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Sale 1211 — The William H. Gross Collection: United States Postal History

Sale Date — Tuesday-Wednesday, 29-30 October, 2019

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Category — 1847 Issue—5¢ and 10¢ Combination and Multiple Frankings

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
30°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 30, 1847 Issue—5¢ and 10¢ Combination and Multiple Frankings, Rare cover with 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 Issue combination paying triple 5¢ under-300 miles rate

5¢ Red Brown, 10¢ Black (1, 2), both with ample to large margins all around, 5¢ showing part of adjacent stamp at top, tied (slightly overlapping) by red grid cancels with matching "Rochester N.Y. 10 Aug. 25" integral-rate circular datestamp on light green folded cover to Lockport, New York, manuscript "Paid" above stamps, few cover erosion spots far from stamps and markings, Very Fine and choice 1847 5¢ and 10¢ stamps on a combination cover, paying triple the under-300 miles rate (Lockport is approximately 80 miles from Rochester), the half-ounce rate increments were eliminated in March 1849--for this and other reasons, examples of 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 combinations for the half-ounce increment are rare--ex Craveri, Hackmey, and from our 1981 and 1985 Rarities of the World sales, with 1950 P.F. certificate

E. 5,000-7,500
Future Sale
31°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 31, 1847 Issue—5¢ and 10¢ Combination and Multiple Frankings, 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 combination paying triple 5¢ under-300 miles rate on cover with Buffalo fancy oval

5¢ Red Brown, 10¢ Black (1, 2), both with large margins all around, tied to each other and 10¢ tied to cover by blue grid cancels with matching "Buffalo N.Y. Aug. 18" (1847) fancy oval datestamp on folded letter to Lockport, New York, slight overall toning of cover and stamps, 10¢ has lightened pen cancellation (possibly a re-used stamp), appears Extremely Fine, a rare combination paying triple the under-300 miles rate (Buffalo and Lockport are only approximately 30 miles apart) the half-ounce rate increments were eliminated in March 1849--for this and other reasons, examples of 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 combinations for the half-ounce increment are rare--ex Brown and Boker, with 1976 P.F. certificate

E. 4,000-5,000
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32°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 32, 1847 Issue—5¢ and 10¢ Combination and Multiple Frankings, 1847 5¢ and 10¢ strip of three on an insurance corner card cover--a spectacular and unique use paying seven times the 5¢ under-300 miles rate

5¢ Red Brown, 10¢ Black (1, 2), 10¢ horizontal strip of three, ample to clear margins, 5¢ just touched at top and left, each stamp with matching pen cancel, "Waterford N.Y. Nov. 4" (ca. 1848) circular datestamp at far left on large buff "Office--Hudson River Insurance Company, Morgan Row--Broad Street, Waterford N.Y." corner card envelope to Rouses Point, New York

Fine and unique combination of the 5¢ with 10¢ 1847 strip of three on a domestic cover; cover with some edgewear and small reduction at far left well clear of datestamp, 5¢ with corner crease and middle 10¢ stamp with tiny margin tear.

This cover is franked to pay the under-300 miles rate for a 3.5-ounce letter, or seven times the 5¢ rate. The USPCS census lists five covers with this combination of stamps, but this is the only recorded domestic use among that group. The half-ounce rate increments were eliminated in March 1849. For this and other reasons, examples of 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 combinations for the half-ounce increment are rare. Waterford, New York, received no 1847 stamps, but its proximity to Albany (14 miles north of the capital) meant that stamps found their way there, as eleven 1847 covers are recorded from Waterford.

Ex James Hughes, Guido Craveri and Joseph Hackmey. Illustrated in The United States 1847 Issue: A Cover Census (p. 541). With 1996 P.F. certificate.

E. 15,000-20,000
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33°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 33, 1847 Issue—5¢ and 10¢ Combination and Multiple Frankings, 1847 5¢ and 10¢ pair on cover--an outstanding combination franking paying five times the 5¢ under-300 miles rate

5¢ Red Brown, 10¢ Black (1, 2), single 5¢, deep rich color from the First Printing, large margins to just in at lower right, 10¢ pair with three large margins, in at top, tied together and right 10¢ tied to cover by red grid cancels, matching "Batavia N.Y. Mar. 3" (1848) circular datestamp on slightly oversized folded letter regarding legal matters to Lockport, New York, originally contained additional court papers

Very Fine. A fresh and outstanding five-times domestic rate cover bearing the 1847 5¢ and 10¢ pair.

The USPCS census lists only three domestic 1847 covers with this combination of a single 5¢ and pair of 10¢ stamps. This cover is in the finest condition of the three by far. The half-ounce rate increments were eliminated in March 1849. For this and other reasons, examples of 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 combinations for the half-ounce increment are rare.

Ex Jack Dick, Paul C. Rohloff, Duane B. Garrett, Dr. Leonard Kapiloff, Guido Craveri and Joseph Hackmey. Also from our 1988 Rarities of the World sale. Illustrated in The United States 1847 Issue: A Cover Census (p. 849). Signed by Stanley B. Ashbrook. With 1992 P.F. certificate.

E. 7,500-10,000
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34°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 34, 1847 Issue—5¢ and 10¢ Combination and Multiple Frankings, The finest of the mere two covers and one front with an 1847 Issue block-- of the three known, all 5¢ denominations, this is the only Brown Orange and the only domestic use of a block

DESCRIPTION

5¢ Brown Orange (1d), block of four, gorgeous vivid color on deeply blued paper, large margins on three sides and ample to barely in at bottom, tied by light strikes of orange-red grid cancel, matching "Fredonia N.Y. Apr. 27" (ca. 1850) circular datestamp on large part of printed folded bank reporting form to the Comptroller Office, Free Bank Department, Albany, New York, block pays 20¢ postage for double rate (half ounce to one ounce) for distance over 300 miles--Fredonia is about 330 miles west of Albany--the printed form with manuscript entries (in italics) reads "QUARTERLY...the true condition of the H. J. Miner Bank of Utica...Saturday, the Twenty Ninth day" (H. J. Miner established a bank in Fredonia in 1850)#

PROVENANCE

Edward S. Knapp, Parke-Bernet Galleries, May 5-10, 1941, lot 2193, where described as "beautiful impression and in grand condition, considered the finest known block on cover"

C. C. Seabrook (ownership noted in 5/17/1948 letter to Ashbrook, index card files at The Philatelic Foundation)

Ryohei Ishikawa, Christie's Robson Lowe sale, 9/28-29/1993, lot 51, to Craveri

Guido Craveri, Bennett sale, 9/20/2003, lot 1132, to Hackmey

Joseph Hackmey (collection sold privately to William H. Gross, 2010)

CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES

USPCS census no. 5706 https://www.uspcs.org/resource-center/censuses/1847-cover-census/

Lester G. Brookman, The 1847 Issue of United States Stamps, 1942, p. 23, fig. 22

-- United States Postage Stamps of the 19th Century, Vol. I, p. 29, fig. 26

Duane B. Garrett, "Domestic Postal Rates for the 1847 Issue Period, Part I," Chronicle 108, p. 232

Jonathan W. Rose, Classic United States Imperforate Stamps, p. 10

CERTIFICATION

The Philatelic Foundation (1993) as Brown Orange, which at that time was a sub-listed shade of Scott 1b Orange Brown--it is now separately listed as Scott 1d

CONDITION NOTES

Extremely Fine; top left stamp has a tiny scrape of no significance

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

The Finest of Only Three Known 5¢ 1847 Blocks on Cover

Only three blocks of the 5¢ 1847 are recorded on covers, including the block of five on cover to England offered in this sale (lot 152) and a block of four on a front address panel (without flaps) to Montreal, Canada. This cover with a block in the Brown Orange shade is the only domestic use and the finest of the three recorded.

The 5¢ was printed over four years in a range of shades, including the scarcer Orange Brown and Brown Orange. The printing impression indicates that this block was probably a later printing, circa 1850, made from the cleaned and reworked plate, a process used by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson to improve the quality of prints made from the well-worn plate after years of use. The shade has a strong orange hue, and the paper is very bluish. These are the distinct traits of the late Brown Orange shade.

The Act of March 3, 1845, created two letter rates: 5¢ per half ounce for distances up to 300 miles (and 5¢ for each additional half ounce); and 10¢ per half ounce for any distance over 300 miles within the United States. By comparison, the old rates were based on five distance parameters and multiplied by the number of pages in a letter. The under-300 and over-300 miles distance provision was considered essential, because of the country's size and the costs of transporting mail. The 5¢ under-300 miles rate would pay to send a half-ounce letter from New York City to the major East Coast cities of Boston, Philadelphia or Baltimore (but not between Boston and Philadelphia or Baltimore). The distance between post offices was calculated by postal route, not "as the crow flies." For this reason, a letter might require the higher over-300 miles rate, even though the origin and destination were less than 300 miles apart.

The original Senate bill (S. 46, December 19, 1844) and subsequent versions debated in the House and Senate contained different rate calculations, including multi-tiered distance parameters and rate progressions per sheet of paper or quarter-ounce weight increments. The bill was amended on January 16, 1845, to set the distance limit to 100 miles. Finally, on March 1, 1845, the Senate voted 37 to 7 in favor of changing the distance limit to 300 miles. (The various bills and Senate reports can be found online at memory.loc.gov).

Surprisingly, the 1845 law failed to give the postmaster general authority to issue stamps. The Act of March 3, 1847, remedied that glaring omission, and the 5¢ and 10¢ stamps were issued on July 1, 1847. This cover traveled more than 300 miles between Fredonia and Albany, New York, and it weighed between a half and one ounce--thus, 20¢ postage was paid for double the 10¢ over-300 miles rate.

E. 75,000-100,000
Future Sale
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35°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 35, 1847 Issue—5¢ and 10¢ Combination and Multiple Frankings, The largest recorded multiple of the 1847 Issue known on cover-- one of the most outstanding covers in classic United States philately

DESCRIPTION

5¢ Red Brown (1), horizontal strip of ten--Positions 91-100L, the full row from the bottom of the left pane with left sheet margin and right interpane margin--9mm sheet margin at left (piece missing) and 4mm interpane margin at right, margins at top and bottom are large to full except for one stamp where clear at bottom, bright shade (nearly Orange Brown), tied by multiple strikes of red square grid cancel on large brown envelope to the clerk of the Lake County Circuit Court, Waukegan, Illinois, red "New-York Jun. 7" (1851) circular datestamp with blue manuscript "10" (cents) below date indicating underpaid postage, either paid in cash (or charge) or disregarded by New York City post office, which applied the red "PAID" in arc handstamp not usually seen on covers of this period, red printed corner card at top covered by strip ("[LIV]INGSTON, SECRETARY" visible), green Commissioner in New York seal on back signed by John Livingston, a prominent attorney and law journal publisher, the envelope contained depositions taken by Livingston and submitted to the court, receipt docketing dated June 9, 1851

PROVENANCE

William L. Stevenson (sold privately to Ackerman through Perry)

Rep. Ernest R. Ackerman (sold privately to Gibson through Perry)

Henry C. Gibson, Sr. (sold privately to Sweet through Ward)

Frank R. Sweet

Ryohei Ishikawa, Christie's Robson Lowe sale, 9/28-29/1993, lot 22, to Hackmey

Joseph Hackmey (collection sold privately to William H. Gross, 2010)

Pencil notes "2/25 3750.00" and "7/69 100,000.00" in different writing refer to past transaction dates and prices

CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES

USPCS census no. 7177 https://www.uspcs.org/resource-center/censuses/1847-cover-census/

Stanley B. Ashbrook, Special Service, #13, p. 86, photo 39

Gordon Eubanks, Jr., "Covers with Three or More 1847 Stamps," Chronicle 254, fig. 1

Jonathan W. Rose, Classic United States Imperforate Stamps, p. 10

Philip H. Ward, Jr., Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News, 1935, Vol. 69, p. 265

Biographical information about John Livingston:

M. H. Hoeflich, "John Livingston & the Business of Law in Nineteenth- Century America," The American Journal of Legal History, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Oct., 2000), pp. 347-368 [accessed through www.jstor.org]

CERTIFICATION

The Philatelic Foundation (1993)

CONDITION NOTES

Fine; left stamp with a piece out and small tears, two other stamps with small tears, one with vertical crease from file fold

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

50¢ Postage for an Obsolete Odd-Increment Rate

This phenomenal cover bears a strip of ten of the 5¢ 1847, which is the largest known multiple of the 1847 Issue on cover for either denomination. The horizontal strip is the entire bottom row of the left pane of 100 (the sheets of 200 were printed in two panes of 100, left and right). The perimeter sheet margin is at left, and the interpane (gutter) margin is at right. The ninth stamp in each row of the left pane usually has a dot in the "S" of "US," but there was no dot on Position 99L.

The strip was affixed to this large envelope in June 1851 and mailed by John Livingston, a prominent New York attorney and legal publisher, to a circuit court in Illinois. The depositions he enclosed were heavy, and the distance was over 300 miles, so a multiple of the 10¢ rate was required. The 50¢ postage was intended to pay the five-times rate for a letter weighing between 2 and 2.5 ounces. However, by June 1851 the odd weight increments had been eliminated, so this should have been prepaid 60¢. The New York post office marked the cover 10¢ underpaid with the blue manuscript "10" below the postmark date, but the "PAID" handstamp indicates that the 10¢ was either paid in cash (or charge) or disregarded.

The reason for the elimination of the odd rate increments lies in the postal treaty made between the U.S. and Great Britain. The Act of 1845 established the 5¢ under-300 and 10¢ over-300 miles rates that became the basis of the 1847 first general issue. The rates were based on half-ounce weight increments until March 15, 1849, after the postal treaty between the U.S. and Great Britain went into effect one month earlier. At that point, the odd rate increments over one ounce had to be eliminated in the U.S., because Great Britain charged one rate per ounce over the first ounce. To align the U.S. and British rates, the half-ounce and one-ounce increments were kept, but the U.S. half-ounce incremental rates over one ounce were eliminated. Starting March 15, 1849, the rates are shown at below:

This magnificent cover can be traced back to the collection formed by Ernest R. Ackerman, who is reported to have bought the cover from the William L. Stevenson collection. From Ackerman the cover passed to Henry C. Gibson, Sr., and Frank R. Sweet in private transactions. It appeared at auction in the 1993 Christie's sale of the Ishikawa collection, where it was sold to Joseph Hackmey. In 2010 Mr. Gross acquired the entire Hackmey collection in a private transaction.

Weight (oz)5¢ under-300 miles10¢ over-300 miles
Up to 0.510¢
0.5-1.010¢20¢
1.0-2.020¢40¢
2.0-3.030¢60¢
3.0-4.040¢80¢

E. 50,000-75,000
Future Sale
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36°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 36, 1847 Issue—5¢ and 10¢ Combination and Multiple Frankings, Extraordinary use of three 10¢ 1847 stamps to pay six-times under-300 miles rate

10¢ Black (2), three singles, Positions 8R, 48R and 46R from left to right, mostly large margins except left stamp just touched at top right corner, tied by multiple strikes of red-orange "10" rate handstamp, matching "Northampton Ms. Jun. 24" (1848) circular datestamp on blue folded cover to Pollen & Colgate, 287 Pearl Street, New York City, sender's manuscript "Paid" notation at bottom left

Very Fine; center and right stamps with very light scoring lines.

The Ludlow Beebee correspondence yielded a number of 10¢ covers with three stamps sent between Boston and Philadelphia. However, since that distance is greater than 300 miles, those covers are triple 10¢ rate uses. This cover from Northampton, Massachusetts, to New York City traveled about 160 miles, so this is clearly an extremely rare six-times 5¢ rate use--other covers from the Pollen & Colgate correspondence were paid with a single 5¢ stamp. The USPCS census lists only one other identical franking which may have paid a six-times rate (it was sent close to 300 miles so it is possible it was a triple 10¢ rate).

Ex Dr. Ralph Poriss, Guido Craveri and Joseph Hackmey. With 1971 P.F. certificate.

E. 5,000-7,500
Future Sale
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37°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 37, 1847 Issue—5¢ and 10¢ Combination and Multiple Frankings, A spectacular cover with four 10¢ 1847 stamps arranged as a block, paying the quadruple over-300 miles rate on a life insurance company imprint cover from Newark, New Jersey, to Newark, Ohio

10¢ Black (2), four singles, proof-like impressions, huge margins to clear except two slightly in at bottom, arranged as a block and tied together by red grid cancels, matching light strike of "Newark N.J. Jan. 10" circular datestamp on buff envelope to Newark, Ohio, with "Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company, 151 Market Street, Newark N.J." return address imprint at top center, sender's manuscript "Paid" partly covered by one stamp

Very Fine; top left and bottom right stamps with small scissors-cuts in one margin outside the design, cover with several vertical creases not affecting stamps.

This is an exceedingly rare 10¢ 1847 franking for the quadruple rate (1.5 to 2 ounces) for distance over 300 miles, and the arrangement of the stamps in block format is a wonderful way to compensate for the complete absence of a block of the 10¢ 1847 on cover. The USPCS census does not list any other complete covers with this arrangement of 10¢ stamps.

Ex Guido Craveri and Joseph Hackmey. With 2006 P.F. certificate.

E. 15,000-20,000
Future Sale
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38°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 38, 1847 Issue—5¢ and 10¢ Combination and Multiple Frankings, A beautiful and extremely rare cover to California with four 10¢ 1847s paying the 40¢ transcontinental rate

10¢ Black (2), four singles affixed in a row, very slightly overlapping, three are the short transfer at top plate variety, two center stamps with large margins, right stamp three ample to large margins and just a bit in at top, left stamp full to large margins, tied together and to cover by red circular grid cancels, matching "New-York Oct. 10" (1850) ocean mail circular datestamp (with "SHIP" removed) on small envelope to Charles H. Smith in Stockton, California, sender's "Paid" notation--carried from New York to Chagres on the U.S. Mail Steamship Co. Georgia, departing October 11, 1850, and arriving around October 23 after a stop at Havana on October 17; the mail crossed the isthmus and was carried from Panama to San Francisco on the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. California, departing November 1 and arriving November 22 (carrying New York dates through October 12, according to newspaper reports)

Very Fine; left stamp with utterly trivial tiny margin tear, and the envelope is missing the backflap.

The USPCS 1847 census lists ten entries for covers with the 40¢ transcontinental rate paid by four or more 10¢ stamps. We will review the entries in detail to emphasize the extreme rarity of this cover.

Three of the ten USPCS entries may be excluded because they really should not be compared to the others. One is the iconic double-rate cover with eight 10¢ stamps (no. 8339), the importance of which transcends mere single-rate 40¢ frankings. The second is the unique cover from San Francisco to New York, sold in the Gross U.S. Treasures sale and now in the Eubanks collection (no. 225). The third is the Reynold's Express cover (no. 8567), formerly in the Needham and Wiltsee collections, and now in the Wells Fargo museum and not available to collectors (Ashbrook's opinion was that the strip of 10¢ 1847s did not originate on the cover).

Of the seven remaining entries, the front with "80" numeral cancels (no. 8329) may be demoted, because it is not a complete cover, which leaves six complete covers. One of these is from Austin, Texas, to Benicia, California, with four singles (no. 13695, Siegel Sale 412, lot 87). The other five are from the East Coast, franked with the following: two covers with a strip of 4 (nos. 2750 and 8448), one with a strip of 3 and single (no. 959), and two with four singles (no. 8479, the cover offered here, and no. 11809). Therefore, this cover may be judged to be one of the finest of the five comparable 10¢ 1847 covers with four stamps paying the 40¢ rate from the East Coast to California.

Ex J. David Baker, Duane B. Garrett and John R. Boker, Jr. Illustrated in Chronicle 109 (p. 20). Signed by Stanley B. Ashbrook.

E. 20,000-30,000
Future Sale
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