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Sale 1216 — The Ambassador J. William Middendorf II Collection

Sale Date — Tuesday, 25 February, 2020

Category — 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
168
ngbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 168, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4). Block of four, unused (no gum), large margins to clear including sheet margin at bottom, bright color, Very Fine, ex Chapin, with 1973 P.F. certificate

1,500
950
169
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 169, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co., Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4), Wells Fargo & Co., Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4)Wells Fargo & Co., Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4). Position 6, clear margins to just in at bottom right corner, rich color, light strike of blue San Francisco Running Pony oval datestamp, faint horizontal crease at upper left, Fine appearance, the $2.00 Green Second Issue is extremely scarce in used condition, only two covers are recorded (one offered in our recent sale of the Kramer collection), and we have seen only approximately ten or fewer genuinely cancelled stamps off cover, with 2014 P.S.E. certificate

6,000
1,000
Back to Top
170
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 170, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4). Clear margins to touched at right, strongly struck blue San Francisco Running Pony oval datestamp slightly indents stamp, manuscript offset on back from cover including “Pony”, Fine and rare, only two covers are recorded (one offered in our recent sale of the Kramer collection), and we have seen only approximately ten or fewer genuinely cancelled stamps off cover

6,000
1,400
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171
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 171, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4). Ample margins to touched at left and top right, neat blue San Francisco Running Pony oval datestamp, completely sound, Fine and rare, only two covers are recorded (one offered in our recent sale of the Kramer collection), and we have seen only approximately ten or fewer genuinely cancelled stamps off cover, with 2011 P.F. certificate

6,000
1,200
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172
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 172, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Green (143L4). Ample margins to touched or slightly in at bottom left, light strike of blue San Francisco Running Pony oval datestamp, small faults including tiny tear, crease and slight soiling, otherwise Fine, only two covers are recorded (one offered in our recent sale of the Kramer collection), and we have seen only approximately ten or fewer genuinely cancelled stamps off cover, this is an affordable example, with 2004 P.F. certificate

6,000
600
Back to Top
173
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 173, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $4.00 Black (143L5), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $4.00 Black (143L5)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $4.00 Black (143L5). Position 9, full margins all around, cancelled by blue San Francisco Running Pony oval datestamp, faint manuscript offset on back, tiny negligible scrape at top right

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF FIVE RECORDED USED EXAMPLES OF THE $4.00 BLACK PONY EXPRESS STAMP. THIS IS THE RAREST PONY EXPRESS STAMP IN GENUINELY USED CONDITION.

Only two covers with the $4.00 Black (Second Issue) are recorded, including one offered in our recent sale of the George J. Kramer collection (Sale 1207, lot 23). This is one of only five off-cover used examples recorded.

Ex Caspary, “Golden Oak” and “New Helvetia”. With 2005 P.F. certificate.

7,500
16,500
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174
Pbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 174, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter, Plate Proof on Card (143L6), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter, Plate Proof on Card (143L6)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter, Plate Proof on Card (143L6). Positions 12-13/17-18 and 14-15/19-20 in two blocks of four with part of manuscript “Sample” applied to original proof sheet, large margins, left block has creases

A VERY FINE AND UNIQUE ENSEMBLE OF BLOCKS FROM THE WELLS FARGO & CO. $1.00 GARTER PROOF SHEET WITH THE “SAMPLE OVERPRINT.

The iconic Horse & Rider stamps were never used on westbound Pony Express mail. In Rate Period 3, Wells Fargo & Co. introduced a special franked envelope for westbound mail, but its use was extremely limited. On July 1, 1861, the new contract rate went into effect. On August 12, 1861, Wells Fargo & Co. 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 Garter adhesive stamps were put on sale in August 1861.

The small belt-shaped Garter stamp looks nothing like the Horse & Rider issues and omits the words “Pony Express.” The Garter was printed from a lithographic stone of 20 subjects, arranged 5 across and 4 high, based on the known corner margin strip of three and the three blocks printed on card with the word “Sample” written across them. The contiguous blocks offered here represent two of the three recorded plate proof blocks. A digital reconstruction of the sheet layout is shown below.

Left block ex Schwartz and Kuphal. Right block ex Golden and with 1983 P.F. certificate. Both blocks together ex Twigg-Smith.

E. 5,000-7,500
3,000
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175
ng
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 175, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6). Unused, (no gum), large margins to full at top, Very Fine, a fresh and choice unused example of the Pony Express $1.00 Garter stamp, also very rare, despite the Scott Catalogue assigning a higher value to used examples unused are just as elusive, signed Sloane in pencil

800
1,300
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176
ng
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 176, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6). Unused, (no gum), large margins to barely touching at bottom, we described a tiny thin spot when we last sold this stamp in 2011, but the P.F. did not agree and issued a sound opinion, Very Fine and also very rare, despite the Scott Catalogue assigning a higher value to used examples unused are just as elusive, with 2011 P.F. certificate

800
900
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177
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 177, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6). Huge margins, cancelled by single wavy-line pen stroke, small faint thin at top and two tiny pinholes

EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE USED EXAMPLE OF THE PONY EXPRESS GARTER STAMP. PROBABLY THE FINEST KNOWN OFF-COVER USED GARTER STAMP.

Any example of the $1.00 Garter stamp is rare, either unused or used. In comparing the used examples (without a red line across the face, which are listed as a footnote in Scott), our records do not contain a single sound example. This stamp, with large margins, a neat pen cancel and non-obvious faults, is easily one of, if not the finest, off-cover used example extant.

Ex Hall, Twigg-Smith and “Golden Oak”. With 2009 P.F. certificate.

E. 4,000-5,000
2,100
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178
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 178, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6). Large margins all around, bold strike of New York “Aug. 24” (1861) circular datestamp, small corner creases and faint thinning

EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. AN OUTSTANDING USED EXAMPLE OF THE PONY EXPRESS GARTER STAMP WITH A BOLD NEW YORK CIRCULAR DATESTAMP CANCEL.

Any example of the $1.00 Garter stamp is rare, either unused or used. In comparing the used examples (without a red line across the face, which are listed as a footnote in Scott), our records do not contain a single sound example. This is the only stamp we have offered with a clear New York circular datestamp cancel.

Ex Knapp. With 2003 P.F. certificate

E. 1,500-2,000
2,100
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179
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 179, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co., $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6), Wells Fargo & Co., $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6)Wells Fargo & Co., $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6). Full to large margins showing trace of adjacent stamp at top, trace of circular datestamp at right, small crease not mentioned on accompanying certificate, appears Extremely Fine, one of the finest of the small population of used $1.00 Garter stamps (without the red pen line), ex Kuphal, with 2020 P.F. certificate

1,250
1,400
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180
og
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 180, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6). Large margins, cancelled by single wavy-line pen stroke, thins and large adherence, appears Very Fine, a rare stamp in any condition, with 1996 P.S.E. certificate

1,250
850
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181
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 181, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6). Position 20 from bottom right corner of the sheet, red pen line across shield, large margins showing parts of all four dividing crosses, “Pony Ex” written in bottom margin, Extremely Fine, wonderful quality and very rare in this condition

300
800
Back to Top
182
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 182, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6). Red vertical pen line across shield, ample to large margins, Very Fine and choice, ex Fekete, with 1960 and 2014 P.F. certificates

300
800
Back to Top
183
c
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 183, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, ($1.00) Red Type II East-to-West Frank, 10c Green on Thin Hard White Entire (unlisted in Scott), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, ($1.00) Red Type II East-to-West Frank, 10c Green on Thin Hard White Entire (unlisted in Scott)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, ($1.00) Red Type II East-to-West Frank, 10c Green on Thin Hard White Entire (unlisted in Scott). Printed address to the “Agent of Pony Express, St. Joseph, Mo.” and handwritten address to J. W. Wilde at San Francisco, “New-York Oct. 23” (1861) circular datestamp, opening tear at upper right expertly repaired, lightly cleaned with other minor edge improvements

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF THE LAST FRANKED PONY EXPRESS ENVELOPES SENT TO ST. JOSEPH, MISSOURI, BUT RECEIVED AFTER THE TERMINATION OF PONY EXPRESS SERVICE. A FASCINATING “QUASI-PONY” COVER THAT WAS CARRIED BY STAGECOACH.

The chart in our Stockholmia pamphlet on the Pony Express (available as a PDF on our website) contains information about the advancement of the eastern and western telegraph terminals. 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.

A few westbound covers are recorded that arrived in Saint Joseph after the October 24 trip departed. The letters bagged at St. Joseph for the October 27 and 31 trips were probably carried part or all of the way by regular mail stagecoach, because they arrived in San Francisco on November 18 and 21, in line with the usual 20-day transit time by stage.

FKW Census W69. Trip WT-152 (FKW “likely carried by stage”). Ex Twigg-Smith

E. 4,000-5,000
2,100
Back to Top
184
P
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 184, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.San Francisco Running Pony Handstamp, San Francisco Running Pony HandstampSan Francisco Running Pony Handstamp. Proof strike on paper, faint creases, a rare posthumous strike from the original device, ex “Alyeska”

E. 300-400
275
Back to Top
185
Pbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 185, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Wells Fargo & Co., 10c-$4.00 Pony Express 1897 Reprint, Black Plate Proof on Wove (143L1P/143L9P), Wells Fargo & Co., 10c-$4.00 Pony Express 1897 Reprint, Black Plate Proof on Wove (143L1P/143L9P)Wells Fargo & Co., 10c-$4.00 Pony Express 1897 Reprint, Black Plate Proof on Wove (143L1P/143L9P). Complete sheet with defaced $4.00 column at left, margins reduced from full-size but still large, light creases including vertical thru 25c row, top left stamp small tear, appears Very Fine, rare, this is only the third example we have offered in more than 25 years

E. 1,000-1,500
1,500
Back to Top
186
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 186, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony Express, cont.Pony Express, Balance, Pony Express, BalancePony Express, Balance. (143L2/143L9). Unused stamps include one $4.00 Green (143L2), three $2.00 Green (143L4), two $4.00 Black (143L5), also single examples of the Virginia City Pony stamps (143L7-143L9), used includes one $1.00 Red (143L3) with clear strike of blue Wells Fargo & Co. San Francisco oval datestamp, a few small flaws to be expected, overall Fine-Very Fine or appear so, also includes proof strike of San Francisco Running Pony Handstamp with “APR 60” anniversary date on piece of gummed paper with some faults, a rare posthumous strike from the original device, Scott Retail not counting the last item $2,645.00

E. 1,000-1,500
1,600
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187
 
Pony Express, Forgeries. Single album containing an wide array of forgeries as well as correspondence between collectors and dealers on the subject of the Pony Express, probably more than 200 items in total covering the Running Pony stamps and the Garter stamp, includes a few genuine unused stamps as well and some cancel cuts, also many photographs for plating purposes, a fascinating study which originates with Ambassador Middendorf’s original Carriers and Locals collection from the 1950s

E. 300-400
600
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