VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONLY SIX INTACT COVERS ARE KNOWN WITH LANGTON'S HUMBOLDT EXPRESS STAMP. ONE OF THE GREAT RARITIES OF WESTERN POSTAL HISTORY.
The Humboldt Express was the last of seven successive Western express services operated by Samuel W. Langton, who has been described by historians as the most energetic and persevering of the numerous expressmen of the period. Langton launched the Humboldt Express in February 1860 and oversaw its operation until his accidental death in 1864. Service was provided between the Humboldt mines in Nevada to Carson City, the state capital. For transportation across this difficult route, 25c was charged in addition to the $2.00 per letter fee. To facilitate prepayment of this surcharge, Langton issued the 1860 25c Brown adhesive stamp. The stamp, with its exceptionally detailed depiction of a stagecoach drawn by a four-horse team, is widely regarded as the finest example of a pictorial stamp issued by the numerous local posts operated in the United States between 1842 and the 1870s. The style, lettering, color and lithographic technique used to print Langton's stamp are identical to those of the Wells, Fargo & Co. Pony Express stamps of the same period, and it is accepted, though unproven, that the issues of both companies were made by the same printer (Britton & Rey of San Francisco).
We record the following Humboldt Express 25c Brown covers:
1) Unionville (blue oval) to J. S. Bendle, Bidwell's Bar Cal., "Care of Capt. Singer", U34 with Langton frank, Siegel Sale 989, lot 25, ex Brown, Moody, Simpson, Hertz
2) Star City (blue oval) to J. S. Bendle, Bidwell's Bar Cal., "Care of Capt. Singer", U35 with Langton frank, repaired, PFC, ex Dale-Lichtenstein
3) Unionville (blue oval) to J. S. Bendle, Bidwell's Bar Cal., "Care of Capt. Singer", U34 with Langton frank, ex C. E. Chapman, Caspary, Nathan, Walske, the cover offered here
4) Star City (blue oval) to G. Borzo, Placerville Cal., U34 with Langton frank, WF Nevada Jun. 10 oval, ex Jessup, Hawley, Polland, Jacobitz
5) Unionville (red oval) and "Paid" in oval tying 25c, to Charles Lott, Oroville Cal., U34 with WF frank and WF Carson City May 11 oval, PFC, ex Haas, Edwards, Kuphal
6) Star City (blue oval) to S. W. Holladay, San Francisco, U34 with Langton frank, 3c 1861 tied by "Paid" and WF Nevada Jul. 11 (1863) oval, with enclosure, PFC, ex Hall, Kapiloff.
In addition to these six intact covers, there are two restored fronts or pieces and a few faked examples. Our census has been compiled independently of the Gamett census and the more recent Lyons census, which contain incorrect sale history data for #1 and #2 above.
Ex C. E. Chapman (blue handstamp on front), Caspary, Nathan and Walske. With 2006 P.F. certificate