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

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

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Category — 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
43°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 43, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings, 5¢ 1847 tied by a clear strike of the Burlington, Vermont, integral-rate datestamp--perfection

5¢ Red Brown (1), large margins to full, tied by perfect strike of red "Burlington Vt. 5 18 Dec." integral-rate circular datestamp on blue folded letter to Staatsburg, New York, letter flaps have been well sealed so year is undetermined, Extremely Fine, a choice stamp on an immaculate cover with a perfect cancel, from our 1972 Rarities of the World sale, ex Dr. LeBow and Hackmey, with 1981 P.F. certificate

E. 1,000-1,500
Future Sale
44°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 44, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings, 5¢ 1847 on wonderfully choice Chicago "Red" cover with a distinguished provenance

5¢ Red Brown (1), large margins all around, tied by neat red grid cancel with matching bold "Chicago Ill. 20 Sep." (1850) circular datestamp with serifed capital letters on folded cover to Oregon, Illinois, docketing on back confirms year, Extremely Fine Gem stamp with a bright red cancel on a fresh cover, wonderful quality, ex Emerson, Newbury, Grunin, Wunderlich, Garrett and Boker, illustrated in Bakers' U.S. Classics (p. 159)

E. 1,000-1,500
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45°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 45, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings, One of three recorded 5¢ 1847 Wheeling, Virginia, precancel covers

5¢ Red Brown (1), beautiful rich First Printing shade and impression, huge margins to clear at left and slightly in at top, red 7-bar grid precancel at upper left corner, tied by blue grid cancel, matching "Wheeling Va. Feb. 1"(1848) circular datestamp on folded cover to Huntington & Brooks, Cincinnati, Ohio

Very Fine; part of one back panel missing, splits along folds and slightly toned.

USPCS census no. 14210 (date shown as 2/8/1848).

Ex Rep. Ernest R. Ackerman (sold privately through Perry); Wharton Sinkler, Eugene Klein sale, 3/8/1940, lot 47; and John R. Boker, Jr. (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross, 1994).

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

The Wheeling Red Grid Precancellation

The post office in Wheeling, Virginia (later West Virginia), received its first supply of 1847 stamps on August 8, 1847--1,200 5¢ and 400 10¢--and soon after applied a red 7-bar grid to the center of blocks of four before or at the time the stamps were sold. We do not know if the red grids were struck on all 25 blocks in a pane of 100 stamps, or if they were applied to smaller units, but all of the known examples have the red grid in one corner of the stamp (see image at left).

Since most of the recorded examples with the red grid are additionally cancelled, some experts have been reluctant to define them as precancellations, which are usually not cancelled again. However, one of the recorded 5¢ covers has a precancelled stamp without any other cancel (number 1 below), and a piece with a 5¢ has the stamp tied by the Wheeling November 6 (1847) circular datestamp, without any other cancel (Siegel Sale 203, lot 123). Whether the grid was applied as a control mark, as some have suggested, or for reasons that qualify it as a precancel, is a technical point for specialists to debate. Everyone agrees that the Wheeling grid is unique in the manner in which it was applied to the 1847 Issue.

There are seven recorded covers with the Wheeling grid precancel, including three 5¢ and four 10¢ covers. They are listed at bottom (bold entries are offered in this sale):

The USPCS census no. 14211 is a duplicate of number 3 on the above list with an incorrect date of 2/27/1848.

Numbers 4 and 7, the 10¢ covers to Hallowell, were found together and first appeared at auction in Franklin Stamp Co. Sale 34, 6/25/1920, as lots 14 and 15.

The 10¢ cover to Owen & Hurlbut offered here was part of a correspondence discovered in the 1930s and reported to have been sold through Percy Doane. On the occasions this cover has been offered, it has been described as the finest known. Since two of the 10¢ covers have stamps with creases (numbers 4 and 6), and the third has a manuscript cancel (number 7), it is more than a matter of opinion that the 10¢ cover in the Gross collection is the finest of the four known. It has graced the collections formed by Stephen D. Brown, Karl Burroughs, Creighton C. Hart and John R. Boker, Jr.

Den.CornerDateTo Name/City/StateCensus no.
1UR10/1/1847Hannah, Kanawah CH, VA14208
2UL1/22/1848Beatty, Hagerstown MD14209
3UL2/1/1848Huntington, Cincinnati14210
410¢LL9/1/1847Hallowell, Philadelphia14217
510¢UL11/5/1847Hurlbut, S. Lee, MA14218
610¢LL12/8/1847Carpenter, Philadelphia14219
710¢LR3/2/1848Hallowell, Philadelphia14220

E. 15,000-20,000
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46°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 46, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings, The finest of four recorded 10¢ 1847 Wheeling, Virginia, precancel covers

10¢ Black (2), full margins to clear at bottom, red 7-bar grid precancel at upper left corner, tied by blue grid cancel, matching "Wheeling Va. Nov. 5"(1847) circular datestamp on November 4, 1847, folded letter to Owen & Hurlbut, South Lee, Massachusetts, sender's notation "Paid"

Extremely Fine; slight toning along file fold.

USPCS census no. 14218. Illustrated in Bakers' U.S. Classics (p. 165) and Brookman, United States Postage Stamps of the 19th Century, Vol. I (p. 73).

Ex Stephen D. Brown, Harmer Rooke (London) sale, 10/30-11/4/1939, lot 177; Karl Burroughs, Daniel F. Kelleher sale, 2/26/1944, Sale 429, lot 37; Creighton C. Hart, Robert G. Kaufmann sale, 4/30/1990, lot 164; and John R. Boker, Jr. (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross, 1994)

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

The Wheeling Red Grid Precancellation

The post office in Wheeling, Virginia (later West Virginia), received its first supply of 1847 stamps on August 8, 1847--1,200 5¢ and 400 10¢--and soon after applied a red 7-bar grid to the center of blocks of four before or at the time the stamps were sold. We do not know if the red grids were struck on all 25 blocks in a pane of 100 stamps, or if they were applied to smaller units, but all of the known examples have the red grid in one corner of the stamp (see image at left).

Since most of the recorded examples with the red grid are additionally cancelled, some experts have been reluctant to define them as precancellations, which are usually not cancelled again. However, one of the recorded 5¢ covers has a precancelled stamp without any other cancel (number 1 below), and a piece with a 5¢ has the stamp tied by the Wheeling November 6 (1847) circular datestamp, without any other cancel (Siegel Sale 203, lot 123). Whether the grid was applied as a control mark, as some have suggested, or for reasons that qualify it as a precancel, is a technical point for specialists to debate. Everyone agrees that the Wheeling grid is unique in the manner in which it was applied to the 1847 Issue.

There are seven recorded covers with the Wheeling grid precancel, including three 5¢ and four 10¢ covers. They are listed at bottom (bold entries are offered in this sale):

The USPCS census no. 14211 is a duplicate of number 3 on the above list with an incorrect date of 2/27/1848.

Numbers 4 and 7, the 10¢ covers to Hallowell, were found together and first appeared at auction in Franklin Stamp Co. Sale 34, 6/25/1920, as lots 14 and 15.

The 10¢ cover to Owen & Hurlbut offered here was part of a correspondence discovered in the 1930s and reported to have been sold through Percy Doane. On the occasions this cover has been offered, it has been described as the finest known. Since two of the 10¢ covers have stamps with creases (numbers 4 and 6), and the third has a manuscript cancel (number 7), it is more than a matter of opinion that the 10¢ cover in the Gross collection is the finest of the four known. It has graced the collections formed by Stephen D. Brown, Karl Burroughs, Creighton C. Hart and John R. Boker, Jr.

Den.CornerDateTo Name/City/StateCensus no.
1UR10/1/1847Hannah, Kanawah CH, VA14208
2UL1/22/1848Beatty, Hagerstown MD14209
3UL2/1/1848Huntington, Cincinnati14210
410¢LL9/1/1847Hallowell, Philadelphia14217
510¢UL11/5/1847Hurlbut, S. Lee, MA14218
610¢LL12/8/1847Carpenter, Philadelphia14219
710¢LR3/2/1848Hallowell, Philadelphia14220

E. 20,000-30,000
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47°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 47, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings5¢ 1847 tied on cover by a perfectly struck St, 5¢ 1847 tied on cover by a perfectly struck St5¢ 1847 tied on cover by a perfectly struck St. Johnsbury, Vermont, Scarab fancy cancel

5¢ Red Brown (1), large margins to clear at right and touched at top left, tied by sharp strike of red Scarab fancy cancel, matching "St. Johnsbury Vt. Jun. 2" (1849) circular datestamp on blue folded letter to Montpelier, Vermont, manuscript forwarding request at bottom, bright and fresh, Very Fine and choice example of the famous St. Johnsbury Scarab fancy cancel, the USPCS census lists only seven 5¢ covers with this distinctive cancel, ex Craveri and Hackmey, with 1999 P.F. certificate

E. 3,000-4,000
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48°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 48, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings10¢ 1847 tied on cover by a unusually bold St, 10¢ 1847 tied on cover by a unusually bold St10¢ 1847 tied on cover by a unusually bold St. Johnsbury, Vermont, Scarab fancy cancel

10¢ Black (2), large margins to clear at lower right, intense shade, just tied by boldly struck red Scarab fancy cancel with matching "St. Johnsbury Vt. Jun. 13" (1849) circular datestamp on blue folded letter to Buffalo, New York, stamp with tiny bit of manuscript and small flaws, cover lightly cleaned and pressed, Very Fine and choice example of the famous St. Johnsbury Scarab fancy cancel, the USPCS census lists only six 10¢ covers with the Scarab cancel, ex Ishikawa and Hackmey

E. 4,000-5,000
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49°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 49, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings, One of three recorded 1847 Issue covers with the Huntsville, Alabama, "5" Cent Star handstamp and the only one of the three with the stamp tied by the fancy cancel

5¢ Dark Brown (1a), large to ample margins all around, tied by blue negative "5" Numeral in 5-Point Star rate handstamp with small negative stars in points, matching "PAID" straightline handstamp and "Huntsville Al. Mar. 25" (1850) circular datestamp, all markings clearly struck on blue folded letter to Demopolis, Alabama, sender's notation "Paid" at top center indicates stamp was affixed, receipt docketing on back, stamp with additional lightened pen cancel

Extremely Fine--a spectacular 5¢ 1847 cover with one of the few fancy rate handstamps used during the 1847 period. This is one of only three recorded 1847 Issue covers with the Huntsville, Alabama, "5" Cent Star handstamp and the only one of the three with the stamp tied by the fancy cancel.

For much of the 19th century, postmasters used various markings on letters to indicate whether the sender had prepaid postage or the recipient owed money for postage. The "Paid" versus "Due" mindset continued for decades after the introduction of federal postage stamps in 1847, and even persisted after prepayment of domestic postage was made compulsory in 1855. The "Paid" originally instructed the receiving post office to deliver the letter free of postage charges, but evolved to mean "cancelled" when used on stamped letters. After the 1847 stamps were issued, the vast majority of mail was still sent without stamps, and much of the stampless mail was sent collect. Therefore, postmasters used markings on all letters to indicate whether or not postage had been prepaid, regardless of the method of prepayment--a coin handed to the post office clerk, postage charged to a box account, or paid with one of the new adhesive stamps. Many small post offices used pen and ink, because the low volume of mail and postage revenue did not justify the cost of purchasing metal or wood handstamps, which was the postmaster's responsibility. Most post offices used a standard circular town datestamp and "Paid" handstamp. Boston and other post offices actually included the word "Paid" in the circular grid used to cancel the stamp.

Huntsville, Alabama, is one of the places where the more elaborate "fancy" rate markings were used on letters, both with and without stamps. From 1845 through 1853, there were three postmasters: Daniel B. Turner (1845-1847), William Nunnally (1847-1849), and Joseph J. Pitman (1849-1853). Nearly 100 examples of the "5" Star handstamp are recorded on letters, dated from September 1845 through 1853, a long period of use. Although this marking's use overlaps the 1847 Issue period, only three covers with the "5" Star have 1847 stamps. The three are listed in the USPCS 1847 census as no. 7 (August 23, 1848), no. 8 (March 25, 1850, the cover offered here) and no. 9 (October 9, 1850).

Ex Rep. Ernest R. Ackerman, Duane B. Garrett, Ryohei Ishikawa, Guido Craveri and Joseph Hackmey. With 1993 P.F. certificate.

E. 15,000-20,000
Future Sale
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50°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 50, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings, An exceptional group of four 1847-era covers from Huntsville, Alabama, showing the fancy rate markings and killers used at that post office during the period

Two covers with single 10¢ 1847 stamps and two stampless covers, as follows

(a) Stampless cover with perfectly struck blue negative "5" Numeral in 5-Point Star fancy rate handstamp, matching "Huntsville Al. Sep. 2" circular datestamp on folded cover to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, undated receipt docketing on back, Extremely Fine

(b) 10¢ Black (2), with large margins to touched at bottom, tied by multiple strikes of blue negative "5" Numeral in 5-Point Star fancy rate handstamp, matching "Huntsville Al. May 1" (1849) circular datestamp on blue folded letter to Demopolis, Alabama, stamp with some pin indentations at left and bottom, Very Fine appearance, ex Sampson and from our 1987 Rarities of the World sale

(c) Stampless cover with blue negative "10" in Circle of Stars fancy rate handstamp, matching "Huntsville Al. Dec. 17" circular datestamp on buff envelope to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, markings well-struck, slight overall toning, appears Very Fine, from our 1987 Rarities of the World sale

(d) 10¢ Black (2), Position 86R, ample margins to clear at bottom, tied by partly clear strike of blue negative "10" in Circle of Stars fancy rate handstamp, and also tied by "PAID" straightline handstamp, matching "Huntsville Al. Jan. 8" (1848) circular datestamp on folded letter to Philadelphia, neatly pressed out filing creases including one through stamp, Very Fine appearance, from our 1987 Rarities of the World sale

A wonderful quartet of covers featuring the fancy rate markings and killers used in Huntsville, Alabama, during the 1847 period.

Each of these covers would easily stand on its own in any first-class 1847 or stampless cover collection. Combining them into one lot affords the collector or exhibitor the opportunity to display the full range of fancy markings employed by the Huntsville post office.

E. 5,000-7,500
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51°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 51, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings, The finer of two recorded 1847 covers with the Binghamton, New York, Herringbone struck in blue

5¢ Dark Brown (1a), intense color and impression from the First Printing, large to ample margins all around, tied by beautifully clear strike of blue Herringbone fancy cancel, light strike of red "Binghamton N.Y. Dec. 28" (1847) circular datestamp on blue folded letter to state comptroller at Albany, New York, file fold creases the stamp which also has a tiny margin tear at lower right, Extremely Fine strike of the famous Binghamton Herringbone cancel and the finer of only two recorded examples in blue, ex Matthies, Grunin, Ishikawa and Hackmey, illustrated in Chronicle (Vol. 29, No. 3, p. 157)

E. 2,000-3,000
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52°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 52, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings, Choice strike of the Binghamton, New York, fancy Herringbone cancel in red on a 5¢ 1847 cover

5¢ Red Brown (1), ample margins all around, tied by bold strike of red Herringbone fancy cancel, matching "Binghamton N.Y. Oct. 5" circular datestamp on envelope to Cherry Valley, New York, Roseboom correspondence, fresh and Very Fine stamp, a beautiful cover and strike of this fancy cancel, ex Wolcott, Sweet, Rust (1987 Rarities of the World sale) and Boker, exhibited at The Collectors Club of New York 1940 Centenary exhibition (by Sweet), signed Ashbrook

E. 3,000-4,000
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53°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 53, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings, Perfect strike of the rare 16-bar open grid of Hallowell, Maine, tying a 5¢ 1847 to a fresh envelope

5¢ Red Brown (1), ample margins to just in at top left, strong color and impression, tied by blue 16-bar open circular grid cancel, matching "Hallowell, Me. Apr. 27" circular datestamp on buff envelope to Kents Hill, Maine, Extremely Fine strike of this cancel on a fresh cover, the USPCS census lists only one other example (currently in the Gordon Eubanks collection), Hallowell received no 1847 stamps of either denomination, ex Craveri and Hackmey, with 2005 P.F. certificate

E. 1,500-2,000
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54°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 54, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings, 5¢ 1847 used from Hartford, Connecticut, with magenta postmark and "Paid" Pointing Hand

5¢ Red Brown (1), large margins to full, tied by magenta "Hartford Ct. 5 25 Sep." (1849) integral-rate circular datestamp with matching "Paid" Pointing Hand handstamp on blue folded letter to Birmingham, Connecticut, fresh and Extremely Fine, wonderful quality, ex Newbury and Boker

E. 1,000-1,500
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55°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 55, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings, 5¢ 1847 on a cover to Philadelphia with bold "5" and "10" due handstamps applied on arrival

5¢ Red Brown (1), deep rich color and detailed impression from the First Printing, large margins to clear at top, on March 13, 1848 docketed greenish folded cover from unstated origin to Philadelphia, possibly on a train from Baltimore, cancelled on arrival by bold blue "5" in circle handstamp, second "5" to left overstrikes "10" in circle, fresh and Very Fine, the postmaster may have found this overweight for the 5¢ rate and initially struck the due "10", upon realizing his error he corrected it with the due "5", ex Emerson, Haas, Klein and Boker

E. 1,000-1,500
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56°
c
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 56, 1847 Issue—Unusual Cancellations and Postal Markings, 10¢ 1847 sheet margin stamp tied by blue "24" rate handstamps on cover from Syracuse, New York

10¢ Black (2), Position 61L, sheet margin at left, other sides ample to touched at lower right, tied by multiple strikes of blue "24" rate handstamp, matching partly clear strike of "Syracuse N.Y. Dec. 26" (1849) circular datestamp on folded cover to the Treasurer of the United States Mint at Philadelphia, receipt docketing on inside flaps, which are waterstained but not affecting front, Very Fine, a likely unique and probably accidental domestic use of this handstamp normally used to indicate 24¢ British treaty rate on transatlantic mail, ex Finnegan and Saadi, with 1994 P.F. certificate

E. 1,000-1,500
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