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 1126 — The William H. Gross Collection: Hawaii

Sale Date — Sunday, 29 May, 2016

Category — Kamchatka Peninsula to Russia via Honolulu

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
15
c
Sale Number 1126, Lot Number 15, Kamchatka Peninsula to Russia via HonoluluHonolulu * U.S. Postage Paid * Nov. 20 (1852), Honolulu * U.S. Postage Paid * Nov. 20 (1852)Honolulu * U.S. Postage Paid * Nov. 20 (1852). Remarkably bold strike of red circular datestamp overlapping original strike of “Honolulu * Hawaiian-Islands * Nov. 20” circular datestamp (meant for unpaid mail), matching “U.S./POSTAGE PAID” in oval with fleurons handstamp clearly struck on cover to Addafer, Russia (now Adavere, Estonia), addressed to “Madame C. de Ditmar, par St. Petersbourg, Dorpat et Oberpahlen a Addafer” with notation at top “Russie, Gouvernement Livonie”, “C.D.” seal on flap, blue “San Francisco Cal. Dec. 13” circular datestamp and matching “Paid” handstamp, red crayon “28” rate (26c postage plus 2c ship captain’s fee), red “New York Am. Packet Jan. 13” (1853) datestamp, red “Outre-Mer Le Havre 29 Janv. 53” arrival datestamp, manuscript German transit fee in blue ink, Aachen (Jan. 31) and Minden-Berlin (Feb. 1) transit backstamps, receipt docketing on back “16 September 1852 P. P. Hafen”, small scuffed spot at center not affecting markings

VERY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE AMERICAN PACKET COVER FROM HAWAII TO RUSSIA VIA SAN FRANCISCO, PANAMA, NEW YORK, FRANCE AND GERMANY. THIS COVER WAS SENT BY THE EXPLORER CARL VON DITMAR DURING HIS EXPEDITION TO THE REMOTE KAMCHATKA PENINSULA IN THE EASTERN SIBERIAN MARITIME PROVINCE.

This cover was carried by the American brig Zoe, which departed Honolulu on November 22, 1852, and arrived in San Francisco on December 13. From there it was carried to Panama on the Pacific Mail Steamship Company’s Isthmus, which departed on December 14 and arrived at Panama City before January 1, 1853. It crossed the isthmus and was carried from Aspinwall to New York by the U.S. Mail Steamship Company’s Illinois, which departed on January 2 and arrived on January 13. At New York it was put on the Havre Line’s Humboldt, which departed on January 15 and arrived at Le Havre on January 29. The address lists “St. Petersbourg, Dorpat et Oberpahlen a Addafer” as transit points, which are today in Russia and Estonia.

The total prepaid postage on this cover was 33c, including 5c Hawaiian postage, 26c for the British Open Mail rate to Russia by American Packet (West Coast rate) and 2c ship captain’s fee. Because this was sent direct to France, rather than via England, the required postage was 20c, plus German transit fees that were collected from the recipient. At the Honolulu post office, the “Hawaiian-Islands” datestamp was incorrectly struck first, then corrected by precisely striking the “U.S. Postage Paid” datestamp over the first. To make certain the U.S. Post Office knew that U.S. postage had been paid, the Honolulu office struck the oval “U.S./Postage Paid” handstamp that was usually reserved for newspapers during this period.

We are aware of three covers from Hawaii to Russia. This cover and another from our Golden sale (Siegel Sale 1009, lot 95) are addressed to Madame C(onde) von Ditmar in Addafer. The third cover is addressed to Y. L. Lortsch in Libau (Siegel Sale 1009, lot 96). The manuscript notation “P.P. Hafen” on the back of this cover and the other to Madame von Ditmar are important clues to their origin. “P.P. Hafen” is an abbreviation for Petropavlovsk Hafen (Harbor), located in the Eastern Siberian peninsula of Kamchatka between the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea. From 1851 to 1855 this remote volcanic region was explored and mapped by Carl von Ditmar (the subject of his book, Reisen and Aufenthalt in Kamchatka in den Jahren 1851-1855). Von Ditmar wrote the letter once contained in this cover on September 16, 1852 (as per receipt docketing) and sent it to Honolulu, probably on the American brig Emeline, which arrived from Petropavlovsk on November 8, 1852. At Honolulu, someone arranged for it to be prepaid for U.S. mail service. After a journey of four and one-half months, it reached Madame von Ditmar at the beginning of February 1853.

In 1854, the French and British, who were battling Russian forces on the Crimean Peninsula, attacked Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. During the Siege of Petropavlovsk, 988 men with a mere 68 guns managed to defend the outpost against 6 ships with 206 guns and 2,540 French and British soldiers. Despite the heroic defense, Petropavlovsk was abandoned as a strategic liability after the Anglo-French forces withdrew. The next year when a second enemy force came to attack the port, they found it deserted. Frustrated, the ships bombarded the city and withdrew.

Ex Honolulu Advertiser. Illustrated and discussed in Gregory book (pages 315-316)

E. 25,000-35,000
32,500
Copyright 2020. 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