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Sale 1207 — Outstanding Pony Express Covers from the George J. Kramer Collection

Sale Date — Wednesday, 25 September, 2019

Category — Pony Express Covers

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 1, Pony Express Covers, Perfect St. Joseph Running Pony oval dated May 20, 1860--the first westbound Pony mail delayed by Paiute Indian War and carried with military escort

Pony Express, St. Joseph, May 20 (1860). Full clear strike of Running Pony oval datestamp on 10¢ Green on Buff Nesbitt entire (U16) addressed to Herman Wohler in San Francisco, sender's directive "By Pony Express", no government postmark and no indication of origin or $5.00 rate, small sealed tear

EXTREMELY FINE. THE EARLIEST OF THE FOUR RECORDED WESTBOUND PONY EXPRESS COVERS DELAYED DUE TO THE PAIUTE INDIAN WAR IN 1860. THE CONDITION OF THIS EARLY AND HISTORIC PONY EXPRESS COVER IS OUTSTANDING. NO OTHER MAY 20 COVER IS RECORDED.

The attacks on Pony Express stations and riders occurred during the Paiute Indian War, which started with the May 7 raid on Williams Station in Nevada by a party of Paiute and Bannock warriors seeking revenge for the kidnapping and rape of two young Paiute girls by the three Williams brothers. On May 12 a 105-man militia led by Major William Ormsby was ambushed and destroyed at Pyramid Lake by Indian warriors under the command of Chief Numaga. On May 20 and 21 Indians attacked stations at Cold Springs, Smith's Creek and Simpson's Park. The second battle of Pyramid Lake occurred on June 2-4 between Chief Numaga's warriors and a large army under the command of a veteran Indian fighter, Colonel John Coffee Hays. The battle ended in a stalemate, and Indians continued to conduct raids on stations and harass riders through the summer. The presence of U.S. troops guarding the route helped keep the stage and Pony Express running during July and August 1860, but several mails were delayed and combined as they waited for an escort.

This May 20, 1860, cover was included in the first of the westbound Pony Express mails delayed due to the war. The previous westbound mail which departed St. Joseph one week earlier, on Sunday, May 13, was carried through the war zone on Robert "Pony Bob" Haslam's historic 380-mile round trip on May 19-21. The mail datestamped May 20 was carried as far west as possible and held until a military escort could accompany the riders beyond the dangerous part of the route. Mail from three subsequent trips--May 27, June 3 and June 10--eventually caught up with the May 20 mail, somewhere near Ruby Valley, and was carried to California. The Daily Alta California 6/24/1860 contains a report from Carson City dated June 23, which states, "The long missing Pony Express arrived at Carson City last evening, bringing dates from St. Louis to June 10th." The San Francisco Bulletin 6/25/1860 reported "The Pony Express will arrive here to-night about 10 o'clock, on board the Sacramento steamer. The Express will bring four several letter-bags--the number now due--and will have altogether 300 letters, at least" (boldface added for emphasis, original article shown on page 16). This report confirms that the four delayed Pony mails arrived in San Francisco on June 25.

Five covers are recorded with these departure dates (FKW census W4, W5, W6, W7 and W10). One of these left St. Joseph on June 3, but was delivered to a military officer at Camp Floyd near Salt Lake City (W6), so it is technically not a cover delayed by the war. The westbound trip departing from St. Joseph on Sunday, June 10, was the last scheduled Sunday departure, and it made it through to California after catching up with the three earlier mails. The Mountaineer 6/16/1860 reports the arrival of an express from the East in Salt Lake City at 8 p.m. on June 15, which fits with the June 10 departure.

How did the express with the four mails, including this cover, travel westward to Carson City? A soldier named Charles A. Scott reported in his journal that the military escort of "20 picked men, well armed and mounted," which guarded the May 25 eastbound mail through hostile territory after they left Carson City on June 9, passed through Roberts' Creek on June 15. The convoy moved at a rate of approximately 40 miles per day, obviously a much slower pace than an individual Pony rider could achieve. The timing strongly indicates that the westbound mail, which had accumulated in the safe zone for weeks, was carried to Carson City with the same military escort on its return trip. The westbound express reached Carson City during the evening of June 22 (Daily Alta California 6/24/1860). Six days of travel points to a June 16 or 17 departure from somewhere near Ruby Valley, where the 4th Artillery had set up their base of operations.

FKW Census W4. Ex Elliott N. Evans (pencil source notation on back with 1969 acquisition year), Dr. Polland and Haas. With 1969 P.F. certificate.

E. 40,000-50,000
52,500
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 2, Pony Express Covers, St. Joseph June 3, 1860, Running Pony oval and Latham free frank--westbound Pony mail delayed by Paiute Indian War and carried with military escort

Pony Express, St. Joseph, Jun. 3 (1860). Full clear strike of Running Pony oval datestamp on cover with free frank "Milton S. Latham U.S.S." and addressed in his hand to General James W. Denver, care of Frank Denver in Sacramento, Latham's directive "Per Pony Express" along left edge, blue crayon "Free" above oval and pencil "Free F.A.M." at right, lightened stain and minor cosmetic improvements

VERY FINE. ONE OF FOUR RECORDED WESTBOUND PONY EXPRESS COVERS DELAYED DUE TO THE PAIUTE INDIAN WAR IN 1860, OF WHICH TWO HAVE FREE FRANKS.

As documented in The Impact of Indian Attacks on the Pony Express in 1860 (published by our firm and available at http://siegelauctions.com/enc/Pony_Indians.pdf), even when service in California and Nevada was suspended from June 1 to July 6, 1860, the Pony Express continued to run in both directions on a shortened route between St. Joseph and Ruby Valley. The westbound mails addressed to California that left St. Joseph on May 20, May 27, June 3 and June 10 (Sunday departures) were carried as far west as possible and held until a military escort could accompany the riders beyond the dangerous part of the route. Five covers are recorded with these departure dates (FKW census W4, W5, W6, W7 and W10). One of these left St. Joseph on June 3, but was delivered to a military officer at Camp Floyd near Salt Lake City (W6), so it is technically not a cover delayed by the war.

The westbound trip departing from St. Joseph on Sunday, June 10, was the last scheduled Sunday departure, and it made it through to California after catching up with the three earlier mails. The Mountaineer 6/16/1860 reports the arrival of an express from the East in Salt Lake City at 8 p.m. on June 15, which fits with the June 10 departure. The Daily Alta California 6/24/1860 contains a report from Carson City dated June 23, which states, "The long missing Pony Express arrived at Carson City last evening, bringing dates from St. Louis to June 10th." The San Francisco Bulletin 6/25/1860 reported "The Pony Express will arrive here to-night about 10 o'clock, on board the Sacramento steamer. The Express will bring four several letter-bags--the number now due--and will have altogether 300 letters, at least" (boldface added for emphasis, original article shown opposite). This report confirms that the four delayed Pony mails arrived in San Francisco on June 25.

How did the express with the four mails, including this cover, travel westward to Carson City? A soldier named Charles A. Scott reported in his journal that the military escort of "20 picked men, well armed and mounted," which guarded the May 25 eastbound mail through hostile territory after they left Carson City on June 9, passed through Roberts' Creek on June 15. The convoy moved at a rate of approximately 40 miles per day, obviously a much slower pace than an individual Pony rider could achieve. The timing strongly indicates that the westbound mail, which had accumulated in the safe zone for weeks, was carried to Carson City with the same military escort on its return trip. The westbound express reached Carson City during the evening of June 22 (Daily Alta California 6/24/1860). Six days of travel points to a June 16 or 17 departure from somewhere near Ruby Valley, where the 4th Artillery had set up their base of operations.

Senator Milton S. Latham, who franked the cover, went to California in 1850 and was elected to Congress on the 1852 Democratic ticket. After his term expired, he declined to run for re-election and served as collector for the port of San Francisco. In 1859 he was elected governor, but he resigned five days after taking office to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant when Senator David C. Broderick was killed in a duel. It was during his term as a U.S. senator that Latham franked this cover addressed to his friend and fellow Democrat, General James W. Denver, who was the former territorial governor of Kansas, state senator and U.S. congressman, and who would be commissioned as a general in the Union army at the start of the Civil War.

Senator Latham was a friend of William H. Russell, the COC&PP president, and a strong supporter of their effort to secure the contract for the Central Route. He was among the few individuals later permitted to send Pony Express letters free of charge. In this case Senator Latham's free frank applied to the $5.00 Pony Express rate and U.S. postage. Six of the 16 recorded Pony Express covers with any form of free frank are signed by Latham (FKW E94, W3, W5, W7, W48 and W62). The eastbound cover (E94) has the San Francisco Running Pony oval. Three of the westbound Latham covers have the St. Joseph Running Pony oval (W3, W5 and W7), and two have the oval within circle datestamp (W48 and W62). The cover offered here is one of two Latham free-franked covers delayed by the Paiute Indian War (the other is dated May 27, FKW W5).

FKW Census W7. Ex Salzer, Vogel, Walske, Stach and "New Helvetia"

E. 50,000-75,000
50,000
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c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 3, Pony Express Covers, Eastbound Pony Express cover with blue and carmine Running Pony ovals

Pony Express, San Francisco, Aug. 22 (1860). Blue Running Pony oval datestamp clearly struck and tying 10¢ Green, Ty. V (35) on blue cover addressed to Robert Patton in Covington, Kentucky, sender's directive "Pony Express, August 22nd 1860", bold strike of carmine "Pony Express, St. Joseph, Sep. 2" (1860) Running Pony oval receiving datestamp on back, no indication of $2.50 rate, entered the mails with "Saint Joseph Mo. Sep. 2, 1860" circular datestamp also tying 10¢ stamp, receipt docketing "George Binds, himself, Keep this carefully for me, R Patton", cover opened for display and professionally restored with some paper backing and additions, but not affecting the stamp or markings

A REMARKABLY BOLD AND COMPLETE STRIKE OF THE CARMINE RUNNING PONY OVAL OF ST. JOSEPH, APPLIED AS A RECEIVING MARK ON A COVER WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO BLUE RUNNING PONY OVAL.

The St. Joseph Running Pony handstamp was normally struck in black, but the FKW census records ten covers with this marking struck in the distinctive carmine color (listed below). They are dated from August 12 to September 13, 1860, and all but two are struck on the backs of the covers. Four have 10¢ adhesive stamps (Scott 35), all eastbound with the carmine oval struck on the back as a receiving mark.

The FKW census lists five covers with the 10¢ 1857 stamp tied by the San Francisco Running Pony oval, all eastbound: E15 (the cover offered here), E16, E38, E46 (offered as lot 8 in this sale) and E49.

This cover was sent from San Francisco on Wednesday, August 22, 1860, after the new Pony Express rate of $2.50 per quarter-ounce (half of the $5.00 per half-ounce rate) was announced at St. Joseph. News of the rate change took approximately two weeks to reach the West Coast and was implemented in San Francisco starting with the August 15 eastbound trip.

The addressee, Robert Patton, was a prominent citizen of Covington, Kentucky, and served as the town's mayor before the Civil War. At the start of the war, he enlisted in the Confederate army and held the rank of colonel. In 1862 he was among a large group of Kentucky citizens indicted for treason for joining the rebellion, but the sealed indictments were never prosecuted and only became public in 1866.

FKW Census E15. Ex Dale-Lichtenstein.

Covers with St. Joseph Carmine Running Pony handstamp
Eastbound
FKWPony OriginSt. Jo Carmine PonyAddressStamp
E12SF 8/4/18608/16/1860 (back)Coffin, Warren RI35
E13SF 8/18/18608/30/1860 (back)Lincoln, Springfield IL35
E14Plac 8/19/18608/30?/1860 (back)Robbins, Fredonia (?)U16
E15SF 8/22/18609/2/1860 (back)Patton, Covington KY35
E16SF 8/25/18609/6/1860 (back)Ross, Boston MA35
E17Ft Br 8/31/18609/6/1860 (back)Cumming, Augusta GA26 (2)
Westbound
FKWPony OriginSt. Jo Carmine PonyAddressStamp
W9NY (date?)8/12/1860 (front)Crosby & Dibblee, SFU15
W10None9/6/1860 (back)Fiske, Sacramento CAU10
W11NY (date?)9/6/1860 (back)Crosby & Dibblee, SFU27
W12NY (date?)9/13/1860 (front)Crosby & Dibblee, SFU27

E. 20,000-30,000
20,000
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c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 4, Pony Express Covers, One of three recorded covers franked by William H. Russell, the most prominent of the three Pony Express founders

William H. Russell. One of the three co-founders of the Pony Express, "Free W. H. Russell" free frank (for Pony Express fee) on 3¢ Red on Buff Star Die entire (U27) addressed in his hand to Judge William A. Carter, the station agent at Fort Bridger, Utah Territory (later in Wyoming Territory), "The Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company, St. Joseph, Mo. Sep. 30" (1860) oval datestamp applied at origin, receipt docketing on back "Recd. Oct. 6th /60" which confirms a six-day Pony Express trip starting at St. Joseph on Sunday, September 30, 1860, reduced and opening faults at right

FINE AND ATTRACTIVE WESTBOUND PONY EXPRESS COVER FROM WILLIAM H. RUSSELL, ONE OF THE THREE FOUNDERS, TO JUDGE WILLIAM A. CARTER, KNOWN AS "MR. FORT BRIDGER." ONLY THREE PONY COVERS ARE RECORDED WITH WILLIAM H. RUSSELL FRANKING SIGNATURE.

Only three of the 16 recorded Pony Express covers with any form of free frank are signed by William H. Russell (FKW W2, W15A and W24). All were carried on westbound trips. The earliest (FKW W2) is the Stebbins Line Telegraph imprint cover with a St. Joseph Running Pony oval dated May 6 (1860), which our firm sold in the William H. Gross United States Stamp Treasures sale in October 2018 (Sale 1188, lot 51). The cover listed as FKW W24 is a plain envelope addressed to J. E. Bromley, the division superintendent at South Pass, with a November 22 (1860) St. Joseph Running Pony oval, which was sold in our 2009 sale of the Thurston Twigg-Smith collection (Sale 979, lot 8). The cover offered here was recently listed as W15A in the online FKW census on the basis of the receipt docketing dated October 6, 1860. It traveled over the 1,041-mile route from St. Joseph to Fort Bridger in six days, a speed attainable only by the Pony Express.

The addressee, William A. Carter (1818-1881), was born in Virginia and served as a soldier and sutler in Florida during the Seminole wars. He came to Fort Bridger in 1857 with the Utah Expedition and remained there until his death, with active interests in provisioning, mining, lumbering, and ranching. He served as postmaster and probate judge. In 1860 and 1861 he was COC&PP's Fort Bridger station agent on the Central Route. Carter's ledger of Pony Express arrivals and departures is in private hands.

FKW Census W15A. Illustrated in Coburn, Letters of Gold (page 254). Ex Haas.

E. 7,500-10,000
6,250
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Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 5, Pony Express Covers, Autograph letter signed by Pony Express founder William H. Russell to Judge William A. Carter, the station agent at Fort Bridger, announcing the new rate of $2.50 per quarter-ounce

William H. Russell. One of the three co-founders of the Pony Express, autograph letter signed "W. H. Russsell Prst." on printed letterhead of "Office of The Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Co., Leavenworth City, Kansas," dated July 31, 1860, to Judge William A. Carter at Fort Bridger, informing Carter of the new $2.50 rate per quarter-ounce:

Sir, We have reduced the Tariff on letters to $2.50 pr 1/4 oz & pr addil. weight or fractions given by the regulations of the P.O. Dept. Very respectfully, W. H. Russell Prst.

Notations at lower left with names and numbers in odd arrangement (possibly a code)

A RARE LETTER FROM WILLIAM H. RUSSELL, ONE OF THE PRINCIPALS IN THE PONY EXPRESS, TO JUDGE WILLIAM A. CARTER, THE STATION AGENT AT FORT BRIDGER, WITH SIGNIFICANT CONTENT RELATED TO THE EARLY OPERATION OF THE PONY EXPRESS.

This notice from William H. Russell, president of the Central Overland California & Pike's Peak Express Company, is dated July 31, 1860, and was probably sent with the westbound Pony mail that departed from St. Joseph on Thursday, August 1, 1860, and arrived in San Francisco on August 12. It would have reached Fort Bridger around August 6. The new fractional rate of $2.50 per quarter-ounce--half of the current $5.00 per half-ounce rate--took effect in San Francisco with the Pony trip departing on August 15. The first California newspaper ad with the "change of tariff" appeared on August 15 in the Daily Alta California.

The recipient, William A. Carter (1818-1881), was born in Virginia and served as a soldier and sutler in Florida during the Seminole wars. He came to Fort Bridger in 1857 with the Utah Expedition and remained there until his death, with active interests in provisioning, mining, lumbering, and ranching. He served as postmaster and probate judge. In 1860 and 1861 he was COC&PP's Fort Bridger station agent on the Central Route. Carter's ledger of Pony Express arrivals and departures is in private hands.

Illustrated in Frajola-Kramer-Walske, The Pony Express: A Postal History (page 25). Ex Haas.

E. 2,000-3,000
0
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c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 6, Pony Express Covers, One of nine recorded “PAID. Central Overland Pony Express Company” entires and a rare way-mail Pony Express cover

PAID./Central Overland Pony Express Company. Two-line frank with manuscript “$2.50” quarter-ounce rate and “Placerville, Cal. Oct. 25” (1860) station agent’s way-mail marking on 10¢ Pale Green on Buff Nesbitt entire (U18a) to Mrs. Frances Bye, Wellsville, Ohio, “The Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company, St. Joseph, Mo. Nov. 5” oval datestamp applied the day of arrival (the entire trip was 12 days), lightly-inked strike of “Saint Joseph Mo. Nov. 8” double-circle datestamp (date is unreadable, but the other two recorded covers from this trip are dated November 8), with original letter enclosure from F. W. Bye to his mother, Frances, datelined “Placerville Oct. 25th 1860” and stating that a $100 draft is enclosed, conservatively treated to remove staining, minor sealed half-inch tear at top

VERY FINE. ONE OF NINE RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE “CENTRAL OVERLAND PONY EXPRESS COMPANY” FRANK, OF WHICH SIX ARE 10-CENT ENTIRES. PONY EXPRESS COVERS WITH ORIGINAL LETTERS ARE ALSO VERY RARE AND DESIRABLE.

The updated FKW census lists nine entires with the two-line frank, which identifies the company as the Central Overland Pony Express Company (COPEC). In fact, there was no such company, but rather The Central Overland California & Pike’s Peak Express Company owned and operated the Pony Express. Of the nine entires, six are 10¢ values. The presence of manuscript station markings on several of these COPEC franks, including the cover offered here, supports the theory that they were mainly used by telegraph operators and by relay station agents for way mail received along the Pony Express route.

This cover was sent from Placerville on October 25 and placed in the way-mail pocket of the mochilla that contained the Wednesday, October 24, mail from San Francisco. It passed through Fort Kearney on November 3 (see news report below) and arrived at St. Joseph on November 5. The sender, F. W. Bye, might be connected with Henry & Bye, commission and forwarding agents based in Placerville in 1860.

FKW Census E31. Ex “Alyeska.”

E. 15,000-20,000
0
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c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 7, Pony Express Covers, Eastbound Pony Express way-mail cover with 3¢ 1857 stamp affixed and cancelled on arrival at St. Joseph terminal office

The Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company, St. Joseph, Mo. Nov. 23 (1860). Mostly complete strike of oval datestamp applied on arrival to way-mail cover carried on the Pony Express trip that started in San Francisco on Saturday, November 10, 1860, and arrived in St. Joseph on November 23, addressed to Charles White, Whitestown, New York, sender's directive "By Pony Express", 3¢ Dull Red, Ty. III (26) affixed by St. Joseph office over manuscript "1/4" quarter-ounce weight notation ($2.50 rate), cancelled by grid with matching "Saint Joseph Mo. Nov. 24" double-circle datestamp, stamp has margin defects including piece out at lower right, cover slightly reduced at left

VERY FINE OVERALL APPEARANCE. AN EXTREMELY UNUSUAL PONY EXPRESS COVER WITH UNITED STATES POSTAGE AFFIXED ON ARRIVAL--THE COVER WAS PLACED INTO THE MOCHILLA SOMEWHERE ALONG THE ROUTE OF THE PONY TRIP THAT STARTED IN CALIFORNIA ON NOVEMBER 10, 1860.

This cover was placed in the way-mail pocket of the mochilla that contained the November 10, 1860, mail from San Francisco. Its sender's name and mailing location are not known, but it must have originated within the distance limit for the 3¢ rate. Postage was probably paid in cash, and upon arrival in St. Joseph, the receiving office applied the November 23 oval datestamp, then affixed the 3¢ stamp. The St. Joseph post office applied the November 24 datestamp and cancelled the stamp before sending the cover on the eastbound train.

Pony Express way-mail covers are rare. A similar way-mail cover with two 3¢ stamps is listed as FKW E17, but it differs from the cover offered here in two respects. First, the Fort Bridger office applied a manuscript express marking, establishing the origin point. Second, it is impossible to tell whether the two 3¢ stamps (double rate) were affixed at Fort Bridger or at St. Joseph. On the cover offered here, the stamp is affixed partly over the St. Joseph oval, which proves it was not on the cover when it arrived at the end of the Pony trip. This is the only cover we have seen on which the adhesive stamp was applied at the receiving office.

FKW Census E39A. With letter of opinion from Richard C. Frajola stating "it is a genuine usage carried by the Pony Express" and explaining how the 3¢ stamp was applied by the St. Joseph office before this way-mail cover was placed into the mails.

E. 7,500-10,000
0
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c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 8, Pony Express Covers, One of five recorded covers with the 10¢ 1857 stamp tied by the San Francisco Running Pony oval

Pony Express, San Francisco, Dec. 8 (1860). Blue Running Pony oval datestamp clearly struck and tying 10¢ Green, Ty. V (35), interpane centerline margin at right, matching "The Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company, San Francisco, Cal." dateless oval handstamp on mostly complete blue folded cover addressed to A. A. Low & Brother in New York City, sender's directive "pr Pony Express", manuscript "1/4 oz" weight notation ($2.50 rate), carried on the Pony trip departing San Francisco on Saturday, December 8, 1860, and arriving at St. Joseph 15 days later on December 23--a longer journey due to winter weather--on arrival the "Pony Express, The Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company, St. Joseph, Mo. Dec. 23" large oval within circle receiving datestamp was applied in green on the backflap, entered mails with "Saint Joseph Mo. Dec. 24" double-circle datestamp tying 10¢ stamp, a few small bleached spots, red wax wafer affixed to the inside shows remnants of a printed form

VERY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE PONY EXPRESS COVER WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNNING PONY OVAL TYING THE 10-CENT STAMP. ONLY FIVE SUCH COVERS ARE RECORDED.

The recipient firm, A. A. Low & Brother, was named for Abiel Abbot Low and his brother, Josiah Orne Low. Founded in 1840, the firm became one of the leading importers of China and Japan silks and teas, and operrated its own line of clipper ships. In 1850 Low completed the A. A. Low building at 167–171 John Street, now the offices of the South Street Seaport Museum. The firm was situated at its Burling Slip building from 1850 until after the turn of the century. One of the two April 3, 1860, first trip Pony Express covers comes from the A. A. Low & Brother correspondence. The iconic New York City landmark Low Memorial Library at Columbia University was named for Abiel Abbot Low by his son, Columbia president Seth Low.

The FKW census lists five covers with the 10¢ 1857 stamp tied by the San Francisco Running Pony oval, all eastbound: E15 (offered as lot 3 in this sale), E16, E38, E46 (the cover offered here) and E49.

FKW Census E46. Ex Matthies and Gibson (featured on the front cover of the 1984 Christie's Robson Lowe sale catalogue). With 1984 P.F. certificate.

E. 15,000-20,000
35,000
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Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 9, Pony Express Covers, Double strikes of the San Francisco Running Pony oval

Pony Express, San Francisco, Dec. 5 (1860). Blue Running Pony oval datestamp struck twice on 10¢ Pale Green on Buff Nesbitt rebacked front (U16a) addressed to Lucien Birdseye, 39 Wall Street, New York City, dark blue "The Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company, San Francisco, Cal." dateless oval handstamp and pencil "1/2" half-ounce weight notation ($5.00 rate), carried on the Pony trip departing San Francisco on Wednesday, December 5, 1860, and arriving at St. Joseph 14 days later on December 19--a longer journey due to winter weather--entered mails with "Saint Joseph Mo. Dec. 21" double-circle datestamp and grid cancel on embossed stamp, flaps professionally added

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF SIX RECORDED PONY EXPRESS COVERS (OR FRONTS) WITH A DOUBLE STRIKE OF THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNNING PONY OVAL.

The FKW census lists six covers with the San Francisco Running Pony oval struck twice, all eastbound: E16, E38, E45 (offered here), E55 (second strike half complete), E87 (to Prince Edward Island, faint strike on stamps) and E108 (part strike on $2.00 Horse & Rider stamp).

The addressee, the Honorable Lucien Birdseye (1821-1896), was a prominent New York City attorney and State Supreme Court Justice.

FKW Census E45. Illustrated in Frajola-Kramer-Walske, The Pony Express: A Postal History (page 32). With 1979 P.F. certificate.

E. 5,000-7,500
8,000
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10°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 10, Pony Express Covers, New York Office dated oval and St. Joseph Running Pony oval on a winter westbound Pony Express cover

California Pony Express, New-York, Dec. 11 (1860). Bold strike of greenish-blue oval datestamp on 3¢ Red on Buff Star Die entire (U27) to Daniel Gibb & Company in San Francisco, sent to the eastern terminus at St. Joseph where "Pony Express, St. Joseph, Dec. 16" Running Pony oval datestamp was boldly struck at lower left, arithmetic notations applied at the offices of Gibb & Company, slight wear at top left corner

VERY FINE. A SPECTACULAR WESTBOUND COVER WITH THE RARE NEW YORK OFFICE DATED OVAL AND ST. JOSEPH RUNNING PONY DATESTAMP. ONLY TWO COVERS ARE RECORDED WITH THIS COMBINATION OF PONY EXPRESS MARKINGS.

Only 21 covers have the St. Joseph Running Pony oval struck on the front, including two in carmine and four eastbound covers (one of which is badly damaged). Of the 21, only two have this distinctive New York office oval with a date, and they are both dated December 11 (FKW W28 and W29).

The two December 11 covers were carried on the same trip to two different addresses in San Francisco. They were sent in a package of U.S. mail from New York City to the eastern terminus at St. Joseph. The under-3,000 miles "loophole" allowed westbound mail to be sent in bundles from the East Coast with only 3¢ U.S. postage. This loophole was closed by the Act of February 27, 1861, which eliminated the mileage provision and required 10¢ on any letter crossing the Rocky Mountains.

This cover and its twin were carried on the westbound trip from St. Joseph, departing Sunday, December 16, and arriving in San Francisco on December 31. According to the Sacramento Daily Union 12/31/1860, the express passed Placerville on December 30 and carried letter dates to December 14 and telegraph dispatches to Fort Kearney to December 18.

The addressee, Daniel Gibb & Company, was a large merchant firm in San Francisco. Daniel Gibb and his brother William purchased the original lease for the New Idria Quicksilver Mine and brought the mine into successful production in 1858. New Idria quickly became one of the world's largest mercury mines. The firm's warehouse at Front and Vallejo Street is a registered historic landmark building.

FKW Census W29. Illustrated in Coburn, Letters of Gold (page 77). Ex Dr. Polland and "Alyeska."

E. 15,000-20,000
16,000
Back to Top
11°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 11, Pony Express Covers, The "Cuba Pony"--the only recorded Pony Express cover from Cuba and one of three originating outside the United States

California Pony Express Paid. Red double-line oval handstamp on blue folded invoice datelined "Havana 5 September 1860" from Levy Hermanos (Levy Brothers)--detailed invoice for 137,550 cigars in 15 cases, billed at $3,480.23, including shipping and customs duty--addressed to St. Losky, Levy & Co. in San Francisco, sender's directive "pr Pony Express" and "Paid" notation, blue "Forwarded by Duncan Sherman & Co. New-York" oval handstamp applied by commercial banking firm in New York City which received invoice from Cuba and forwarded it through the New York office of the Central Overland California & Pike's Peak Express Company, postage paid by 3¢ Dull Red, Ty. III (26) affixed over part of the written word "Express" and effectively tied by faint ink bleed, left uncancelled since this invoice was carried in a package of letters to St. Joseph for the next Pony trip, wedge-shaped sealed tear at bottom of address panel below blue oval

VERY FINE. AN EXTRAORDINARY COVER, WHICH TRAVELLED ON AN OCEAN STEAMSHIP FROM CUBA TO NEW YORK CITY, THEN BY TRAIN TO ST. JOSEPH, AND FROM THERE 1,800 MILES WEST TO CALIFORNIA BY PONY RIDERS, AND FINALLY BY RIVER STEAMBOAT FROM SACRAMENTO TO SAN FRANCISCO.

This folded invoice dated September 5, 1860, was written by the Levy Brothers firm in Havana, Cuba, and addressed to St. Losky, Levy & Co. in San Francisco, a major importer of Cuban cigars (see advertisement below). In 1855 the firm's principal, Julius Levy, had been convicted of illegally smuggling 67 cases of cigars into the United States (U.S. vs. Julius Levy), but the firm continued on for many years, operating a legitimate importing business.

The Levy Brothers employee wrote instructions on the address panel to send the invoice by Pony Express and marked it "Paid," presumably enclosing a form of payment for the express and postage charges. Assuming that it was mailed from Havana on or shortly after September 5, it was probably carried on a vessel arriving in New York City around September 10-11. There is nothing to indicate exactly when Duncan, Sherman & Company applied their oval forwarding handstamp, but they handed the invoice to the New York office of the Central Overland California & Pike's Peak Express Company, which was then located on the corner of Broadway and Fulton Street. At this time the COC&PP vice president, Jerome B. Simpson, was the firm's New York agent. Simpson was implicated in the Indian Trust Bond scandal in the late fall of 1860, and left New York City.

Based on the September 5, 1860, dateline and a New York September 10-11 steamship arrival date, it is assumed this made the Sunday, September 16, Pony departure from St. Joseph, which reached San Francisco on September 26.

FKW Census W13. Illustrated in Frajola-Kramer-Walske, The Pony Express: A Postal History (page 79). Ex W. R. Parker and Haas. With 1988 P.F. certificate.

E. 20,000-30,000
0
Back to Top
12°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 12, Pony Express Covers, November 1860 letter from France to California with "Pony Express" directive

Sender's "Pony Express" Directive. Mostly complete blue folded letter addressed to B. Eugene Auger in San Francisco with "13th Novb" (1860) date notation at lower left of address panel, from Cesar Auguste Robert with report on wine market in France, blue "Cesar Aug. Robert New-York" double-oval handstamp, no other markings

VERY FINE. A RARE EXAMPLE OF PONY EXPRESS MAIL ORIGINATING OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES.

Cesar Auguste Robert, whose blue oval handstamp is struck at lower left, was a New York importer/exporter specializing in California and French wines. The addressee, B. Eugene Auger, was a French immigrant who became a successful wine merchant and producer in California. Robert and Auger engaged in extensive business correspondence related to the wine business.

This letter originated with Robert in France on November 13, 1860. It was probably carried from Le Havre to New York on the November 14, 1860, sailing of the Havre Line's Arago, which arrived on November 28. The Havre Line's two ships, Arago and Fulton, were commissioned as transport ships during the Civil War and did not return to service until late in 1865.

Allowing time for Robert's New York office to process the mail received from the Arago, this could have been transported to St. Joseph for the Thursday, December 6, 1860, westbound Pony trip. The December 6 mail was received in San Francisco on December 20, a slightly longer trip due to winter weather. However, Auger's name does not appear in the Daily Alta California's published lists of addressees for the Pony Express arrivals in December 1860 or January 1861. Since this letter bears no markings, it is possible that it was bundled with other letters and sent to another addressee in San Francisco for distribution. This type of mail without Pony Express markings is not listed in the FKW census--only a few are known.

E. 750-1,000
0
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13°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 13, Pony Express Covers, The earliest recorded Wells Fargo & Company franked entire carried by Pony Express and the only Pony cover from Silver City

"Pony Express Paid $2.50, Silver City March 7th/61". Manuscript express marking and "X" cancel on 10¢ Green on Buff Nesbitt entire (U16) with red Wells Fargo & Co. printed frank, addressed to Ephraim Brigham in Natick, Massachusetts, "Via Carson City UT Mch 7/61" manuscript express marking in a different hand--at Carson City the cover was placed into the way-mail pouch of the mochilla carried on the Pony trip that departed San Francisco on Wednesday, March 6, 1861, passed through Carson City March 7, and arrived in St. Joseph on March 20--entered the mails with green "Saint Joseph Mo. Mar. 21" double-circle datestamp and matching grid cancel, tears in backflap and also into red frank and embossed stamp at right (skillfully sealed)

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF SIX RECORDED PONY EXPRESS COVERS ORIGINATING IN NEVADA AND THE ONLY ONE FROM SILVER CITY. THIS IS THE EARLIEST RECORDED USE OF A WELLS FARGO & COMPANY FRANKED ENTIRE FOR PONY EXPRESS MAIL.

The Pony Express mochilla had four pouches. Three were used for mail originating at the San Francisco and St. Joseph offices. The letters were bundled and wrapped in water-resistant oiled silk, then placed in the pouches, which were locked for the entire trip (only certain offices had the key). The fourth pouch was used for way mail, which was collected at stations along the route and placed into the pouch by the station agents.

Carson City was located on the Pony Express route in Nevada Territory, which was established as a territory on March 2, 1861, just five days before this cover was given to the Pony rider. The Carson City marking uses the "U.T." designation for Utah Territory. Before Nevada Territory was established, the Washoe region was considered part of western Utah. Carson City became the first territorial capital.

Silver City was located about 11.5 miles northeast of Carson City. In 1861 Silver City had a population of 1,200 and served as a vital link between the Comstock mines and the processing mills located near Dayton and along the Carson River. This cover was given to Wells Fargo & Co.'s office at Silver City and prepaid $2.50 for Pony Express service (quarter-ounce rate). The red printed frank paid for express service from Silver City to the Pony station at Carson City. John W. Grier was the first Wells Fargo agent for the area in and around Silver City, a position he held until his death in 1885.

Pony Express way-mail covers from Nevada are very rare. This cover came to light shortly before it was acquired by George Kramer in a 2006 Schuyler Rumsey auction. It was added to the FKW online census as E60A, and is the first recorded and only known Pony Express cover from Silver City.

FKW Census E60A. With 2006 P.F. certificate.

E. 10,000-15,000
13,500
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14°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 14, Pony Express Covers, Red San Francisco Running Pony oval dated April 17, 1861-- carried on the first eastbound trip of the $2.00 rate period

Pony Express, San Francisco, Apr. 17 (1861). Running Pony oval datestamp in red clearly struck on 10¢ Green on White Nesbitt entire (U15) addressed to A. W. Canfield, care of George Updyke & Co., New York City, sender's directive "Pony Express", no indication of $2.00 rate, carried on the Pony trip that departed San Francisco on Wednesday, April 17, 1861, and arrived in St. Joseph on April 30, entered the mails with green "St. Joseph Mo. Apr. 30" circular datestamp, small opening slit at top, faint stain spot at bottom right

VERY FINE. ONE OF THE FINEST EXAMPLES OF THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNNING PONY OVAL IN RED AND THE ONLY RECORDED RED STRIKE WITH A DATE. THIS APRIL 17, 1861, EASTBOUND TRIP FROM SAN FRANCISCO MARKED THE BEGINNING OF THE $2.00 PER HALF-OUNCE RATE PERIOD.

The April 17 trip was the first to occur in San Francisco after notice of the new $2.00 rate was received from St. Joseph by Pony Express. This marks the beginning of what postal historians call Rate Period 3, and it is also the early stage of Phase II, known as the Interim Phase, in which the Pony Express was operated as a joint private enterprise by COC&PP (now controlled by Holladay) and the Overland Mail Company, with Wells Fargo & Company acting as agents for the business. Starting on April 15, newspaper ads announced the new rates and that Wells Fargo would receive Pony Express mail (see first notice opposite).

The FKW census lists only five covers with the San Francisco Running Pony oval (SF-RP) struck in red instead of blue (see table below). The earliest has a blank date field and is used with the "Central Overland California & Pike's Peak Express Company, San Francisco, Cal." oval (SF-COCPP) dated March 20, 1861, also struck in red. The next sequential cover in the FKW census is an April 4, 1861, way-mail use from Sacramento without San Francisco markings. Following that are three covers sent from San Francisco on the same trip--April 13, 1861--each of which has the undated Running Pony oval in red and red SF-COCPP dated April 13. Finally, the fifth recorded cover (offered here) has a Running Pony red oval with the date inserted--April 17--and without the SF-COCPP oval. Two other covers from this April 17 trip are recorded (E69–offered in lot 15– and E70), both of which have the Running Pony dated oval struck in blue, not red. There are tiny flecks of blue ink present in the red strike on this cover. Changes in management and operations could be factors explaining why red ink was temporarily used by the San Francisco office.

From a collecting standpoint, this cover is the finest example of the red San Francisco Running Pony oval. An equally fine strike is found on the cover to England (E64), but the overseas use is of far greater significance and value. The strike on E63 is also very clear, but the upper right corner of the 10¢ entire has been cut out and repaired. The E61 and E65 covers have lightly inked strikes. The cover offered here (E67) is clearly struck with all details of the marking fully inked and visible.

FKW Census E67. Illustrated in Frajola-Kramer-Walske, The Pony Express: A Postal History (page 45). Ex Haas and "Edwards" (Grombacher). With 1966 P.F. certificate.

Covers with San Francisco Red Running Pony handstamp (all eastbound)
FKWSF-RP DateSF-COCPP Oval DateSt Jo CDS DateAddressStampFrank
E61Undated Red3/20/1861 Red4/4/1861 GreenBeers, NYCU16None
E63Undated Red4/13/1861 Red4/26/1861 GreenStark, New London CTU16WF Red
E64Undated Red4/13/1861 Red4/26/1861 GreenHubback, Liverpool GBNoneNone
E65Undated Red4/13/1861 Red4/26/1861 GreenCanfield, NYC35None
E674/17/1861 RedNone4/30/1861 GreenCanfield, NYCU15None

E. 20,000-30,000
23,000
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15°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 15, Pony Express Covers, Blue San Francisco Running Pony oval dated April 17, 1861-- one of three carried on the first eastbound trip of the $2.00 rate period

Pony Express, San Francisco, Apr. 17 (1861). Running Pony oval datestamp in blue struck on 10¢ Green on Buff Nesbitt entire (U16) addressed to Charles Arthur Ely in Elyria, Ohio, no indication of $2.00 rate, carried on the Pony trip that departed San Francisco on Wednesday, April 17, 1861, and arrived in St. Joseph on April 30, entered the mails with bold green "St. Joseph Mo. Apr. 30" circular datestamp, with original letter enclosure datelined San Francisco, April 17, 1861, from Henry Leffingwell at 6 Montgomery Block, concerning debts incurred by Charles Ely and demanding reimbursement--"I send this by Pony, because I cannot wait any longer"

VERY FINE. THIS APRIL 17, 1861, EASTBOUND TRIP FROM SAN FRANCISCO MARKED THE BEGINNING OF THE $2.00 PER HALF-OUNCE RATE PERIOD. PONY EXPRESS COVERS WITH ORIGINAL LETTER ENCLOSURES ARE VERY RARE.

The April 17 trip was the first to occur in San Francisco after notice of the new $2.00 rate was received from St. Joseph by Pony Express. This marks the beginning of what postal historians call Rate Period 3, and it is also the early stage of Phase II, known as the Interim Phase, in which the Pony Express was operated as a joint private enterprise by COC&PP (now controlled by Holladay) and the Overland Mail Company, with Wells Fargo & Company acting as agents for the business. Starting on April 15, newspaper ads announced the new rates and that Wells Fargo & Company would receive Pony Express mail.

The FKW census lists three covers from this trip. Two have the San Francisco Running Pony oval struck in blue (the other cover has a partly restored address) The third is the cover offered in lot 14, which has the dated Running Pony oval in red with tiny flecks of blue ink. Changes in management and operations could be factors explaining why red ink was temporarily used by the San Francisco office.

Henry Leffingwell, a San Francisco real estate agent with offices at 6 Montgomery Block, was a frequent newspaper advertiser, offering properties for sale or rent. According to the letter, Leffingwell had provided considerable financial assistance to his friend, Charles A. Ely, and was demanding payment of the long overdue debt.

Information about Charles Arthur Ely (1829-1864) may be found at OhioHistory.org: "[he] was the son of Heman Ely, who founded the city of Elyria. Ely attended Elyria High School and at the Scientific School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was interested in science, and played a prominent role in creating both the Natural History Society of Elyria and the Lorain County Agricultural Society. In 1852 he visited South America as an agent for the Goodyear Rubber Company. Two years later he married Louise Caroline Foote in Cleveland, Ohio. Facing declining health, the Elys went on an extended trip to China at his doctor's orders. Returning to Elyria in 1860, Ely pursued several philanthropic causes. In his will he provided for the establishment of a public library, which opened in 1870."

FKW Census E69. Signed by Stanley B. Ashbrook and illustrated in his Special Service (pages 225-226, photo 120). Illustrated in Nathan-Boggs, The Pony Express (page 39). From our 1985 Rarities of the World sale (Sale 645, lot 8).

E. 5,000-7,500
8,000
Back to Top
16°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 16, Pony Express Covers, The famous and unique $4.00 Green Pony Express cover

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $4.00 Green (143L2). Position 15, large margins to clear at left, used with $2.00 Red (143L1), Position 3, clear to ample margins except in at top, tied by clear strike of "Pony Express, San Francisco, Jun. 26" (1861) Running Pony oval datestamp on 10¢ Green on Buff Star Die entire (U33) addressed to Eugene Kelly & Co., 164 Fulton Street, New York City, embossed Donohoe, Ralston & Company corner card beneath stamps, sender's directive "Pony Express June 26th" and carried on the Pony trip that departed San Francisco on Wednesday, June 26, 1861, and arrived in St. Joseph on July 8, entered the mails with bold green "St. Joseph Mo. Jul. 8" circular datestamp, no obvious evidence of missing stamps, but it is presumed that two 10¢ stamps were affixed overlapping the embossed stamp and were removed from the cover, since the triple $2.00 per half-ounce express fee would require corresponding triple 10¢ rate postage, Pony Express stamps have creases and sealed tears, and have been lifted and reaffixed

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED COVER WITH THE $4.00 GREEN AND ONE OF TWO WITH A COMBINATION OF HORSE & RIDER STAMPS. WIDELY REGARDED AS ONE OF THE GREATEST PONY EXPRESS COVERS AND AN IMPORTANT ARTIFACT OF WESTERN AMERICAN POSTAL HISTORY.

The Wednesday, June 26, 1861, Pony mail from San Francisco was carried on the penultimate eastbound trip during the Phase II (Interim) operational period and Rate Period 3. From April 1, through June 30, 1861, the rate for a Pony Express letter was $2.00 per half-ounce. The $2.00 Red and $4.00 Green Horse & Rider stamps were issued in April 1861 by Wells Fargo & Company for use on mail from the West. On July 1, the new government mail contract for overland mail on the Central Route and the Pony Express took effect, and the rate was reduced to $1.00 per half-ounce. A new $1.00 Red stamp was issued, and the colors of the $2.00 and $4.00 were changed to Green and Black, respectively.

The FKW census records 37 covers with the First Issue $2.00 Red (143L1) and $4.00 Green (143L2) stamps, including 36 with a single $2.00 and this unique cover with a $4.00 (and $2.00). The only other Horse & Rider combination cover is offered as lot 24--it is stamped with the July 1861 $1.00 Red and $2.00 Green.

The $2.00 and $4.00 were printed by lithography in sheets of 20 (5 wide by 4 high). Rather than build up the printing stone from intermediate transfer groups or from a primary matrix containing the denomination, the printers used a blank matrix to enter each subject on the stone for each value. This required a total of 40 transfers (20 for each value). The denomination (shaded numerals "2" and "4") then had to be individually transferred to each subject on both stones, thus requiring another 40 separate transfers. It seems incredible that experienced lithographers such as Britton & Rey did not simplify the process by using intermediate transfers. The $2.00 Green and $4.00 Black July 1861 issue were printed from the same stones used to print the April 1861 issue.

This cover originated in San Francisco and was carried by steamer to Sacramento, which was the original western terminus for the actual Pony relay, but starting with the July 7, 1860, trip, the terminus was moved to Folsom, located at the eastern end of the Sacramento Valley Railroad line. On July 1, 1861, the terminus was moved farther east to Placerville. The addressee, Eugene Kelly & Company, was a prominent banking firm. In June 1860 the banking firm of Donohoe, Ralston & Company was opened in San Francisco. The principals were Joseph Donohoe, William Ralston, Eugene Kelly and Ralph Fretz. Eugene Kelly & Company in New York served as the East Coast representative. William Ralston, the renowned California financier, lost all of his wealth in the aftermath of the Panic of 1873. He drowned while swimming in San Francisco Bay, which was attributed to a stroke, but thought by many to have been suicide.

FKW Census E105. Illustrated in Ashbrook's Special Service (pages 225-226, photo 304), Coburn, Letters of Gold (page 259), Frajola-Kramer-Walske, The Pony Express: A Postal History (page 48) and Walske-Frajola, Mails of the Westward Expansion, 1803 to 1861 (page 227). Ex C. E. Chapman (faint "CEC" handstamp at lower left), Alfred H. Caspary, Raymond H. Weill Co., Siegel 1967 and 1970 Rarities of the World sales (Sale 313, lot 165, and Sale 371, lot 216), and Dr. Leonard Kapiloff (acquired privately by George Kramer). With 1957 and 2019 Philatelic Foundation certificates.

E. 150,000-200,000
150,000
Back to Top
17°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 17, Pony Express Covers, Pony Express way-mail use from Nevada Territory with $2.00 Red on Freeman & Co. franked entire with Wells Fargo & Co. overprint

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $2.00 Red (143L1). Position 16, mostly large margins, ample to just touched at right, tied by blue "Wells, Fargo & Co., Carson City, Jun. 16" (1861) oval datestamp on 10¢ Pale Green on Buff Nesbitt entire (U18a) to William B. Taylor, current postmaster of New York City, with red Wells Fargo & Co. frank printed twice over green Freeman & Co. frank, sender's directive "Pr Pony Express June 16/61"--at Carson City the cover was placed into the way-mail pouch of the mochilla carried on the Pony trip that departed San Francisco on Saturday, June 15, 1861, passed through Carson City June 16, and arrived in St. Joseph June 27--entered the mails with green "St. Joseph Mo. Jun. 27" circular datestamp and matching grid cancel on 10¢ embossed stamp, cover restored at top with some paper added and part of red printed frank inked in, $2.00 stamp has faint crease and tiny repair at top right

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. THIS COVER IS THE EARLIEST OF EIGHT RECORDED EXAMPLES OF PONY EXPRESS USAGE OF OBSOLETE FREEMAN & COMPANY FRANKED ENTIRE WITH THE WELLS FARGO & COMPANY OVERPRINT -- AMONG THE EIGHT, IT IS ONE OF FOUR WITH THE $2.00 RED, THE ONLY WAY-MAIL USAGE AND THE ONLY ONE ORIGINATING IN NEVADA TERRITORY.

John Freeman was an agent for Adams & Co. at the time of the firm's spectacular Lehman-like collapse in February 1855. He ran the Freeman & Co. Express until November 1859, then sold out to Wells Fargo & Co. The unused supply of 10¢ embossed envelopes bearing Freeman & Co.'s green frank was overprinted with the Wells Fargo & Co. red frank in two directions. Some of these were used to send letters by Pony Express. There are eight examples recorded in the FKW census, evenly divided between $2.00 and $1.00 Horse-and-Rider stamp frankings (see table below).

This cover was datestamped on June 16, 1861, by the Wells Fargo & Co. office at Carson City in Nevada Territory. The $2.00 Red paid the Pony Express fee (Rate Period 3), and the red frank presumably paid for Wells Fargo service from another location. Carson City was situated on the Pony Express route, and this cover was added to the mochilla containing the mail that originated in San Francisco on Saturday, June 15. The mochilla had four pouches. Three were used for mail originating at the San Francisco and St. Joseph offices. The letters were bundled and wrapped in water-resistant oiled silk, then placed in the pouches, which were locked for the entire trip (only certain offices had the key). The fourth pouch was used for way mail, which was collected at stations along the route and placed into the pouch by the station agents.

Pony Express way-mail covers are rare, as are Pony covers originating in Nevada Territory. Only five covers from Carson City are recorded in the FKW census: E23, E30, E60A, E97 and E152. This is the only one with the Freeman & Co. overprinted frank. The addressee, William B. Taylor, served briefly as New York City's postmaster, from January 16, 1861, through March 20, 1862.

FKW Census E97. Illustrated in Needham-Berthold, Handstamped Franks: Used as Cancellations on Pony Express Letters 1860 and 1861 and the Pony Express Stamps and Their Use (reprint of Collectors Club Philatelist articles, July and October 1927) and Nathan-Boggs, The Pony Express (page 41).

Ex Lichtenstein (Costales Apr. 26-27, 1950, lot 5) and J. David Baker

Covers with overprinted Freeman & Co. Express frank (all eastbound)
*=WF& Co. outlying office to Sacramento **=Way mail picked up east of Sacramento
FKWOriginating Office DateSt Jo CDS DateAddressEntirePony Stamp
E97**Carson Cty 6/16/18616/27/1861Taylor, NYCU18a Buff$2 Red
E104*Marysville 6/20/18617/4/1861Woodward, Foxcroft MEU17a White$2 Red
E106*Nevada 6/24/18617/8/1861Birdseye, NYCU17a White$2 Red
E107SF 6/29/18617/11/1861Wetherbee, Westfield MAU18a Buff$2 Red
E111SF 7/6/18617/18/1861Wetherbee, Westfield MAU18a Buff$1 Red
E116*Marysville 7/17/18617/29/1861Hapgood, Warren OHU17a White$1 Red
E121SF 7/20/18618/1/1861Merrill, NYCU18a Buff$1 Red
E124SF 7/24/18618/5/1861Merrill, NYCU18a Buff$1 Red

E. 15,000-20,000
18,500
Back to Top
18°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 18, Pony Express Covers, The earliest recorded westbound Pony Express cover of Rate Period 3 and one of two Pony covers with a black Wells Fargo & Company frank

California Pony Express, New-York, Apr. 6 (1861). Partly clear strike of ultramarine oval datestamp on 10¢ Pale Green on Buff Nesbitt entire (U16a) with Wells Fargo & Company black printed frank, addressed to James Pullman, Sansome and Sacramento Streets, San Francisco, no indication of $2.00 rate (Rate Period 3) and no government post office markings, carried by Wells Fargo to St. Joseph where green "Pony Express, The Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company, St. Joseph, Mo. Apr. 14" large oval within circle datestamp was applied before the cover was carried on the Sunday, April 14, westbound trip to San Francisco, some minor toning around edges

VERY FINE. THIS IS THE EARLIEST RECORDED WESTBOUND PONY EXPRESS COVER FROM THE PHASE II OPERATIONAL PERIOD AND RATE PERIOD 3. THE USE OF THE WELLS FARGO & COMPANY BLACK FRANK IS VERY UNUSUAL--ONLY ONE OTHER IS RECORDED (AN EASTBOUND USE).

The Phase II (Interim) operational period and Rate Period 3 started in St. Joseph on April 1, 1861, and the first westbound trip left on Thursday, April 4, followed by trips on Sunday, April 7, and Thursday, April 11. No covers from these three trips are recorded. The cover offered here is the earliest recorded westbound mail to which the new $2.00 per half-ounce rate and Phase II handling procedures applied.

Wells Fargo & Company became involved with the Pony Express in April 1861 and issued stamps for use in the West and a franked entire for use in the East. The first Pony Express frank--Type I--was printed in red on the 10¢ Green on White Nesbitt entire (U15). Several unused examples of the Type I frank are known, but only two used examples are recorded, dated with the "California Pony Express New-York" oval on May 7 and June 22, 1861 (FKW W41 and W43). The rarity and dates of use of the Type I frank suggest it was used briefly and with limited distribution before the Type II franked entire was issued after July 1.

This cover is a fascinating Interim Phase usage. The black frank is found on only two Pony Express covers. The other is on the 3¢ Star Die entire to France with a $1.00 Red Pony Express stamp and blue San Francisco Running Pony oval dated July 27, 1861 (E126). It was sent unpaid to France, and the 3¢ embossed stamp counted for nothing. The cover offered here is a westbound use, and the sender presumably used the 10¢ franked entire to pay postage and the Wells Fargo fee during the Interim Phase.

A puzzling aspect of this cover is the lapse between the April 6 New York date and the April 14 St. Joseph date. Typically, there is a difference of four or five days. A few covers are known with an 8-day difference. In this case, the mail might have just missed the April 11 departure and was datestamped for the next trip on April 14.

FKW Census W38. Illustrated in Walske-Frajola, Mails of the Westward Expansion, 1803 to 1861 (page 228).

E. 15,000-20,000
0
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19°
ng
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 19, Pony Express Covers, Complete set of Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express Horse & Rider Issues

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $1.00-$4.00 Horse & Rider Issues (143L1-143L5). Unused set of all five Horse & Rider stamps including $2.00 Red and $4.00 Green First Issue (April 1861) and $1.00 Red, $2.00 Green and $4.00 Black Second Issue (July 1, 1861), 143L1 part original gum, others no gum, all have four margins (mostly clear to large), 143L3 and 143L4 slight creases and thin spots, others sound

FINE-VERY FINE OR SIMILAR APPEARANCE. AN ATTRACTIVE UNUSED SET OF WELLS, FARGO & COMPANY'S HORSE & RIDER STAMPS ISSUED FOR USE ON THE LEGENDARY PONY EXPRESS.

Commencing July 1, 1861, the Pony Express was authorized by Congress to carry mail at the rate of $1.00 per half-ounce. Although the Scott Catalogue lists the July 1861 issue Pony Express stamps (143L3-143L6) with other private post issues, we wish to emphasize that these stamps were issued under the terms of a government mail contract; therefore, they have semi-official status. Although some of the Horse & Rider stamps were remaindered, they are scarce and the vast majority do not have gum or four margins.

E. 500-750
1,600
Back to Top
20°
ngbl
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 20, Pony Express Covers, $1.00 Red block of four with the Broken Leg variety

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $1.00 Red, Broken Leg (143L3 var). Position R9 upper left stamp in block of four (R9-10/13-14), unused (no gum), large margins, bright color, tiny pinhole in bottom left stamp does not affect the variety or the appearance of this beautiful block

EXTREMELY FINE BLOCK OF THE PONY EXPRESS $1.00 HORSE & RIDER ISSUE CONTAINING THE ONLY MAJOR FLAW ON THE PRINTING STONE OF 40 SUBJECTS--THE BROKEN LEG VARIETY.

This is the most distinctive plate flaw found on any Pony Express stamp. Only nine examples are known to us, including four locked up in full sheets. Blocks containing the Broken Leg variety are extremely rare.

E. 1,500-2,000
1,900
Back to Top
21°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 21, Pony Express Covers, The celebrated and unique "Patriotic Pony" cover to Europe-- one of the iconic items of American postal history

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Position L9, three full margins to slightly in at left, tied by clear strike of blue "Pony Express, San Francisco, Sep. 14" (1861) Running Pony oval datestamp with matching "PAID" in oval handstamp, used with 30¢ Orange (38) to pay Prussian Closed Mail rate, tied by "Atchison, Kan. Sep. 27" double-circle datestamp on Civil War patriotic cover depicting three-quarter portrait of George Washington and quote from his Farewell Address--"To the Efficacy and Permanency of Your Union, A Government for the whole is indispensible", no imprint but similar to illustrations and type used by Hutchings & Rosenfield of San Francisco (two other known examples of this design are used from Stockton, California, and Vancouver, Washington Territory).

The cover is addressed to Mr. H. Hauschildt at Elmshorn in Schleswig-Holstein, then under Danish crown rule, with sender's directive "by Hamburg" (18.5 miles south of Elmshorn) and in the same hand on back "Stadt Altona"--Altona was a Danish harbor town on the Elbe river.

The cover was carried on the Pony Express trip departing San Francisco on Saturday, September 14, 1861, and arriving in Atchison, Kansas, on September 27. At this date the western terminus for the Pony relay was at Placerville, and the eastern terminus had been moved from St. Joseph to Atchison, due to Confederate bushwacker attacks on railroad lines near St. Joseph. From Atchison it was sent by railroad to New York for the October 5 sailing of the Hamburg-American line's Saxonia, which off-loaded the mail at Southampton on October 17. Mail for the German-Austrian Postal Union (GAPU) was transported to Aachen for processing. From there the cover was sent north to Hamburg. Since Elmshorn was located in Schleswig-Holstein, then under the Danish monarchy's rule, the cover was turned over to the Royal Danish Postal Agency in Hamburg and transported to Elmshorn. Danish postage was collected from the addressee.

The sequential transit markings follow the route described above: red "N.York Am. Pkt. 7 Paid Oct. 5" (1861) 7¢ credit datestamp dated on the departure day of the HAPAG Saxonia; red framed "AACHEN 19 10/FRANCO" (October 19) transit datestamp and matching framed "FRANCO/PREUSS. RESP. VEREINS/AUSGANGS-GRENZES" handstamp (Paid to the GAPU Border); "HAMBURG 20 10" (October 20) datestamp on back; "KDOPA HAMBURG 20/10" (October 20) Royal Danish Postal Agency in Hamburg double-circle datestamp on back; "HOLST. EISENB. POST SP. BUREAU Z2 20/10". (Holsteinisches Eisenbahn Postspeditions Bureau) Holstein railway datestamp on back; red crayon "4" on front for postage due in Danish rigsbank skilling.

THIS EXTRAORDINARY COVER HAS SEVERAL RARE OR UNIQUE ATTRIBUTES--IT IS:

ONE OF THREE RECORDED CIVIL WAR PATRIOTIC COVERS CARRIED BY PONY EXPRESS, TWO OF WHICH ARE IN PRIVATE HANDS

ONE OF SIX PONY EXPRESS COVERS TO DESTINATIONS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, AND OF THOSE SIX, IT IS THE ONLY COVER TO DENMARK OR GERMANY, THE ONLY PATRIOTIC COVER, AND ONE OF FOUR WITH A PONY EXPRESS STAMP

THE ONLY PONY EXPRESS COVER WITH A 30-CENT POSTAGE STAMP.

The overall condition of the cover is excellent. We note that the 30¢ stamp has a few short or toned perfs, there are two vertical creases at center of cover clear of stamps, an edge tear above the "Paid" handstamp is sealed, and the cover has been lightly cleaned.

FKW Census E160. Illustrated in Ashbrook, The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851-1857, Vol. II (page 294), Brookman, The United States Postage Stamps of the 19th Century (page 259), Nienken, The United States Ten Cent Stamps of 1855-1859 (page 238), Coburn, Letters of Gold (page 77), AMERIPEX '86 color feature in Chronicle 130, Frajola-Kramer-Walske, The Pony Express: A Postal History (page 78), and Walske-Frajola, Mails of the Westward Expansion, 1803 to 1861 (page 231).

Ex Lawrence L. Shenfield, Katherine Matthies (exhibited at SIPEX 1966; Siegel 1979 Rarities of the World, Sale 544, lot 251, to Paliafito), Robert Paliafito (sold privately to Ishikawa) and Ryohei Ishikawa (Christie's Robson Lowe sale, Sep. 28-29, 1993, lot 355, to George Kramer).

E. 500,000-750,000
525,000
Back to Top
22°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 22, Pony Express Covers, The Pony Express cover that traveled in both directions between Folsom and Sacramento on the first trip of the government contract period

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Position L1, ample margins, bright shade, small tear at top and diagonal crease at lower right, tied by clear strike of blue "Wells, Fargo & Co. Express, Folsom" oval handstamp, bold strike of blue "Pony Express, Sacramento, Jul. 4" (1861) oval datestamp on 10¢ Green on White Star Die entire (U32) with Wells Fargo & Company printed red frank, addressed to Miss Drucilla A. Beach, Massena, New York, pen cancel on embossed stamp, no post office markings, carried with the mail that left San Francisco on July 3, 1861, the first trip under the new government mail contract--with original letters datelined at Folsom, the first on July 1 from Mrs. E. D. Shirland, cousin of Charles R. Shirland, and the second on July 3 from Charles; Mrs. Shirland writes: "My Dear Cousin, If not cousin now I hope it soon will be as Cousin Charlie has informed me of an engagement existing between yourself and him. He also has told me of his intentions of sending for you to come to California" and warns her to avoid travelers who are "not fit companions for a lady to associate with"; Charles informs Drucilla that he has sent her $50 and another $350 draft (the receipt for this Wells Fargo draft is located in their archives), explains her travel arrangements, and states that it is 2:00 p.m. (on July 3) and "the Pony starts on his journey overland to the Eastern states at 4 o'clock."

EXTREMELY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED PONY EXPRESS COVER FROM FOLSOM, WHICH MADE A JOURNEY IN BOTH DIRECTIONS--24 MILES WEST FROM FOLSOM TO SACRAMENTO, WHERE IT WAS PLACED IN THE MOCHILLA, THEN BACK EAST TO FOLSOM AND ONWARD FROM PLACERVILLE BY PONY EXPRESS ON THE FIRST TRIP UNDER THE NEW GOVERNMENT CONTRACT.

The government awarded the mail contract along the Central Route to the Overland Mail Company on March 12, 1861, effective July 1. The contract paid $1,000,000 per year for mail/passenger service along the Central Route and required the company "...during the continuance of their Contract, or until completion of The Overland telegraph, to run a Pony Express semi-weekly at a Schedule time of ten days eight months of the year and twelve days four months of the year, and to convey for the Government free of charge five pounds of Mail Matter; with liberty of charging the public for transportation of letters by said express not exceeding One dollar per half ounce..."

This period of operation is known as Phase III, which corresponds to Rate Period 4 (July 1-October 24, 1861). On July 1 Wells Fargo & Co. issued new stamps and envelopes to reflect the agreed-upon government contract rate for the Pony Express. The fee for Pony Express service between Placerville and St. Joseph (or Atchison) could not exceed $1.00 per half-ounce. If Wells Fargo & Co. carried the letter by express to or from Placerville (for example, from San Francisco), an extra express fee was charged. If the sender used one of Wells Fargo & Co.'s stamped envelopes with the printed frank and 10¢ embossed postage, the total amount paid was $1.20 ($1.00 for Pony Express service plus 20¢ for additional express charge and postage). The Wells Fargo ad noted that "letters not enclosed as above [in government franked envelopes] will be charged at the rate of 25 cents each [in addition to the $1.00 Pony Express fee]." Since the July 1 commencement date of the new contract was known well in advance at both the eastern and western terminal offices, the $1.00 rate went into effect simultaneously, and new stamps were ready for the first eastbound trip.

The first trip under the new contract was an eastbound departure from San Francisco on July 3. It is not known when this mail arrived in St. Joseph, but the Confederate bushwackers' destruction of rail lines and bridges on the Hannibal & St. Louis Railroad had already caused disruptions, presaging the Platte Bridge Railroad Tragedy of September 1861 which prompted the relocation of the eastern terminus from St. Joseph to Atchison. Another cover from this trip is known, with a San Francisco July 3 Running Pony datestamp (FKW E109, Siegel Sale 979, lot 30). Both covers entered the mail without datestamps; the July 3 cover was cancelled on arrival with a New York City grid, and this July 4 cover was pen-cancelled.

The unusual east-to-west and west-to-east journey this cover took is probably best explained by the timing. Rather than hold the cover until the Pony mochilla passed through Folsom, it was sent by train to Sacramento to meet the express there. The Sacramento office applied its July 4 oval datestamp and the cover made its way back to Folsom and on to Placerville, where the Pony relay started.

FKW Census E110. Illustrated in Coburn, Letters of Gold (page 259) and Frajola-Kramer-Walske, The Pony Express: A Postal History (page 60). Ex Haas. With 1982 P.F. certificate.

E. 30,000-40,000
30,000
Back to Top
23°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 23, Pony Express Covers, The "Black Pony"--the finer of two recorded $4.00 Black Pony Express covers

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $4.00 Black (143L5). Position 15, full margins to touching or just into frameline, sharp impression, gum spots around edges, tied by full clear strike of blue "Pony Express, San Francisco, Aug. 10" (1861) Running Pony oval datestamp, large blue "Wells, Fargo & Cos. Express, S.Frco. 10 Aug." double-circle datestamp on 8.25 by 3.5 inch legal-size cover addressed "To The Hon. Fifth Auditor of The Treasury, Washington, D.C." with sender's directive "'By Pony'--Voucher by regular mail" in the same hand, return address at upper right in a different hand "U.S. Consulate, Honolulu H.Islands", green seal on back with embossed "CONSULATE U.S.A. HONOLULU, OAHU H.I." and American eagle, two strikes of "Forwarded by McRuer & Merrill, San Francisco" double-line oval handstamp on back--carried from Honolulu to San Francisco on the American bark Yankee, which sailed on July 18 and arrived on August 7; then carried on the Pony Express trip that departed from San Francisco on Saturday, August 10, and arrived in St. Joseph on August 22, entered mails with green "St. Joseph Mo. Aug. 22" circular datestamp, carried to Washington D.C. free of postage (official mail), opened on three sides, minor nicks and tears around edges

VERY FINE. THE FINER OF TWO RECORDED $4.00 BLACK PONY EXPRESS COVERS, BOTH ORIGINATING IN HAWAII. ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT COVERS IN UNITED STATES POSTAL HISTORY.

The first Pony Express stamps--the $2.00 Red and $4.00 Green--were issued in April 1861 after Wells Fargo & Co. became involved in operating the express. When the $1.00 per half-ounce contract rate took effect on July 1, 1861, a new set of stamps was ready, comprising the $1.00 Red, $2.00 Green and $4.00 Black.

This cover was used in 1861 to send documents from the U.S. consul in Honolulu, Hawaii, to John C. Underwood, the fifth auditor of the United States Treasury in Washington D.C. It has a nearly identical mate, with the same postal markings applied on the same days, and also bearing a $4.00 Black Pony stamp (they form a pair, Positions 14-15, with this stamp on the right). The only differences between the two covers are the color of the consulate label--green on this cover and red on the other--and the notation "By Pony--Vouchers by regular mail" on this cover. The other cover shows effects of a chemical agent on the address.

Each of the $4.00 Black Pony covers has the oval backstamp applied by McRuer & Merrill, the Honolulu resident agent in San Francisco and owner of the Regular Despatch Line, whose ships transported mail between Hawaii and San Francisco. McRuer & Merrill is listed in the 1861 Langley San Francisco city directory (Valentine & Co., publishers) as follows: "McRuer (D.) Co. & Merrill (John C.), auction, shipping, and commission merchants, agents Honolulu packets, 117 and 119 California, dwl 18 Laurel Place." It seems likely that McRuer & Merrill paid for the stamps in San Francisco. The presence of the large Wells Fargo & Co. double-circle datestamp on each cover is unusual for Pony Express mail, and it was probably applied by the Wells Fargo clerk before the Pony stamps were affixed.

This $4.00 Black Pony cover (green seal) was in the Henry Needham collection, sold by Eugene Costales in the late 1940s and early 1950s. John R. Boker Jr. reported that he acquired all of the Needham material with the exception of the $4.00 Black Pony cover that Costales promised to Alfred F. Lichtenstein. A pencil source notation on back "Costales 1/5/53 ULSS" is dated after Lichtenstein's death in 1947, so this was acquired by his daughter, Louise Boyd Dale. The cover sold to George Kramer in the May 2004 H. R. Harmer sale of the Dale-Lichtenstein Pony Express collection for $525,000 hammer.

The other cover (red seal) reached the market through H. P. Atherton. In a 1932 advertisement, he stated "For Sale--A perfect $4.00 Black W-F Pony Stamp used on a large Envelope bearing a red seal of The U.S. Consulate at Hawaii, on the reverse. Price on application. H. P. Atherton, 1562 Main St., Springfield, Mass." The "red seal" identifies that cover as the one sold by Atherton, and the Halls' notation on back identifies him as the source in 1932. When the Hall collection was sold by the Siegel firm in 2000 (Sale 830, lot 822), the red seal cover sold for $325,000 hammer to Thurston Twigg-Smith, and when his collection was sold by Siegel (Sale 979, lot 36), it sold for $550,000 hammer.

FKW Census E140. Illustrated in Needham-Berthold, Handstamped Franks: Used as Cancellations on Pony Express Letters 1860 and 1861 and the Pony Express Stamps and Their Use (reprint of Collectors Club Philatelist articles, July and October 1927), Knapp, Pony Express (page 20, figure 7), Frajola-Kramer-Walske, The Pony Express: A Postal History (page 62), Walske-Frajola, Mails of the Westward Expansion, 1803 to 1861 (page 230), and Gregory, Hawaii Foreign Mail to 1870, Vol. II (page 438, fig. 20-47).

Ex Needham and Dale-Lichtenstein. With 2000 P.F. certificate.

E. 300,000-400,000
330,000
Back to Top
24°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 24, Pony Express Covers, The $1.00 and $2.00 Pony Express combination cover--the only cover known with two different July 1861 Issue stamps and one of two with the $2.00 Green

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4). Position 18 (showing plate flaw on rider's face), large margins to just touching frameline, used with $1.00 Red (143L3), Position R1, full margins to slightly in, both stamps tied by clear strike of blue "Pony Express, San Francisco, Aug. 3" (1861) Running Pony oval datestamp on large cover addressed to C. S. Parsons, 93 Beekman Street in New York City, separated vertical pair of 10¢ Green, Ty. V (35) cancelled by three strikes of New York City grid cancel-- carried on the Pony trip that departed San Francisco on Saturday, August 3, 1861, and arrived in St. Joseph on or about August 15, the mail from this Pony trip was brought to New York City and postmarked at the post office on August 18 (two others are recorded: FKW E131 with NYC grid cancel, and E133 with NYC August 18 datestamp)--cover opened on three sides and slightly reduced, long diagonal cover tear across upper left corner has been expertly repaired (not affecting stamps), 10¢ pair has a large piece of one replaced, a third 10¢ stamp to make up the triple rate was probably removed, but there is no trace of it

THE ONLY RECORDED COVER WITH A COMBINATION OF THE PONY EXPRESS SECOND HORSE & RIDER ISSUE AND ONE OF TWO COVERS WITH THE $2.00 GREEN SECOND ISSUE. A MAGNIFICENT PONY COVER AND IMPORTANT ARTIFACT OF WESTERN AMERICANA.

The first Pony Express stamps--the $2.00 Red and $4.00 Green--were issued in April 1861 after Wells Fargo & Co. became involved in operating the express. When the $1.00 per half-ounce contract rate took effect on July 1, 1861, a new set of stamps was ready, comprising the $1.00 Red, $2.00 Green and $4.00 Black. The FKW census lists only two covers with the Second Issue $2.00 Green (143L4), and this is the only recorded cover with a combination of two Second Issue stamps. The only other Horse & Rider combination cover is offered as lot 16 in this sale--it is stamped with the April 1861 $2.00 Red and $4.00 Green.

This cover was prepaid $3.00 for the triple Pony Express rate based on weight (it weighed between 1 and 1.5 ounces). The corresponding postage of 10¢ per half-ounce should have been 30¢, which has led to the longstanding assumption that a third 10¢ stamp was originally affixed and has since fallen off or been removed. There is no physical evidence of a missing stamp, such as a ghost outline in regular or ultraviolet light, but it is possible the third stamp was affixed at the top right corner, and the cover has been reduced slightly at right. Since this is the only known cover with a combination of the July 1861 Horse & Rider stamps, the missing stamp and restoration are immaterial.

The cover originated in San Francisco and was carried by steamer to Sacramento, which was the original western terminus for the actual Pony relay, but starting with the July 7, 1860, trip, the terminus was moved to Folsom, located at the eastern end of the Sacramento Valley Railroad line. On July 1, 1861, the terminus was moved farther east to Placerville. On the eastern end of the Pony relay, during the summer of 1861 there were problems caused by Confederate bushwacker attacks on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad lines and bridges, beginning in June. Federal military forces were called in to protect the mail route, which was one of Ulysses S. Grant's first commissions as a colonel. After the troops left in August 1861, the Platte Bridge Railroad Tragedy occurred when sabotage led to the derailment of a train over the Platte River, which killed 20 and injured 100 more. Shortly after, the eastern terminus was relocated from St. Joseph to Atchison, Kansas, to provide greater protection from Confederate partisans.

The addressee, C. S. Parsons at 93 Beekman Street, is listed in the city directory as Clement S. Parsons, who was a successful owner of a firm which sold boots and shoes. In August 1861 he served as a trustee on the board of the Columbian Marine Insurance company. This cover probably contained business papers.

FKW Census E132. Illustrated in Ashbrook's Special Service (pages 184-185), Nathan-Boggs, The Pony Express (page 46) and Bakers' U.S. Classics (page 113). Ex John F. Seybold and J. David Baker. Acquired by George Kramer in our July 10-11, 1986, sale (Sale 668, lot 50). With 1953 P.F. certificate.

E. 50,000-75,000
65,000
Back to Top
25°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 25, Pony Express Covers, The only recorded Pony Express cover datestamped at Stockton, California-- carried by riverboat to San Francisco by "Chips" Hodgkins

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Position L3 (shows white flaw in scroll line above "CO."), full even margins, bright shade, tied by mostly clear strike of blue "Wells, Fargo & Co., Stockton, Sep. 3" double-oval datestamp on 10¢ Green on Buff Star Die entire (U33) with Wells Fargo & Company printed red frank, addressed to Mrs. Caroline Taylor, care of Mrs. Mary R. Stow, Geneva, New York, red "T. Robinson Bours & Co., Bankers, Stockton" red oval handstamp, carried on the Pony trip that departed San Francisco on Wednesday, September 4, 1861, and arrived in St. Joseph on September 17, entered the mails with perfect bold strike of "St. Joseph Mo. Sep. 17" circular datestamp, accompanying certificate notes $1.00 has diagonal tear at bottom right, entire with corner repair at top left and a sealed 6mm horizontal cut at the center of the Stockton oval--none of these are apparent

EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. THE ONLY RECORDED PONY EXPRESS COVER WITH A STOCKTON OFFICE MARKING. A COLORFUL USE OF THE $1.00 RED HORSE & RIDER STAMP.

After Wells Fargo & Company became involved in the operation of the Pony Express in April 1861, their offices began acting as feeder lines to the Pony Express. Examples of Pony covers with markings of Wells Fargo offices that were not actually located on the route are rare. The FKW census lists covers from Marysville, Nevada City (California), Mt. Ophir and Yreka, and this Stockton cover was added as E154A soon after it first came to light in 2009. Other covers are known with Wells Fargo markings from offices on the Pony route, such as Sacramento, Placerville, Folsom and others in Nevada Territory.

Stockton is located on the San Joaquin River east of San Francisco--the trip by riverboat in 1861 took about eight hours. At this time the Wells Fargo riverboat messenger in Stockton was Pilsbury "Chips" Hodgkins (1825-1892). Mail for the Pony Express left Stockton at 6:00 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays, in order to reach San Francisco in time for the eastbound departures. This cover was datestamped on Tuesday, September 3, and presumably was carried by Hodgkins on that day or the next morning. The $1.00 Red stamp paid the Pony Express rate, and the entire with the red frank paid the Wells Fargo charge for service to San Francisco.

On the day this cover was datestamped at Stockton--September 3--an incident occured 2,000 miles away that would have a significant consequence for the Pony Express. Confederate bushwackers, who had been destroying rail lines and bridges on the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad since June, attempted to burn the support columns of the bridge over the Platte River. The sabotage caused a westbound train to derail and plunge 30 feet into the shallow river, killing 20 and injuring 100 more. As a result of this attack, the eastern terminus of the mail route was moved from St. Joseph to Atchison, Kansas. The September 11 eastbound Pony mail from San Francisco was the first to be postmarked at Atchison.

FKW Census E154A. With 2009 P.F. certificate.

E. 10,000-15,000
12,000
Back to Top
26°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 26, Pony Express Covers, The penultimate Pony Express mail from California with a $1.00 Red Horse & Rider stamp cancelled at Sacramento

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Position R5 with interpane margin at left, large even margins all around, bright shade, tied by clear strike of blue "Pony Express, Sacramento, Oct. 20" (1861) oval datestamp on 10¢ Yellow Green on Buff "Pumpkin" entire (U41) with Wells Fargo & Company printed red frank, addressed to Miss Sarah E. Tukey, care of C. H. Hudson, Boston, Massachusetts, carried with the mail that left San Francisco on Saturday, October 19, 1861, reached Sacramento on October 20 and arrived in Atchison on November 4, entered the mails with unusually clear strike of "Atchison Kan. Nov. 4" double-circle datestamp, two repaired tears at top--one 35mm long to right of stamp but not affecting it, other at center into "D" of "PAID" in red frank--some gum staining around stamp has been removed

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN ATTRACTIVE PONY EXPRESS COVER WITH THE $1.00 RED HORSE & RIDER ISSUE THAT WAS CARRIED ON THE SECOND TO LAST EASTBOUND TRIP FROM SAN FRANCISCO.

Construction of the transcontinental telegraph line started at each end and worked toward the middle. As the gap closed, telegraph messages carried by Pony Express were conveyed as soon as they reached the first office with the capacity to send messsages by wire. On August 6, 1861, the San Francisco Bulletin printed over its dispatches, "By telegraph to Fort Kearney from St. Louis, thence by Pony Express to Robert's Creek Station, thence by telegraph to San Francisco." In the August 13, 1861, edition, the same paper reported that the Pony Express rider was leaving his dispatches for the Bulletin and other Pacific Coast newspapers at Dry Creek station. By the beginning of September, hundreds of miles were cut from the distance between telegraph terminals on the Pony route. The eastern section of the telegraph was completed on October 17, 1861, and just one week later the final connection was made on October 24.

As soon as messages could be sent by wire, the need for the Pony Express was eliminated, and the Overland Mail Company was contractually free to discontinue the money-losing service. The last trip from San Francisco left on October 23. On October 25 the Wells Fargo & Co. office in San Francisco announced that the "Last Pony coming this way left Atchison, Kansas, yesterday [October 24]." They probably received that news by wire. After October 24, westbound Pony Express mail from the eastern terminus was carried by stage, despite the fact that the company was still collecting its $1.00 per half-ounce fee. The letters that were bagged at St. Joseph for the October 27 and 31 trips arrived in San Francisco on November 18 and 21, in line with the usual 20-day transit time by stage.

FKW Census E179. Illustrated in Nathan-Boggs, The Pony Express (page 55). Raymond H. Weill Co. backstamp. Ex Franklin D. Roosevelt and Haub. With 2016 P.F. certificate.

E. 10,000-15,000
10,500
Back to Top
27°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 27, Pony Express Covers, The only known Wells Fargo & Company surcharge frank sent by Pony Express

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Position R17, large top margin, other sides clear to slightly in, tied by blue "Pony Express, San Francisco, Aug. 7" (1861) Running Pony oval datestamp on 10¢ Green on White Star Die rebacked front (U32) with Wells Fargo & Company printed red frank and "PAID 50 Cts." surcharge overprint, addressed to Mrs. N. K. Samson, care of Ira Richards, 177 Broadway, New York City, sender's notation "V M Richards" at lower left, carried on the Pony trip that departed San Francisco on Wednesday, August 7, 1861, and arrived in St. Joseph on August 19, entered the mails in New York City with that post office's grid cancel on embossed stamp, all backflaps expertly added to make this front appear as a complete cover

VERY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF THE WELLS FARGO & COMPANY SURCHARGED ENTIRE USED ON THE TRANSCONTINENTAL PONY EXPRESS.

The "PAID 50 Cts." surcharge is one of several varieties overprinted on Wells Fargo & Company franked entires to indicate a premium rate for service--for example, for letters to and from the Boise Mines in Idaho Territory. Some of these surcharged entires are found with markings indicating that they were used for the service for which they were intended. Others, such as the example offered here, were probably used as an expediency--whether the 50¢ premium was paid and used toward the Pony Express fee, we cannot say, since the $1.00 Red stamp would have covered the fee.

We have been unable to locate any information regarding the addressee, but Ira Richards & Co. was a large jewelry maker in Attleboro, Massachusetts, which had an office at this Broadway location. The name V. M. Richards, written at lower left, does not appear in genealogical sources we consulted, but is assumed to be a relative traveling in California at the time.

FKW Census E137. Ex Dale-Lichtenstein.

E. 5,000-7,500
9,500
Back to Top
28°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 28, Pony Express Covers, The rare East-to-West Pony Express franked entire with St. Joseph datestamp

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, ($1.00) Red Type II East-to-West Frank, 10¢ Green on Thin Hard White Entire (unlisted in Scott). Boldly struck "New-York Sep. 20" (1861) circular datestamp and duplex grid cancel, printed address to the "Agent of Pony Express, St. Joseph, Mo." and handwritten address to F. Gilbert, "Melodeon," San Francisco, unusually complete and clear strike of "Pony Express, The Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company, St. Joseph, Mo. Sep. 25" large oval in circle datestamp applied one day before westbound Pony departure on Thursday, September 26, 1861, which arrived in San Francisco on October 8 or 9 (based on 12-13 day trips at this time), small part of top right corner repaired but not affecting 10¢ embossed stamp

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF 21 RECORDED TYPE II EAST-TO-WEST PONY EXPRESS ENTIRES AND ONE OF THE MORE DESIRABLE EXAMPLES THAT HAVE A ST. JOSEPH PONY EXPRESS DATESTAMP.

In anticipation of the government contract set to go into effect on July 1, 1861, Wells Fargo & Co. produced a special franked envelope for Pony Express mail from the East. After seeking approval from the Postmaster General, the 1861 10c "Pumpkin" entire with the Type II printed frank was ordered from George F. Nesbitt & Co. (New York). On August 12, 1861, Wells Fargo announced in the New York papers that "Pony Express Envelopes" were "Now ready and for sale at our office." Although this announcement refers only to "envelopes," in fact both the franked entires and $1.00 adhesive stamps were put on sale in August 1861. The earliest recorded Type II envelope is dated August 14, 1861.

Based on an article in the San Francisco Bulletin 9/13/1861, the Type II franked envelopes were problematic, because eastern post offices were sometimes sending them in the "through" mail to San Francisco, instead of directing them to St. Joseph for the Pony Express. As a result, they would arrive by regular mail ten days after the Pony Express for which they were intended. This might explain why some examples of the Type II franks are found without a St. Joseph Pony Express handstamp. The presence of the St. Joseph Pony Express datestamp, as found on the cover offered here, confirms that this was carried by Pony Express riders.

FKW Census W59. Ex Lichtenstein (Costales sale, February 10, 1947, lot 424).

E. 15,000-20,000
0
Back to Top
29°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 29, Pony Express Covers, The quadruple-rate Pony Express cover with $1.00 "Garter" strip-- an astonishing and unique icon of American postal history

Wells Fargo & Company Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6). Positions 1/6/11/16, vertical strip of four from the first vertical column in the sheet of 20, large to huge margins all around showing the corner guide marks on each stamp, used with four 10¢ Dark Green, Ty. I (62B), corresponding quadruple $1.00 Pony Express rate and 10¢ per half-ounce postage, 10¢ stamps cancelled with blue manuscript and all stamps tied on large blue linen-lined cover originating in Boston on October 11, 1861, addressed "Agent of Pony Express, St. Joseph, Mo, For Mr. Louis McLane or William A. White, Care of Messrs Wells Fargo & Co, San Francisco, California", with original letter and several legal documents from Reuben A. Richards related to the assignment of a debt owed by Joseph B. Hamblen, carried on the westbound Pony trip departing on Thursday, October 17, 1861, which arrived in San Francisco on October 29--one of the last mails to actually be carried by Pony riders before the service was closed on October 24--cover has minor small tears and nicks around edges, certificate notes slight creases in top three $1.00 stamps and a crease in one 10¢ stamp

VERY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED MULTIPLE OF ANY PONY EXPRESS STAMP ON COVER AND ONE OF FOUR EXTANT COVERS WITH THE $1.00 "GARTER" STAMP. ONE OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING OF ALL CLASSIC UNITED STATES COVERS.

The Horse & Rider Second Issue, the "Garter" Issue and Type II franked envelope were issued to prepay the $1.00 Pony Express rate under the government contract that went into effect on July 1, 1861. The franked entire and Garter adhesive were needed by Wells Fargo & Co.'s eastern offices, since the Horse & Rider stamps were never sent to them. On August 12, 1861, Wells Fargo announced in the New York papers that "Pony Express Envelopes" were "Now ready and for sale at our office." Although this announcement refers only to "envelopes," in fact both the franked entires and adhesive stamps were put on sale in August 1861.

The 1861 10c "Pumpkin" entire with the Type II printed frank was ordered from George F. Nesbitt & Co. (New York) after approval was sought from the Postmaster General's office (see lot 28). Nesbitt was specifically asked to produce envelopes on a thinner, tougher paper than that used for regular stamped envelopes, to reduce weight for the Pony riders. Nesbitt also printed the Garter stamps in sheets of 20 with his imprint below the center stamp in the bottom row. There are four recorded covers with the $1.00 Garter stamp (see list), but only one multiple is known on cover--the strip of four offered here. In fact, this is the only cover with a multiple of any Pony Express stamp.

The cover and letter are addressed to Louis McClane or William A. White, in care of the Wells Fargo office in San Francisco. McLane was Wells Fargo's general agent and later became president of the firm. The letter is datelined "Boston Mass. Octo. 11, 1861", and with the enclosures weighed between 1.5 and 2 ounces, thus requiring four times the express fee and postage. The 40¢ postage was paid with the new 10¢ 1861 First Design (Type I) stamps, and the $4.00 Pony Express fee was paid with the Garter strip. The stamps were cancelled with blue manuscript ink, and it appears that the cover was carried outside the mails all the way to the Wells Fargo office. It should have reached St. Joseph in time for the October 17, 1861, westbound Pony trip, which arrived on October 29. Newspaper notices of letters arriving by Pony during this period list McLane and Wells Fargo as recipients.

The cover was discovered by George M. Hackett in 1902 and was loaned by him to Wells Fargo for a display at the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition (see photo opposite). Hackett died in 1959, and his heirs sold the collection in a 1983 Butterfield's auction, where George Kramer bought the Garter cover.

FKW Census W64. Illustrated in 1930 Julius Loeb article in The American Philatelist (reprinted in Western Express, April 1984), described in detail in Ashbrook's Special Service (pages 599-603), and illustrated in Frajola-Kramer-Walske, The Pony Express: A Postal History (page 63). With 1983 P.F. certificate.

View enclosures at https://siegelauctions.com/2019/1207/pdf/29_enclosures.pdf

$1.00 “Garter” covers
FKWOriginSt Jo PonyAddresseeProvenance
W52NYC 8/24/618/29/61ForbesH Crocker
W64[Boston 10/11/61][10/17/61]McLaneHackett
W66NYC 10/19/6110/24/61CrouiseCaspary
W68Boston 10/19/6110/27/61PrindleW Crocker

E. 150,000-200,000
165,000
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30°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 30, Pony Express CoversHannibal & St. Joseph R.R. Brookfield Apr. (20?) 1860, Hannibal & St. Joseph R.R. Brookfield Apr. (20?) 1860Hannibal & St. Joseph R.R. Brookfield Apr. (20?) 1860. Mostly clear strike of route agent's circular datestamp ties 3¢ Dull Red, Ty. III (26) on yellow cover to Horsehead, Maryland, trivial creasing and wear around edges, Very Fine, accompanied by 1863 Hannibal & St. Joseph signed railroad pass and contemporary advertising card with map of route and slogan "missouri loyal and peaceful"--extremely rare route agent marking from the railroad that carried mail to and from the Pony Express terminus at St. Joseph (Brookfield lies halfway between Hannibal and St. Joseph), dated around the time of the first Pony trip in April 1860--ex Wyer and Risvold

E. 1,000-1,500
1,500
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31°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 31, Pony Express Covers3¢ Dull Red, Ty. III (26), 3¢ Dull Red, Ty. III (26)3¢ Dull Red, Ty. III (26). Deep shade, pen "X' cancel, "Omaha City Neb. Apr. 10, 1860" circular datestamp on 3¢ Red on Buff Nebitt entire (U10) to Hoboken, New Jersey, unusual route directive "Mail Via St. Joseph Mo", transported south from Omaha to St. Joseph, small piece of backflap missing and small tear at top, Fine, interesting cover routed through St. Joseph in April 1860, the month the Pony Express started

E. 150-200
300
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32°
c
Sale Number 1207, Lot Number 32, Pony Express Covers10¢ Green, Ty. V (35), 10¢ Green, Ty. V (35)10¢ Green, Ty. V (35). Uncancelled, clear strike of "CARSON CITY, U. T." straightline handstamp in blue with manuscript "July 4" (1860) date ("2" corrected to "4") on yellow cover to Cohoes, New York, slightly reduced at left, stamp has slight toning at left, Very Fine, scarce straightline from this mining town and Pony Express station in what was once western Utah Territory, it became part of Nevada Territory in March 1861, with 2003 P.F. certificate

E. 300-400
600
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33°
 
Newspaper Clippings. Six advertisements from contemporary newspapers for the Pony Express, includes June 26, 1861, for contract service commencing July 1, 1861, Virginia City Pony Express, these are very useful in exhibits

E. 100-150
120
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