Contact Siegel
6 West 48th Street
9th Floor
New York, NY 10036
Contact by phone:
New York: (212) 753-6421
Dallas: (214) 754-5991

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

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

Leave Absentee BidsLIVE INTERNET BIDDING
*A buyer’s premium of 18% of the winning bid will be added as part of the total purchase price on all lots in this sale. Buyers are responsible for applicable sales tax, customs duty and any other prescribed charges. By placing a bid you agree to the terms and conditions of sale.

Category — 1847 Issue to and from British North America

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
123°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 123, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, The earliest reported use of the 1847 Issue to or from Canada--July 17, 1847

10¢ Black (2), large margins all around, beautiful deep shade and proof-like early impression, tied by bold strike of red square grid cancel, matching "New-York 10cts. 17 Jul." (1847) integral-rate circular datestamp on bluish folded cover to Agent of Bank of Montreal at Belleville, Canada West, red "Montreal L.C. JY 20 1847" circular datestamp, manuscript "1/5-1/2" Canadian rate, backstamped Kingston and Belleville (both July 21), vertical file fold well away from stamp

Extremely Fine. This July 17, 1847, cover is the earliest recorded use of the United States first general issue to or from Canada.

The earliest recorded use of the 1847 Issue is the 10¢ cover from New York City to Indianapolis, postmarked July 2, 1847. The earliest use of the 1847 Issue to a foreign destination is the 10¢ cover from Philadelphia to London, postmarked July 14, 1847 (offered as lot 148). Next in line is this July 17 cover to Canada, which is the earliest use of the 1847 Issue on a cover to any location in British North America.

The 10¢ 1847 stamp paid the single-rate postage to the U.S.-Canada border. From there to Belleville, the rate was calculated at 1 shilling 5-1/2 pence, approximately 18 pence, which corresponds to the 9p rate for distance (about 250 miles), doubled for weight over a half ounce.

Ex Jonathan W. Rose and Joseph Hackmey.

E. 7,500-10,000
Future Sale
124°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 124, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, A very attractive 1847 cover to Canada rated 5¢ for distance to border under 300 miles

5¢ Red Brown (1), large margins to full, dark shade, tied by blue grid cancel, matching "Buffalo N.Y. 5 Dec. 6" (1849) 5¢ integral-rate circular datestamp on folded cover to St. Catharines, Canada West, neat "4-1/2" pence due marking, bold "Queenston U.C. Dec. 6, 1849" circular datestamp, faint receiving backstamp, Very Fine and attractive use to Canada, St. Catharines is approximately 40 miles from Buffalo, ex Boker

E. 300-400
Future Sale
Back to Top
125°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 125, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, A beautiful cover from Philadelphia to Toronto, Canada, with 10¢ 1847 for over-300 miles rate

10¢ Black (2), Position 67L, large margins to full, intense shade, tied by two strikes of blue "Philada. Pa. 10cts Apr. 4" (1848) integral-rate circular datestamp, third clear strike on light gray folded cover to an insane asylum in Toronto, Canada, red "Queenston U.C. Apr. 8, 1848" circular datestamp, manuscript "4-1/2" pence due marking just ties stamp at upper right, faint receiving backstamp, Very Fine and attractive use to Canada, ex Boker

E. 750-1,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
126°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 126, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, Superb pair of the 5¢ Orange Brown on a double-rate cover from Cleveland to Canada

5¢ Orange Brown (1b), horizontal pair, radiant color, large and even margins, tied by five strikes of red grid cancel, matching "Cleveland O. Dec. 5" (1850) circular datestamp on light gray folded cover to St. Catharines, Canada West, sender's routing instruction "via Lewiston" at lower left, light strike of "Queenston U.C. Dec. ?, 1850" circular datestamp, manuscript "9" pence due, Extremely Fine, a beautiful cover to Canada with a choice pair of the Orange Brown shade, Cleveland was less than 300 miles from the exchange point so this was charged 10¢ postage for weight and not distance, ex Hart, Dr. Robertson and Hackmey, signed Ashbrook and with his note on back

E. 1,500-2,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
127°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 127, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, A fantastic large-margined 10¢ 1847 on an attractive cover to Canada

10¢ Black (2), large margins all around showing trace of frameline of adjacent stamp at bottom, sharp proof-like impression, tied by red square grid cancel, matching "New-York Dec. 22" (1849) circular datestamp on bluish folded letter to London, Canada, manuscript "9" pence due, "Queenston U.C. Dec. 25, 1849" circular datestamp, red London receiving backstamp (December 27), Extremely Fine Gem stamp and cover, ex Hackmey, with 1999 P.F. certificate

E. 1,000-1,500
Future Sale
Back to Top
128°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 128, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, The only recorded double rate among the four recorded examples of the "TROY & NEW YORK/STEAM BOAT" marking on 1847 Issue covers to Canada

10¢ Black (2), Positions 86/96L, vertical pair, huge margins to just touched at top right of bottom stamp, including wide bottom sheet margin, vertical file fold affects stamps, tied by perfect strike of blue "Troy N.Y. Sep. 2" (1850) circular datestamp on blue folded letter datelined "New York 30 Augt. 1850" to Montreal, Canada, matching clear strike of "TROY & NEW YORK/STEAM BOAT" framed handstamp, manuscript "9" pence due marking

Very Fine despite the file fold through the pair.

This is one of four recorded 1847 Issue covers to Canada with the "TROY & NEW YORK/STEAM BOAT" framed handstamp--adding to its rarity and appeal is the fantastic 10¢ sheet-margin vertical pair used to pay the double over-300 miles rate (the others all bear one 10¢ stamp).

The "Troy & New York Steamboat" marking was used on letters carried by non-contract steamboats on the Hudson River between New York City and Troy. The mail entered the U.S. postal system at the receiving office, and the town datestamp indicates where the letter was received. The Troy receiving datestamp was used to cancel the stamps on three of the four recorded "Troy & New York Steam Boat" covers to Canada, which are all addressed to David Torrance in Montreal. Torrance was a member of a prominent family of importers, shippers and steamboat owners. A fourth cover is addressed to Quebec, and the stamp is tied by the blue grid cancel. The distance from Troy to the border was under 300 miles, and so would have only required a 5¢ stamp. However, this cover originated in New York City and was over the half-ounce limit, so two 10¢ stamps were affixed to pay the over-300 miles double rate.

Ex J. Waldo Sampson, Charles F. Meroni, Fisher E. Simmons, Jr., Dr. Leonard Kapiloff and John R. Boker, Jr.

E. 10,000-15,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
129°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 129, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, Colorful and rare 5¢ 1847 cover to Kingston, Canada, with "3" pence ferriage fee

5¢ Red Brown (1), horizontal pair, three large margins, clear to just in at left, minor wrinkling, brilliant color, tied by red circular grid cancels, matching "New-York Jan. 20" (1850) circular datestamp on blue folded cover to Kingston, Canada West, manuscript "3" pence due for ferriage rate applied in Canada (Cape Vincent, N.Y., to Kingston), red Kingston backstamp (January 23), lightly toned horizontal file fold, few age spots barely affect right stamp, Very Fine, the 3p ferriage rate applied to mail crossing between Cape Vincent and Kingston, which required two ferries and a land crossing--the ferriage rate applied until the new U.S.-Canadian postal treaty took effect on April 6, 1851--very few are known with the 1847 Issue, ex Boker

E. 1,500-2,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
130°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 130, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, Superb 10¢ 1847 on rare 3-pence ferriage rate cover to Kingston, Canada

10¢ Black (2), huge margins including part of adjoining stamp at bottom, detailed impression, tied by red circular grid cancel, matching "New-York Jan. 11" (1850) circular datestamp with day inverted on blue folded cover to Kingston, Canada, manuscript "3" pence due for ferriage rate applied in Canada (Cape Vincent, N.Y., to Kingston), red Kingston circular datestamp on back (January 15), an Extremely Fine Gem stamp and pristine cover, rare use of the 10¢ 1847 on a cover to Canada with the ferriage rate, this rate applied to mail crossing between Cape Vincent and Kingston, which required two ferries and a land crossing--the ferriage rate applied until the new U.S.-Canadian postal treaty took effect on April 6, 1851--pencil note on back by William O. Bilden, ex Boker

E. 2,000-3,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
131°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 131, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, A superb and rare vertical strip of three of the 5¢ 1847 Issue used from Montreal, Canada, to the United States, paying the triple 5¢ under-300 miles rate from the border

5¢ Red Brown (1), vertical strip of three, large to huge margins all around with part of adjoining stamp at upper right, brilliant color and sharp First Printing impression, top pair uncancelled, tied by red "Montreal, Canada Paid AU 7, 1848" tombstone-style datestamp with matching "PAID" handstamp on blue folded letter to Burlington, Vermont, sender's endorsement "Money" with contents datelined at Montreal the same day and reading in part "I enclose $500 in your own money with the exception of $1.00. I should have waited and sent it by Express but thought that in all probability you might want to use it immediately, & the express does not go till Friday", manuscript "1/6" just below stamps and larger red manuscript "1/6" rate at right

Extremely Fine strip and a beautiful cover--a remarkable use of the 1847 Issue from Canada, with a rare vertical strip of three paying the triple 5¢ rate for distances under 300 miles and weight between 1 and 1.5 ounces. This famous cover is one of the most spectacular examples of the 1847 Issue used from Canada.

The distance from the border exchange office to Burlington was under 300 miles, so this was charged three times the normal rate due to weight. The Canadian postage was 1 shilling 6 pence, or 18 pence, which is four times the 4-1/2 pence rate for distances under 60 miles. Prior to March 15, 1849, United States rates progressed in half-ounce increments, while Canada's rates, following the British system, increased in full one-ounce increments after the first ounce.

Ex Frank R. Sweet (exhibited at The Collectors Club of New York 1940 Centenary exhibition), Philip G. Rust, Dr. Leonard Kapiloff, Guido Craveri, Dr. John L. Robertson and Joseph Hackmey. Signed by Stanley B. Ashbrook. With 1992 P.F. certificate.

E. 30,000-40,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
132°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 132, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, The only recorded 1847 cover from Bytown, Canada, which changed its name to Ottawa in 1855

5¢ Red Brown (1), two singles originally forming a horizontal pair, large even margins, left stamp light creases, tied by red "10" in circle handstamps, third strike at right on small folded letter from Bytown, Canada, to New York City, well-struck "Bytown U.C. Mar. 2, 1849" circular datestamp, manuscript "9" pence and red "PAID" handstamp indicates Canadian postage was paid in cash, red "Montreal L.C. MR 4, 1849" backstamp, Very Fine, a very unusual use from Canada to the United States, Bytown is between 100-200 miles from the border, so 9 pence was charged for the Canadian portion of the postage, ex Rust and Boker, illustrated in Boggs, The Postage Stamps and Postal History of Canada (p. 71)

E. 2,000-3,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
133°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 133, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, Choice four-margin 10¢ 1847 stamp used on cover from Canada to New York City

10¢ Black (2), large margins to full, detailed impression, tied by pen strokes on blue folded letter from St. Catharines, Canada, to New York City, from the Kennedy correspondence, reddish brown "St. Catherines U.C. Dec. 7, 1849" circular datestamp with matching "PAID" handstamp, latter deleted in pen, red manuscript "4-1/2" pence due marking also ties stamp, sender also added a "paid 40" charge box number in corner, Queenston backstamp (December 8), file folds not affecting stamp or markings, Very Fine, a rare and desirable use of the 1847 Issue from Canada, ex Rust and Stollnitz

E. 2,000-3,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
134°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 134, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, 10¢ 1847 cover from Canada to United States with 3-pence Canadian ferriage rate paid in cash

10¢ Black (2), three large margins, clear to just touched at bottom, plate scratches in right margin, tied by manuscript on folded letter from Kingston, Canada, to New York City, red "Kingston U.C. JA 23, 1850" circular datestamp, red "Cape Vincent N.Y. Jan. 30" circular datestamp, interesting contents asks for information on transportation to California, Very Fine and extremely rare use, the 3p ferriage rate applied to mail crossing between Cape Vincent and Kingston, which required two ferries and a land crossing--the ferriage rate applied until the new U.S.-Canadian postal treaty took effect on April 6, 1851--lots 129 and 130 in this sale show examples of the rate from the U.S. to Canada, this example from Canada is extremely rare, one 5¢ cover and two 10¢ covers are verified examples of this rate in USPCS census, ex Makepeace, Hart and Hackmey

E. 2,000-3,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
135°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 135, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, The only 10¢ 1847 cover from Canada with Whitehall, New York, "STEAM•BOAT" straightline

10¢ Black (2), large margins all around, tiny negligible tear at bottom left, used on folded letter from Montreal, Canada, to New York City, letter datelined "Montreal 5th July 1848," carried by Lake Champlain Transportation Co. steamboat to post office at Whitehall, New York, where stamp was cancelled by bold "5" rate handstamp and tied by two strikes of "STEAM•BOAT" straightline handstamp, third full strike at left, letter concerns shipping salt from Turks Island and loading vessels with lumber for return, Very Fine, a remarkable cover carried by steamboat from Montreal to Whitehall on Lake Champlain--covers to Canada with "Steamboat" markings are very rare, but this is the only recorded cover from Canada, the Whitehall "STEAM• BOAT" used with the "5" rate handstamp is recorded on two other intra-U.S. 1848 stampless covers (PhilaMercury nos. 1584 and 27044), ex Wolcott, Sweet, Haas and Boker

E. 3,000-4,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
136°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 136, 1847 Issue to and from British North AmericaU.S, U.SU.S. Express Mail route agent's datestamp on 5¢ 1847 cover to New Brunswick

5¢ Red Brown (1), horizontal pair, large margins to barely in at right, tied by red grid cancels, matching "U.S. Express Mail N. York N.Y. May 11" (1850) circular datestamp on blue folded letter to St. John, New Brunswick, sender's route directive "pr Favors Express" crossed out and "pr Mail" and "paid" written at top left, manuscript "7" pence due marking, blue St. Andrews (May 16) and black St. John (May 17) backstamps, Very Fine, a rare use to New Brunswick, the USPCS census lists only five confirmed covers to New Brunswick with two 5¢ 1847 Issue stamps, and only 15 covers total (though two may not exist, which would lower the count to 13, and several are fronts only), ex Krug and Boker

E. 1,000-1,500
Future Sale
Back to Top
137°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 137, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, A beautiful and very rare cover to New Brunswick with the 10¢ 1847 Issue

10¢ Black (2), Position 14R, large even margins, tied by red grid cancel, matching light strike of "New-York Jan. 31" (1850) circular datestamp on blue folded letter to Sackville, New Brunswick, sender's notation "paid to the lines", neat manuscript "9" pence due marking, St. John (February 5) and Sackville (February 7) backstamps, lightly cleaned, Extremely Fine, a gorgeous 10¢ 1847 on a cover to New Brunswick, the USPCS census records only 15 covers to New Brunswick (two may not exist, which would lower the count to 13), only five have the 10¢ stamp, ex Grunin, Garrett and Boker, Ward backstamp

E. 1,500-2,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
138°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 138, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, One of two recorded (and verified) covers with the 1847 Issue used from any of the British Maritime Provinces--an outstanding postal history artifact

10¢ Black (2), large margins all around, tied by red "Robbinston Me. Apr. 10" (1851) circular datestamp on folded letter from St. John, New Brunswick, to New York City, letter from Wiggins & Son to D. S. Kennedy datelined "St. John NB 8 Apl 1851", red "St. John N.B. Paid AP 8, 1851" origination datestamp, second clearer strike of Robbinston circular datestamp at left, manuscript "7" pence marking for Canadian postage was paid in cash as confirmed by manuscript "Pd SW&Son" notation next to the marking, blue St. Andrews circular datestamp on back (April 9), crossed border by land route between St. Andrews and Robbinston

Very Fine cover; stamp has vertical crease and small tear caused by file fold, but this is immaterial considering the great rarity of this cover--this is one of two verifiable 1847 covers originating in New Brunswick (or any of the Maritime Provinces), and only this cover has New Brunswick postmarks.

In an article by David D'Alessandris ("1847 Covers to the Maritime Provinces: An Update," Chronicle 238), this cover is pictured and described, with the following comment: "Notably, this cover was mailed just after the effective date for the U.S. postal treaty with Canada [April 6, 1851]. Had the cover originated in Canada, rather than New Brunswick, the 10¢ stamp would have paid the cover to destination, rather than only paying the United States portion of the postage."

An appendix to the D'Alessandris article lists four 1847 covers originating in the Maritime Provinces, but only two can be verified with photographs, both originating from New Brunswick: the cover offered here (USPCS census nos. 36) and a cover with Eastport, Maine, "SHIP" and "2" handstamps, but no New Brunswick markings (census no. 1956, ex Mirsky, Sale 1023, lot 2478).

The other two covers listed by D'Alessandris are USPCS census nos. 305, dated 8/17/1847, with a 10¢ from St. John N.B., Kennedy correspondence; and no. 230, dated 6/28/1851, with a 10¢ bisect from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Kennedy correspondence. Neither of these two has been photographed or verified with corroborating records, and we believe they have either been discredited as fakes or misentered in the census data. The bisect cover might be one certified as a fake (P.F. nos. 197546/272314), which has a Hartford June 28 datestamp and is addressed to D. S. Kennedy (this date and addressee match USPCS census no. 230).

Ex Dr. John L. Robertson and Joseph Hackmey.

E. 7,500-10,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
139°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 139, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, A spectacular 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 combination cover to Nova Scotia by Cunard packet

5¢ Brown, 10¢ Black (1, 2), 5¢ large margins to clear, two 10¢ (Positions 53R and 52R) with large margins to just in, slightly overlapping, manuscript m-shaped cancels, blue "Baltimore Md. May 28" (1849) circular datestamp on blue folded cover from Thomas R. Matthews to Robert Noble in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 5¢ tied by scarce "s/d 1/ 1-1/2 Cy" in circle due handstamp (1sh sterling=1sh1-1/2d currency), sender's directive "pr. Steamer Canada via N. York", "UD. STATES/HALIFAX/JU 2 1849" Halifax receiving backstamp

Very Fine; slight toning along vertical file fold away from stamps. This is a rare and spectacular combination 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 Issue franking, used on a cover to Nova Scotia and intended (in error) to pay the 24¢ treaty rate applicable to letters carried from the United States to Great Britain via Halifax, Nova Scotia. To correct the USPCS 1847 census, there are only two covers with 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 combinations addressed to Robert Noble. The listing for a third cover with a 5/24/1849 date (no. 2787) is unverified and probably duplicates the entry for this cover (no. 2788).

The Noble 1847 combination covers, mailed after the Retaliatory Rate period, reflect confusion over how the new 24¢ U.S.-British treaty rate was to be applied to letters to the Maritime Provinces. This situation is explained by David D'Alessandris ("1847 Covers to the Maritime Provinces: An Update," Chronicle 238):

In January 1848, the Cunard Line began operating a second transatlantic route between Liverpool and New York. Like the Liverpool to Boston route, the Liverpool to New York steamers stopped en route in both directions in Halifax. However, by September 1850, Cunard stopped calling at Halifax on the Liverpool to New York route, probably to increase the speed of the crossing to better compete with United States steamship lines.

As noted earlier, the Cunard Line rates to Halifax were not widely known, were not listed in the United States Mail and Post Office Assistant until 1863, and were not listed in the Postal Laws and Regulations until the 1866 edition. Moreover, the Cunard packet rates to Halifax, after the implementation of the U.S.-U.K. postal treaty, were illogical. Letters destined for the same Cunard steamer paid different postage based upon the destination. A letter to England could be paid 24¢ to destination, but a letter to be carried on the same Cunard steamer to Halifax, in a British Province, could only be paid to the port. Moreover, letters carried pursuant to the British open mail provisions of the United Kingdom treaty were charged a uniform 5¢ inland postage regardless of the distance to the port of debarkation, while letters to Halifax, not covered by the British open mail provisions, were still liable to charges of 5¢ or 10¢ depending upon the distance to the port. Letters from Halifax were also subject to confusion. At the start of the treaty period, letters arriving at Boston or New York from the United Kingdom were rated 1 shilling (24¢) to destination. However, letters arriving from Halifax, which were carried on the same ship (but a much shorter distance) were prepaid the same 1 shilling packet postage, but were charged ordinary inland postage of 5¢ or 10¢ to destination. Given these illogical rates, it is no surprise that there was confusion.

Ex Rep. Ernest R. Ackerman, Henry C. Gibson, Sr., Capt. Edward R. Wood, Jr., Philip H. Ward, Jr., John D. Pope III and Henry Stollnitz. Illustrated in Brookman, The 19th Century Postage Stamps of the United States (Vol. 1, p. 33). With 1985 P.F. certificate.

E. 15,000-20,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
140°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 140, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, One of ten recorded 1847 Issue Retaliatory Rate uses--only three have the 5¢ and 10¢ stamps combined, and only two are addressed to the Maritime Provinces

DESCRIPTION

5¢ Red Brown (1), horizontal strip of three, and two 10¢ Black (2) singles arranged as a pair, 5¢ strip has full margins to clear on three sides, full to just in at right, left 10¢ has large margins to clear, right 10¢ large margins to just in at bottom, latter shows slip of the engraver's tool in frameline at lower left, one 5¢ and both 10¢ have pinpoints in neat rows from the use of affixing wafers, tied by red square grid cancels, matching "New-York Aug. 22" (1848) circular datestamp, red "BALTIMORE R.R." straightline handstamp clearly struck on blue part-printed notice (a front panel with one original flap) to Halifax, Nova Scotia, addressed to John Esson & Co., sender's directive "pr Cunard steamer from Boston of 23 August" at lower left, as well as "paid by stamps" which is mostly covered by the 5¢ strip--carried on the Cunarder Acadia, departing Boston on August 23, 1848, and arriving at Halifax August 25 before continuing its transatlantic voyage to Liverpool, where it arrived September 4--the Halifax office first backstamped the cover with "SHIP-LETTER/HALIFAX N.S./25AU1848" framed datestamp, but this was crossed out in manuscript and the same clerk rated the cover "1/-" one-shilling due for British packet postage, disregarding the prepayment, backstamped with the appropriate packet receiving datestamp "UD. STATES/HALIFAX/AU 25 1848"

PROVENANCE

John F. Seybold, J. C. Morgenthau, Sale 29, 3/15-16/1910, lot 37

Creighton C. Hart, Robert G. Kaufmann sale, 4/30/1990, lot 248

John R. Boker, Jr. (collection sold privately to William H. Gross, 1994)

CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES

USPCS census no. 8887 https://www.uspcs.org/resource-center/censuses/1847-cover-census/

Creighton C. Hart, "1847 Covers to the Maritime Provinces," Chronicle 78, p. 80

David D'Alessandris, "1847 Covers to the Maritime Provinces: An Update," Chronicle 238, fig. 11

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine appearance; a front with one original flap (with backstamps) and other flaps added, silked inside, one 5¢ creased from file fold

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

The British and American Postal War

The so-called Retaliatory Period resulted from Great Britain's effort to maintain its monopoly on transatlantic mail carriage through the subsidized Cunard steamship line, which operated without competition from 1840 through 1846. In response to the emergence of subsidized American packets in 1847 (the Ocean Line), the British issued an order (effective June 9, 1847) authorizing its receiving offices to collect the usual British packet postage on letters carried to England by American subsidized steamers. This effectively allowed England to collect 24¢ packet charges for every inbound letter, whether or not any service had been performed.

The United States vehemently protested the British order through diplomatic channels, but efforts to persuade the government to rescind the anti-American postal tariff were unsuccessful. In December 1847, U.S. Postmaster General Cave Johnson petitioned Congress for power to levy like charges on mail carried by British steamers to or from the U.S., but he was not authorized to do so until June 1848. On all inbound and outbound Cunard sailings from June 24, 1848, through December 31, 1848, American packet postage was required, whether or not an American vessel was used, creating the so-called Retaliatory Rate. Beginning with the departure of the Europa on January 10, 1849, earlier rates were restored.

The first mail affected by the U.S. Retaliatory Rate was outbound mail carried on the Cunard Line's Britannia, which left New York on July 5, 1848, and arrived in Liverpool on July 19. Days later, on July 8, the Cunarder Caledonia arrived in New York with its mail. Every letter on these ships and all subsequent packets during the Retaliatory Period were charged both British and U.S. packet postage, including packet letters to Nova Scotia.

On December 15, 1848, a postal treaty between the two nations was signed. It was ratified in January and the treaty terms commenced on February 15, 1849.

This cover to Nova Scotia reflects the dispute between the U.S. and Great Britain. The sender paid 10¢ for U.S. postage from Baltimore to Boston and the 24¢ sea postage (1¢ overpayment). The letter was carried on the Cunarder Acadia from Boston, which stopped at Halifax on August 25, 1848. At the Halifax office, the 24¢ prepayment was ignored and the "1/-" shilling due marking indicated the amount owed for sea postage.

Only ten 1847 Issue uses are known with Retaliatory Rate charges. Of the ten, only two are addressed to the Maritime Provinces (both to Nova Scotia) and three have a combination of the two 1847 denominations.

E. 20,000-30,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
141°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 141, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, 1847 cover from Brazil to Nova Scotia via New York City, where it entered the mail as a ship letter

10¢ Black (2), two singles, Positions 97R and 100R, left stamp ample margins to just in at right, right stamp large margins except tiny v-shaped nick at top, tied by red square grid cancels, matching "New-York Feb. 29" (1848) leap year datestamp on folded cover from Pernambuco, Brazil, to New York City, where received as a ship letter and forwarded to Halifax, Nova Scotia, stamps affixed over manuscript ship-name directive "Pr Sooloo" which sailed from Pernambuco on January 22, 1848, and arrived at New York on February 28, blue manuscript "6" ship-letter rate, red wax seal "McE Co., Pernambuco" (McEvers & Co.), addressed to J. & M. Tobin in Halifax, care of Bache McEvers in New York, after this arrived in New York the "care of" portion of address and ship directive were crossed out and the two stamps were affixed before remailing (double rate to Nova Scotia), clear "FORWARDED BY/BACHE McEVERS/NEW-YORK" backstamp, blue St. Andrew (March 4), St. John (March 6) and oval Halifax (March 11) backstamps, manuscript "2/3" rate for 2 shillings 3 pence due, receipt docketing "Capt. R. Thomas, January 22, 1848", slight wear along file fold, cover stains and mended tears, otherwise Fine, a very unusual and probably unique ship letter from Brazil to New York and on to Nova Scotia, ex Hart and Boker

E. 2,000-3,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
142°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 142, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, Cover originating in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and sent to Canada through the United States

5¢ Red Brown (1), two singles, bright color, large margins to barely in on one, slightly overlapping, tied by black grid cancels, and red "Boston 10cts 5 Oct." (1850) integral-rate circular datestamp on gray folded cover originating in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and sent to St. Catharines, Canada West, origin confirmed by clear "Wm Pryor & Sons, Halifax, Octr. 2, 1850, state of market" docketing on top flap and sender's routing instructions "via Boston" at lower left, "Queenston U.C. Oct. 9, 1850" circular datestamp, manuscript "4-1/2" pence due marking also ties one stamp, Very Fine and unusual use, carried by a passenger on the Cunarder Cambria from Halifax to Boston (departing October 3, arriving October 5), where the two 5¢ stamps were applied, then put into the mails--the overland rate entirely within Canada and provinces would have been 2 shilling 7-1/2 pence (more than U.S. 50¢), so a significant savings in both time and money was gained by sending this to Boston and using the U.S. mail to Canada, ex Hart and Boker, illustrated in an article by Susan M. McDonald titled "Remember that Time is Money: Two Unusual Covers with U.S. 1847 Stamps" (1973 Congress Book)

E. 2,000-3,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
143°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 143, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, The earliest of the three recorded 1847 Issue covers to Prince Edward Island and the only cover to that destination sent by steamer

10¢ Black (2), large margins to clear, tied by two or three strikes of red grid cancel, matching "STEAM•BOAT" straightline and "X" Roman numeral 10¢ rate handstamp (rate crossed out) applied at Eastport, Maine, where it entered the post office, on grayish blue folded letter datelined "Boston, U. States, Thursday, 10th May, 1849" to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, sender's routing instructions "Via New Brunswick" at lower left, clear strike of "ST. JOHN•N•B/SHIP LETTER" two-line handstamp, backstamped St. John (May 12), Pictou (May 14) and Prince Edward Island (May 17), manuscript "1/4" 1sh4p (currency) ship-letter rate due marking applied at St. John, New Brunswick

Very Fine; stamp slightly toned, a few bleached spots in cover--inconsequential flaws, considering this is one of only three 1847 covers to Prince Edward Island, the earliest of the three, and the only one that was carried by steamer route rather than by land. Only one other 1847 cover has this combination of markings (it is addressed to Pictou, Nova Scotia).

The letter writer describes his journey, noting that he arrived in Portland by steamer the day before and then traveled by railroad to Boston. He anticipates going to New York City--"I have some idea if I can get ready in time to go to New York & there take the steamer for Halifax."--which explains the presence of the U.S. "STEAM•BOAT" handstamp. Rather than put the letter into the Boston post office, the writer entrusted it to the captain of a steam vessel--probably Hiram Favor, captain of the Admiral--who carried it to Eastport, Maine. The 10¢ rate handstamp was crossed out and the 10¢ stamp was cancelled. It left Eastport, Maine, on the steamer Maid of Erin on its regularly scheduled trip to St. John, New Brunswick, arriving on Saturday, May 12. At St. John the cover entered the British mail system as a ship letter, receiving the "ST. JOHN•N•B/SHIP LETTER" handstamp. From St. John it was conveyed to Pictou, Nova Scotia, and on to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

Other than the destination, this cover is very similar to the 5¢ 1847 cover to Pictou, Nova Scotia, with the same "STEAM•BOAT" and "ST. JOHN•N•B/SHIP LETTER" handstamps, illustrated in an article by David D'Alessandris ("1847 Covers to the Maritime Provinces: An Update," Chronicle 238, fig. 2, USPCS census no. 4404). Both covers were received at Eastport as steamboat letters and at St. John as ship letters.

Ex Dale-Lichtenstein and John R. Boker, Jr.

E. 10,000-15,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
144°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 144, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, Bottom sheet-margin 10¢ 1847 Issue on cover to Canada, postmarked on the first day of the treaty that allowed letters to be fully prepaid--the only recorded April 6, 1851, cover

10¢ Black (2), Position 99R, three large margins including wide bottom sheet margin, clear to in at left, tied by red square grid cancel, matching "New-York Apl. 6" (1851) circular datestamp on blue folded letter to Hamilton, Canada West, manuscript "U.S." in magenta exchange marking also ties stamp, neat "Queenston U.C. Apr. 8, 1851" transit datestamp, red Hamilton receiving backstamp (April 9)

Very Fine--this is the only recorded 1847 Issue cover to Canada postmarked on April 6, 1851, the first day that the U.S.-Canada treaty rate took effect, which allowed for full prepayment of mail between the two countries. It is especially desirable with a manuscript exchange office marking, which is unique, and the clearly struck datestamps.

Prior to April 6, 1851, letters sent to Canada could only be prepaid to the border. Canadian postage, based on weight and distance, was charged to the recipient. Effective April 6, 1851, the postal agreement established a rate of 10¢ per half ounce (6 pence reciprocal rate in Canada), with the exception of some West Coast destinations to which a 15¢ rate applied. Short paid mail would be treated as completely unpaid. Each country retained all postage fees collected.

The agreement required a "U. States" marking to be applied, along with a notation of "Paid" in red ink if prepaid or in black if treated as unpaid. The cover offered here, postmarked on the first day of the new rates, does not bear either of those markings, except for the improvised "U.S." manuscript marking.

The 1847 Issue was demonetized on July 1, 1851, so there was only a brief period (April-June 1851) when covers could be prepaid with the new rate using 1847 stamps. Mail to and from the Maritime Provinces was not subject to a similar agreement until July 6, 1851, after the 1847 Issue was demonetized.

Ex John D. Pope III, Dr. John L. Robertson and Joseph Hackmey. Described in Stanley B. Ashbrook, Special Service, #80, p. 649, photo 318.

E. 15,000-20,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
145°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 145, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, The earliest post-demonetization use of the 1847 Issue from Canada

10¢ Black (2), three large margins, ample to just in at upper right, crisp impression, small scuff at top left, tied by red "Montreal L.C. JY 28, 1851" circular datestamp on blue folded cover from Montreal, Canada to New York City, from the D. S. Kennedy correspondence, demonetized use accepted as fully paid in Canada and New York, originally treated as unpaid with "6d" in circle handstamp applied in Montreal, this was struck out by a Canadian 7-ring target cancel, red "CANADA" in arc handstamp applied as required by postal agreement, red "PAID" arc handstamp applied in New York indicates this was considered fully prepaid

Very Fine cover; one vertical file fold passes through 10¢ stamp, but is not disfiguring. An extremely rare demonetized use of the 1847 Issue on a cover to New York City, originating in Montreal, Canada, on July 28, 1851. Only six or seven demonetized covers with the 1847 Issue are known from Canada, and of these only four are from Montreal. The USPCS census no. 282 is a cover dated 7/29/1851, but without a photo or corroboration it seems very likely the entry is based on this cover, listed as no. 281.

The 1847 Issue was demonetized on July 1, 1851. Supplies of the 1847 Issue sent to Canada could be redeemed through September 30, 1851; however, not all stamps were redeemed, and some were used after demonetization. Although no longer valid on mail posted within the United States, the stamps on mail from Canada to the U.S. were accepted--the latest use is on April 6, 1853. According to Creighton C. Hart, the demonetization order was "not binding on residents of Canada," which appears to be empirically true (Chronicle 80, where this cover is photographed). The addressee, D. S. Kennedy, was the Canadian government's fiscal agent in the United States, another reason to accept the stamp, even though it would have deprived Canada of revenue since the payment in U.S. stamps meant the U.S. kept all postage.

Ex John D. Pope III, Dr. John L. Robertson and Joseph Hackmey. Described in Stanley B. Ashbrook, Special Service, #68, p. 551, photo 272. Illustrated in Bakers' U.S. Classics (p. 181).

E. 7,500-10,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
146°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 146, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, The famous Canada and United States First Issues mixed-franking cover with a 1851 3p "Beaver" and single 5¢ 1847 Issue, both cancelled in Montreal, Canada-- one of the most desirable covers in all of classic worldwide philately

DESCRIPTION

5¢ Red Brown (1), three ample margins, clear to just slightly in at left, late impression, used with Canada, 1851, 3p Red on Laid (1), large even margins, bright color, both stamps tied by bold strikes of Canadian 7-ring target cancel, red "Montreal L.C. JU 8, 1851" circular datestamp, red "CANADA" in framed arc cross-border handstamp on blue folded letter from Montreal, Canada, to New York City, from the D. S. Kennedy correspondence, datelined "Montreal, June 7th 1851", sender's notation "p. paid" at top right, red "PAID" arc handstamp applied in New York ties both stamps and confirms that the 5¢ stamp affixed in Canada was accepted as full prepayment

PROVENANCE

Alfred F. Lichtenstein and Louise Boyd Dale, H. R. Harmer, Sale 10, 12/7-8/1970, lot 16, to Hillmer

Duane Hillmer (sold privately to Grunin)

Louis Grunin (sold privately to Garrett)

Duane B. Garrett (collection sold privately to Dr. Kapiloff)

Dr. Leonard Kapiloff, Siegel Auction Galleries, 6/9/1992, Sale 743, lot 121, to Craveri

Guido Craveri, Bennett sale, 3/23/2002, lot 47

Acquired by William H. Gross in a private transaction

CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES

USPCS census no. 261 https://www.uspcs.org/resource-center/censuses/1847-cover-census/

Winthrop S. Boggs, The Postage Stamps and Postal History of Canada, p. 79, fig. 36

Creighton C. Hart, "1847 Cross-Border Covers," Chronicle 98, p. 96, fig. 3

INTERPHIL 1976 (Hillmer)

Special Exhibition of Greatest Covers from the Collections of Alfred F. Lichtenstein and Louise Boyd Dale, published by The Philatelic Foundation, 1995

CERTIFICATION

The Philatelic Foundation (1992)

CONDITION NOTES

Extremely Fine; faint vertical file fold affects 3p stamp

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

One Beaver, One Benjamin--Both Cancelled in Canada

The events that created the Beaver cover start on April 6, 1851, when a new postal treaty between Canada and the United States went into effect. For decades there had been no easy way to pay postage on letters between the two adjoining North American nations. Postage on each side was calculated based on distance to the border, and letters would be delivered marked postage due for the receiving country's share. The 1851 postal treaty created a reciprocal postage rate--6 pence in Canada and 10 cents in the U.S.--without any need for cumbersome postage collection. The new agreement went into effect on April 6, 1851.

On April 23, 1851, Canada's first issue of postage stamps became available. The 3-pence stamp was an orange-red, rectangular design depicting a semi-aquatic rodent, whose lustrous fur, when removed and turned into hats, had made it a vital part of Canada's economic history and a symbol of the British North American colony--the beaver. The Beaver stamp paid the 3p domestic rate in Canada.

At the same time in the United States, Congress had established lower postage rates and authorized new stamps to pay them, set for release on July 1, 1851. On that day the old 1847 Issue would no longer be valid for postage, and a three-month redemption period would commence. For years before, the 1847 stamps had been supplied to Canadian post offices and used there to prepay the U.S. postage on letters addressed to the states. After the 1851 U.S.-Canada postal treaty took effect, Canadian postmasters accepted the U.S. stamps in payment of the Canada 6-pence rate (roughly equivalent to 10¢ U.S.), even after the 1847s were demonetized in the their own country of origin.

The time between the release date of Canada's first issue and the last day the 1847 Issue was valid for postage in the U.S. is 69 days. During this brief period, the first issues of both countries, printed by the same firm--Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson--could be used on the same letter, but only under very unusual circumstances, which technically skirted the rules of the new treaty, but were nonetheless practiced and accepted by post offices on both sides.

This cover with a single Canada 3p Beaver and 5¢ 1847 was highlighted in Sale 10 of the Dale-Lichtenstein collection (H. R. Harmer, 12/7-8/1970) and realized $9,000, the second highest price of the auction, exceeded only by the mint corner pair of the Canada 1851 12p Black. It became part of the Duane Hillmer collection of Canada and then passed to Louis Grunin when the Hillmer collection was sold privately. Grunin's 1847s were acquired by Duane Garrett, and then the entire Garrett collection was bought by Dr. Leonard Kapiloff. At the Kapiloff sale in 1992, Guido Craveri bought the Beaver cover, and it was later sold to Mr. Gross.

E. 300,000-400,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
147°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 147, 1847 Issue to and from British North America, One of the three recorded Canada and United States First Issues mixed-franking covers--this is the only cover sent from the United States to Canada

DESCRIPTION

5¢ Red Brown (1), large margins to clear, bright shade, used with Canada, 1851, 3p Red on Laid (1), large margins to just clear where bottom right corner clipped, used on folded letter from the United States to Canada, datelined "Scottsville May 3 1851" and addressed to Thomas R. Merritt at St. Catharines, red grid cancel struck twice--one tying 5¢ and other cancelling 3p at origin--matching red "Rochester N.Y. May 4" (1851) circular datestamp, red "U. STATES" in arc handstamp (Type A-2, probably applied at Lewiston, New York), black "Queenston U.C. May 6, 1851" circular datestamp also ties 5¢ stamp, no due markings which indicates the 3p Beaver stamp was accepted at the U.S. origin and Canadian receiving post offices, receipt docketing "Scofield & Co., May 3d 1851"

PROVENANCE

Hermann Wollenberger (given to grandson, Robert Friend), Ashbrook index card files

J. M. Bartels "Rarity" sale, 4/27/1940, lot 7

Barrett G. Hindes, H. R. Harmer sale, 1/23/1968, lot 22

Dr. John L. Robertson, Bennett sale, 9/23/2004, lot 138, to Hackmey

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

CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES

USPCS census no. 9024 https://www.uspcs.org/resource-center/censuses/1847-cover-census/

Winthrop S. Boggs, The Postage Stamps and Postal History of Canada, p. 77, fig. 34

Lester G. Brookman, United States Postage Stamps of the 19th Century, Vol. I, p. 24, fig. 21

Ed Richardson, "Philatelic Byways Thru 19th Century B.N.A. Victorian Canada," The Stamp Specialist, 1944 Maroon Book, p. 78

CERTIFICATION

The Philatelic Foundation (1959 and 2004)

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine; 3p light soiling and small crease, cover with faint waterstains (the latter not noted on certificate)

Signed by Stanley B. Ashbrook with note "after a very careful examination it is my opinion that this rare cover is absolutely genuine" (September 15, 1944)

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

The Unique Beaver Cover to Canada

As explained in the History and Commentary section of the previous lot description, the 1851 postal treaty created a reciprocal postage rate--6 pence in Canada and 10 cents in the U.S.--without any need for cumbersome postage collection. The new agreement went into effect on April 6, 1851. On April 23, 1851, Canada's first issue of postage stamps became available. The 3-pence stamp was an orange-red, rectangular design depicting a beaver--it is familiarly known to stamp collectors as the Beaver.

The time between the release date of Canada's first issue and the last day the 1847 Issue was valid for postage in the U.S. is 69 days. During this brief period, the first issues of both countries, printed by the same firm--Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson--could be used on the same letter, but only under very unusual circumstances, which technically skirted the rules of the new treaty, but were nonetheless practiced and accepted by post offices on both sides.

Three covers and two pieces are recorded with mixed frankings of Canada 3p Beaver and 1847 Issue stamps (all 5¢). Two of the covers and both pieces originated in Canada. The Beaver and single 5¢ cover is addressed to New York City (offered in lot 146), and both stamps were cancelled in Canada. The other cover from Canada is addressed to England and has a strip of 5¢ stamps, which was not cancelled until the cover reached New York City. The cover offered here was mailed in the opposite direction, from Scottsville, New York, to Canada. Scottsville is located near Rochester, where it was postmarked. It traveled about 90 miles west to Lewiston, New York, an exchange office for cross-border mail, and was carried another 10 miles to St. Catharines, Canada.

Stanley B. Ashbrook made note of this cover after it first appeared in one of the J. M. Bartels "Rarity" sales, held on April 27, 1940. Ashbrook's index card notes state that the original owner was Hermann Wollenberger, a Chicago resident, who informed Ashbrook on December 12, 1942, that he had given the cover to his grandson, Robert Friend. The cover later appeared in the 1968 Barrett G. Hindes sale held by H. R. Harmer. It may have been acquired in that sale by Dr. John L. Robertson. When the Robertson collection was sold by Bennett in 2004, it was bought by Joseph Hackmey. The entire Hackmey collection was acquired by William H. Gross in 2010. With the acquisition of the Hackmey collection, Mr. Gross became the first collector to own all three 1847/Beaver mixed-franking covers.

E. 75,000-100,000
Future Sale
Back to Top
Copyright 2019. All rights reserved by Siegel Auction Galleries Inc. Information and images may be used with credit to Siegel Auction Galleries or siegelauctions.com subject to guidelines and restrictions.
Website Terms of Use and Privacy Policy