express Post, New York N.Y., 2c Black on Green Glazed (111L1). Rectangular margins ranging from huge to touched at top, small piece of top right corner replaced, typical glazed paper crackling, affixed to folded cover to New Haven Conn., red "New-York 5 cts. 20 Jun." integral-rate circular datestamp, contents no loner present but pencil 1847 notation, Very Fine appearance, scarce in any condition, with 2015 P.F. certificate

E. 300-400
275
Back to Top
4373
 
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4373, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sPrince's Letter Dispatch, Portland Me., (unstated value) Black (122L1), Prince's Letter Dispatch, Portland Me., (unstated value) Black (122L1)Prince's Letter Dispatch, Portland Me., (unstated value) Black (122L1). Eight used and three unused, used selected for range of cancellations, incl. three with blue serrated oval company handstamp, three with black Boston circular datestamps, two with rim of red circular datestamp (Boston), several also with pen "X" cancels, only one cut to shape, others with clear to large margins, some minor faults, Fine-Very Fine appearance, a very scarce group and desirable specialist's lot, the blue company handstamp is particularly rare with only a handful known

E. 500-750
650
Back to Top
4374
c
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4374, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sRobinson & Co., San Francisco, Robinson & Co., San FranciscoRobinson & Co., San Francisco. Full and clear strike of "Robinson & Co. City Delivery" oval handstamp, 3c Rose (65) cancelled by grid in circle with second strike of "San Francisco Cal. Feb. 4, 1863" double-circle datestamp on buff cover to local street address, stamp has small tear at left, cover reduced at left, minor edgewear with small mended tear and soiling, still a Very Fine strike of this rare marking, Robinson & Co. was operated by John C. Robinson, who bought out Early's San Francisco Letter Express in 1862 and continued to deliver mail locally for about one year until selling out to Gahagan & Howe, very few used examples of Robinson's printed franks (two styles) are known, this is the only example of Robinson's handstamp we have been able to locate, ex Dale-Lichtenstein, with 2004 P.F. certificate

E. 1,500-2,000
1,600
Back to Top
4375
ng
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4375, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sSpence & Brown Express Post, Philadelphia Pa., (2c) Black (159L2), Spence & Brown Express Post, Philadelphia Pa., (2c) Black (159L2)Spence & Brown Express Post, Philadelphia Pa., (2c) Black (159L2). Unused (no gum), full to large margins, small tear and central thin spot, Very Fine appearance, a lovely example of this attractive and rare horse-and-rider Philadelphia local

1,500
850
Back to Top
4376
c
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4376, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sSquier & Co. City Letter Dispatch, St. Louis Mo., 1c Green, Imperforate (132L1), Squier & Co. City Letter Dispatch, St. Louis Mo., 1c Green, Imperforate (132L1)Squier & Co. City Letter Dispatch, St. Louis Mo., 1c Green, Imperforate (132L1). Usual narrow margins, used with 3c Dull Red, Ty. III (26), both stamps tied by "St. Louis Mo. Jul. 25, 1859" circular datestamp on piece of cover, local stamp with some slight translucencies, Very Fine and scarce tied example with the 3c 1857 Issue, signed Costales

E. 500-750
275
Back to Top
4377
 
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4377, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sSquier & Co. City Letter Dispatch, St. Louis Mo., 1c Rose Brown, Rouletted (132L2), Squier & Co. City Letter Dispatch, St. Louis Mo., 1c Rose Brown, Rouletted (132L2)Squier & Co. City Letter Dispatch, St. Louis Mo., 1c Rose Brown, Rouletted (132L2). Clear roulettes at left and right, tied by "Jordan's Penny Post, Saint Louis, Jul. 30" circular datestamp on piece of cover cut to shape of the datestamp, stamp with some thinning and small toned spot at top right, otherwise Very Fine, Squier & Co. turned over ownership of their local post to Jordan & Co. Penny Post Package Express in the early part of 1860, the Squier stamps continued to be accepted by Jordan's Penny Post, which applied its own circular datestamp to mail, the operation appears to have ended in the fall of 1860 (Source: "The History of Saint Louis Local Posts -- Squier-Jordan Penny Post, Part 1" by S. M. Arnold, American Philatelist, July 1956), ex Caspary and Middendorf

E. 300-400
160
Back to Top
4378
c
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4378, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sStringer & Morton's City Despatch, Baltimore Md., (1c) Gold on Black Grazed (134L1), Stringer & Morton's City Despatch, Baltimore Md., (1c) Gold on Black Grazed (134L1)Stringer & Morton's City Despatch, Baltimore Md., (1c) Gold on Black Grazed (134L1). Uncancelled and affixed to 1850 blue folded letter to Cincinnati, part of letter sheet missing so origin unknown, blue “Baltimore Md. Nov. 29” circular datestamp with red “Way” straightline and “10” struck over “5”, this clearly originated outside of Baltimore, it may have been privately carried to Baltimore and taken by Stringer & Morton to the post office where it was treated as a way letter and charged 10c for the over-300 miles rate, offered on its own merits, with 1975 A.P.S. certificate declining opinion on whether the stamp originated, Scott Retail as an unused stamp $500.00

E. 300-400
250
Back to Top
4379
 
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4379, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sSwarts' City Despatch Post, New York N.Y., 1c Red, "For U.S. Mail" (136L15), Swarts' City Despatch Post, New York N.Y., 1c Red, "For U.S. Mail" (136L15)Swarts' City Despatch Post, New York N.Y., 1c Red, "For U.S. Mail" (136L15). Large margins three sides, touched at right, tied by 5-point star and red "New-York Paid 3cts. Aug. 23" integral-rate circular datestamp on piece of buff cover, manuscript "Paid 3" and pencil "3" for good measure, Fine, the Red "For the Mails" stamps were issued by Swarts in 1851 when the 1c rate was introduced, the Red stamps are far rarer than the Blue stamps of the same design, which followed sometime later, Caspary had a small piece and a repaired example on cover, while Middendorf had none at all, Scott Retail as used off-cover

500
300
Back to Top
4380
 
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4380, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sUnion Despatch, Chicago Ill., 5c Red, 20c Green (unlisted in Scott), Union Despatch, Chicago Ill., 5c Red, 20c Green (unlisted in Scott)Union Despatch, Chicago Ill., 5c Red, 20c Green (unlisted in Scott). 5c with pin-perf roulette, 20c perforated all around, both with pencil cancels, minor flaws incl. 20c thin spot, Fine appearance and rare, this is one of only two examples of the 20c believed to exist, for background on this local see our Golden sale, lot 1553 (Siegel Sale 817) and Gordon Stimmell's article in the Penny Post (July, 1995)

E. 750-1,000
850
Back to Top
4381
c
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4381, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sWalton's Brooklyn City Express Post. May 9 1 O'C, Walton's Brooklyn City Express Post. May 9 1 O'CWalton's Brooklyn City Express Post. May 9 1 O'C. Unusually clear strike of oval datestamp on flap of 1846 folded letter to Philadelphia, red "Brooklyn N.Y. May 10" circular datestamp, back with manuscript "not paid two cts. to express", Very Fine and rare, probably no more than four or five Walton & Co. handstamped covers exist

E. 400-500
400
Back to Top
4382
 
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4382, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sWalton & Co.'s City Express, Brooklyn N.Y., 2c Black on Pink Glazed (142L1), Walton & Co.'s City Express, Brooklyn N.Y., 2c Black on Pink Glazed (142L1)Walton & Co.'s City Express, Brooklyn N.Y., 2c Black on Pink Glazed (142L1). Defective, but a very rare stamp, ex Schwartz, see Siegel Sale 965, lot 1269 for a detailed description of this elusive local

900
475
Back to Top
4383
ngbl
Sale Number 1117, Lot Number 4383, Local Posts: Magic Letter Express, Richmond thru Westervelt`sWestervelt's Post, Chester N.Y., (1c) Black on Buff (144L1), Westervelt's Post, Chester N.Y., (1c) Black on Buff (144L1)Westervelt's Post, Chester N.Y., (1c) Black on Buff (144L1). Complete sheet of six, unused (no gum), large margins, couple tiny pinholes, still Extremely Fine, only two sheets of the First Issue are reported in Patton book (p. 306) but there are now a few others known

675
275
Back to Top
Copyright 2021. All rights reserved by Siegel Auction Galleries Inc. Information and images may be used with credit to Siegel Auction Galleries or siegelauctions.com subject to guidelines and restrictions.
Website Terms of Use and Privacy Policy