Sale 1119 — The Steven Walske Collection of US-France Transatlantic Mail
Sale Date — Wednesday, 16 March, 2016
Category — Bank Note Issues
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXTRAORDINARY COVER TO FRANCE FRANKED BY PRESIDENT ULYSSES S. GRANT DURING THE LAST MONTH OF HIS FRANKING PRIVILEGE.
The odd mixed-issue franking and use of mucilage to affix the stamps probably reflect the sender's effort to locate enough postage -- new or old -- (which he did not quite succeed in doing) for the 10c rate to France. The short payment of 1c was made irrelevant by the free frank. Grant's franking signature is applied here during the final month of executive franking privilege. The Official stamps were approved on Mar. 3, 1873.
Ex Joyce, Dr. Robertson and Ainsworth
VERY FINE. A SPECTACULAR MIXED FRANKING OF UNITED STATES AND FRENCH STAMPS APPLIED IN THE UNITED STATES TO FULLY PREPAY THE 10-CENT U.S. STEAMSHIP RATE AND THE 60-CENTIMES FRENCH INTERNAL RATE AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE U.S.-FRANCE POSTAL TREATY. THIS IS ALSO THE UNIQUE MIXED FRANKING USAGE SENT BY AMERICAN PACKET.
After the expiration of the 1857 U.S.-French postal treaty on Dec. 31, 1869, correspondents between the two countries were faced with great difficulty (and increased costs) if they wished to fully prepay mail between the two countries. With the exception of the unannounced "Phantom Rate" from New York (see lot 596 for an explanation), it was no longer possible to prepay both U.S. and French postage on a letter to France solely with U.S. stamps. Letters from the U.S. could be sent to France by several different methods, but in each case French postage was separate and would be due when the letter was received.
French postal regulations did allow letters from the U.S. that were carried by French Packet Direct to be prepaid for French sea and inland postage with 60 centimes in French stamps for a single weight. The U.S. 10c postage was also required. Such mixed frankings sent by French Packet Direct are extremely rare, with fewer than ten recorded. This letter, however, was not sent by French Packet; rather, it was carried by American Packet. When the letter reached New York the Ligne H steamer had already departed and it would be two more weeks for the next sailing. Instead of waiting, the New York postmaster sent the cover on a special sailing (one of only two that were contracted) by American Packet on the North American Steamship Co. Guiding Star. When the cover reached Le Havre, it was accepted as though it had been carried on a French Packet and struck with the rare "Etats-Unis Le Havre" arrival datestamp. The French stamps, which had been left alone by the American postmasters, were also cancelled on arrival.
Illustrated in North Atlantic Mail Sailings on p. 306 and in Chronicle 138 on p. 137
EXTREMELY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL MIXED FRANKING OF UNITED STATES AND FRENCH STAMPS, ATTEMPTING TO FULLY PREPAY THE FRENCH PACKET DIRECT RATE AND U.S. INCOMING SHIP RATE ON AN 1871 COVER FROM PARIS TO WILMINGTON, DELAWARE. FEWER THAN FIVE MIXED FRANKINGS FROM THIS PERIOD ARE KNOWN.
After the expiration of the 1857 U.S.-French treaty, prepayment of full postage between the two countries required, in nearly all cases, stamps of both nations. Prepayments for French-owned packets were set at 5 decimes per 10 grams, effective July 1, 1871. U.S. postage was 10 cents per the July 1864 Act. This cover was correctly prepaid for both postage rates, but apparently because the U.S. stamp was already cancelled when it arrived in New York, the postmaster disregarded the prepayment and struck the "10" cents due datestamp.
Ex Gibson. With 1995 Robineau certificate
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A SPECTACULAR FOUR-COLOR MIXED FRANKING OF UNITED STATES AND FRENCH STAMPS, ACCEPTED AS FULL PREPAYMENT OF POSTAGE ON AN 1872 POST-TREATY COVER TO THE U.S. FEWER THAN FIVE ACCEPTED MIXED PREPAYMENTS ARE KNOWN.
After the expiration of the 1857 U.S.-French treaty, prepayment of full postage between the two countries using one nation's stamps became mostly impossible. On April 21, 1871, French law increased prepayments to 12 decimes per 10 grams (effective July 1) for mail via Great Britain. This cover was prepaid with only 50 centimes in French stamps (probably intended for French Packet Direct), along with a 10 cent U.S. stamp for the incoming ship rate. Despite the underpayment it was accepted as fully prepaid for routing via Great Britain and a Cunard steamer.
Ex Gibson. With 1986 Robineau certificate