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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

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
148
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 148, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWilliam H. Russell, William H. RussellWilliam H. Russell. One of the three co-founders of the Pony Express, autograph letter signed “Wm. H. Russell” and datelined at Washington D.C., June 4, 1860, to Judge William A. Carter at Fort Bridger, which reads:

“Yrs of 24th Apl was forwarded to me from Leavenworth and recd last week too late to answer by the Pony. The authority you suggest to agents to employ extra riders when necessary I supposed had been given. I now give it and trust you will see that all goes along your portion of the road. I am really under many obligations for your promptness in forwarding the first express. You shall not be forgotten when grain is wanted. We feel confident of obtaining a daily mail service. Very respectfully, Wm. H. Russell”

Some minor splits along folds and light stains

A RARE AND SIGNIFICANT LETTER FROM WILLIAM H. RUSSELL, ONE OF THE PRINCIPALS IN THE PONY EXPRESS, TO JUDGE WILLIAM A. CARTER, THE STATION AGENT AT FORT BRIDGER, THANKING HIM FOR HIS ROLE IN MAKING THE FIRST PONY EXPRESS TRIP RUN PROMPTLY. IRONICALLY, AS RUSSELL PENNED THESE WORDS, THE PONY EXPRESS IN CALIFORNIA AND NEVADA WAS SHUT DOWN DUE TO THE INDIAN WAR.

While William H. Russell, the chief lobbyist for the Central Route mail contract and promoter of the Pony Express, was in Washington D.C. in May and June 1860, the Pauite Indian War in present-day Nevada effectively shut down the route west of Ruby Valley. Pony Express runs continued in both directions between St. Joseph and as far west as Diamond Springs, but the loss of business along the route between San Francisco and Carson Valley from May 31 to July 7 put the entire operation in jeopardy. In his June 4th letter to Judge Carter at Fort Bridger, Russell seems blissfully unaware of the problems and blindly optimistic about the prospects for obtaining the much-needed government mail contract over the Central Route.

Ex “New Helvetia”

E. 1,500-2,000
2,600
149
ng
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 149, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00-$4.00 Horse & Rider Issues (143L1-143L5), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00-$4.00 Horse & Rider Issues (143L1-143L5)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00-$4.00 Horse & Rider Issues (143L1-143L5). 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), unused (no gum), large margins, bright and fresh

EXTREMELY FINE SET OF WELLS FARGO & COMPANY’S HORSE & RIDER STAMPS ISSUED FOR USE ON THE LEGENDARY PONY EXPRESS. VERY FEW SETS OF THIS SUPERB QUALITY COULD BE ASSEMBLED.

The Pony Express was launched in 1860 by the overland freight express firm operated by William H. Russell, Alexander Majors and William B. Waddell. In an attempt to secure the lucrative government mail contract, the Central Overland California & Pikes Peak Express Company announced that it would carry letters between California and the railroad terminus at St. Joseph, Missouri, in less than ten days. The earliest advertisements appeared in January 1860, and the first pony rider left the Alta Telegraph office in San Francisco at 4:00 p.m. on April 3, 1860. The expressman and his bag of mail did not actually ride off toward St. Joseph. He first boarded the steamer New World and traveled up the Sacramento River to Sacramento. From there another horse and rider galloped off on the first leg of the journey. Several riders and horses were used along the arduous journey, and the mail reached St. Joseph ten days later, on April 13. The operation continued until October 1861.

Commencing July 1, 1861, the Pony Express was authorized by Congress to carry mail at the rate of $1.00 per half ounce. An additional fee was charged by Wells Fargo & Co. to carry mail from San Francisco to the western terminus at Placerville. The contract also stipulated the mandatory U.S. postage charge of 10c 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 four margins or have faults. This superb set would be extremely difficult to duplicate.

1,280
4,000
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150
og
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 150, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00-$4.00 Horse & Rider Issues (143L1-143L5), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00-$4.00 Horse & Rider Issues (143L1-143L5)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00-$4.00 Horse & Rider Issues (143L1-143L5). 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), each stamp plated, all but No. 143L4 original gum, large margins, No. 143L2 light stain at top center, No. 143L4 tiny margin thin, overall bright and fresh

EXTREMELY FINE (OR APPEARING) SET OF WELLS FARGO & COMPANY’S HORSE & RIDER STAMPS ISSUED FOR USE ON THE LEGENDARY PONY EXPRESS. VERY FEW SETS OF THIS HIGH QUALITY COULD BE ASSEMBLED.

Each stamp with 2007 P.S.E. certificate

1,280
2,200
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151
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 151, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00-$4.00 Horse & Rider, $1.00 Garter Issues (143L1-143L6), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00-$4.00 Horse & Rider, $1.00 Garter Issues (143L1-143L6)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00-$4.00 Horse & Rider, $1.00 Garter Issues (143L1-143L6). All five Horse & Rider stamps plus the “Garter” stamp: $2.00 Red and $4.00 Green, First Issue (April 1861), $1.00 Red, $2.00 Green and $4.00 Black, Second Issue (July 1, 1861), each with blue San Francisco Running Pony oval datestamp, and $1.00 Blue, Garter (July 1, 1861) used with magenta and black pen cancels, margins to just in, bright colors, faults as always for used examples but each in collectible condition (see below for specific condition notes)

FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXTREMELY RARE COMPLETE SET OF THE 1861 WELLS FARGO & COMPANY PONY EXPRESS STAMPS GENUINELY USED. WITH THE POPULATIONS OF THE TWO $4.00 VALUES AND THE $2.00 GREEN IN THE SINGLE DIGITS, THESE ARE VERY RARELY IF EVER OFFERED AS A COMPLETE SET.

The $2.00 Green and both of the $4.00 values, each of which paid a multiple of the standard single rate in effect at the time of issue, are very rare in used condition, with populations of fewer than ten, including only five recorded for the $4.00 Black. Since keeping computerized records more than 25 years ago, we have never offered the complete set in used condition.

Condition notes: $2.00 Red (143L1), light creases; $4.00 Green (143L2), thinned at top right, small repair at bottom left, 2013 P.F. certificate; $1.00 Red (143L3), thin spot; $2.00 Green (143L4), defective with repairs; $4.00 Black (143L5), couple non-obvious small flaws, 2013 P.F. certificate; $1.00 Blue, Garter (143L6), cut to shape, red and black pen cancels, lightly stained, 2011 P.F. certificate.

Total Scott Retail

22,450
4,000
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152
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 152, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Red (143L1), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Red (143L1)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Red (143L1). Position 11, full to large margins, lightly struck blue “Pony Ex(press) Sac(ramento)” oval datestamp with “MA” of month (May 1861), small thin spots, Very Fine appearance, a choice and scarce used example of the $2.00 Horse & Rider First Issue, ex Twigg-Smith

800
900
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153
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 153, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $4.00 Green (143L2), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $4.00 Green (143L2)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $4.00 Green (143L2). Position 6, full to large margins, cancelled by blue San Francisco Running Pony oval datestamp with trace of manuscript, tiny thin spot and small tear at left

EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. FEWER THAN TEN USED EXAMPLES OF THE $4.00 GREEN HORSE & RIDER FIRST ISSUE HAVE BEEN REPORTED. THIS IS QUITE POSSIBLY THE FINEST USED COPY EXTANT.

The $4.00 Green was used briefly during Rate Period 3 to pay the double $2.00 per half-ounce rate. Only one cover is recorded, recently offered in our sale of the George J. Kramer collection (Sale 1207, lot 16, realized $150,000 hammer). We have seen approximately seven genuinely cancelled stamps off cover.

Ex Twigg-Smith and “New Helvetia”. With 2009 P.F. certificate.

6,000
5,250
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154
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 154, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $4.00 Green (143L2), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $4.00 Green (143L2)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $4.00 Green (143L2). Position 19, clear margins to touched at bottom right, rich color, cancelled by rim and “SA” of blue San Francisco Running Pony oval datestamp, small thin spots

FRESH AND FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE USED EXAMPLE OF THE $4.00 GREEN HORSE & RIDER FIRST ISSUE. FEWER THAN TEN EXIST IN USED CONDITION.

The $4.00 Green was used briefly during Rate Period 3 to pay the double $2.00 per half-ounce rate. Only one cover is recorded, recently offered in our sale of the George J. Kramer collection (Sale 1207, lot 16, realized $150,000 hammer). We have seen approximately seven genuinely cancelled stamps off cover.

With 2014 P.S.E. certificate.

6,000
2,700
Back to Top
155
c
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 155, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Red (143L1), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Red (143L1)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $2.00 Red (143L1). Large margins to just touched including part of adjoining stamps at top and right, tied by well-struck blue “Pony Express San Francisco Jun. 5” (1861) Running Pony handstamp on 10c Green on Buff Star Die entire (U33) to New York, the entire cancelled by blue grid and matching indistinct St. Joseph Mo. circular datestamp, top flap with small part missing and small part sensibly repaired, the stamp with expert repair at top right, the cover gently cleaned

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLE OF THE $2.00 PONY EXPRESS STAMP TIED BY THE BLUE SAN FRANCISCO RUNNING PONY OVAL.

This cover was carried on the Wednesday, June 5, 1861, trip from San Francisco, which arrived at St. Joseph on June 17. When Phase II (Interim Phase) started on April 1, 1861, the rate for a Pony Express letter was substantially reduced to $2 per half-ounce, down from the $5 per half-ounce or $2.50 per quarter-ounce rates in effect during the previous year. At the same time, the new agents--Wells Fargo & Company--had special stamps and envelopes printed for use on Pony Express letters. The $2 rate was in effect for a brief period, from April 1 to June 30, 1861. The FKW census records 37 $2.00 Red covers.

The $2 and $4 were printed 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. Based on the fact that the $2 and $4 of the July 1861 issue (in Green and Black) were printed from the same stones as the April 1861 issue, it is certain that the printers had retained the two original stones. Lithographic stones were usually re-used by erasing the image and repolishing the surface, but in the case of the Pony Express stones, they were evidently preserved for future printings.

FKW Census E93. Ex Lyons. With 1992 P.F. certificate

E. 15,000-20,000
15,000
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156
ngbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 156, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Complete sheet of 40 in two panes, Position 9 in the Right Pane shows the “Broken Leg” flaw, unused (no gum), bright color, mostly ample to large margins all around, just into the frame of the top left stamp and touching the stamp at top right, some faults that are mostly small including a vertical fold between the panes ending in closed tears at top and bottom not affecting any stamps, two spindle holes in bottom corner stamps, to help the appearance of the sheet an additional genuine single and horizontal pair (crease) have been lightly hinged behind so that the designs appear complete

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A VERY RARE COMPLETE SHEET OF 40 OF THE $1.00 PONY EXPRESS STAMP. POSITION R9 IS THE “BROKEN LEG” LITHOGRAPHIC FLAW.

When Britton & Rey received Wells Fargo & Co.’s order for new stamps needed for the July 1861 rate change, they were apparently instructed to produce a new $1.00 value in Red and to print more $2.00 and $4.00 stamps in different colors. Since the printers still had the stones for the $2.00 and $4.00, it was a simple matter to make more impressions in Green ($2.00) and Black ($4.00). Their approach to the $1.00 Red, evident in the product itself, is more complicated.

Instead of 20 subjects, there were 40 subjects on the $1.00 stone, which suggests that the print order anticipated a much higher volume of usage. In fact, the average number of letters per eastbound trip jumped from 201 in Rate Period 3 (prior to the government contract) to 305 in the Rate Period 4 (as a government contractor). The total number of eastbound letters, documented at 10,057, indicates that at least an equal number of $1.00 stamps were printed, so doubling the size of the stone meant half the number of impressions (250 vs. 500 for a print run of 10,000). The process of creating the $1.00 printing stone is described in our pamphlet on the Pony Express (the Stockholmia presentation PDF is available on our website).

This sheet of 40--one of four recorded--contains the most distinctive plate flaw found on any Pony Express stamp: the “Broken Leg” flaw, in which the horse’s front right leg is cut off where the background shading lines end.

The Broken Leg flaw occurs only on Position R9 (Group A Type V). The fact that it does not occur on the other three Type V positions (L9/11 and R11) indicates that it was not present on the Transfer Groups A or B. It may have occurred as the re-transfer of Group A/B was made on the printing stone, possibly due to a flaw in the transfer paper. It also could have resulted from damage to the printing stone, possibly during the erasure process to remove “s” from “Dollars”.

We have seen approximately ten examples of the Broken Leg, including four in sheets. The two used examples offered in this sale prove the Broken Leg flaw was present when the stamps were actually used on Pony Express mail. One unresolved question is whether Position R9 exists without the flaw, which would prove that some sheets were printed before the flaw occurred on the printing stone.

E. 5,000-7,500
4,500
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157
ngbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 157, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Block of four, unused (no gum), large even margins, bright color, Extremely Fine, very scarce in completely sound condition, with 1984 P.F. certificate

750
550
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158
ngbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 158, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Block of four, unused (no gum), full to large margins, bottom left stamp small thin spot, overall Very Fine-Extremely Fine, with 2011 P.F. certificate

750
375
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159
ngbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 159, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Right margin block of nine, unused (no gum), large to ample margins other sides to just clear on middle stamp at bottom, light vertical crease visible in fluid and tiny corner crease at top left, small scissors-cuts at bottom between vertical rows, couple tiny soiling spots, Very Fine appearance, Scott Retail as block of four and five singles

1,250
600
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160
ng
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 160, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red, Broken Leg (143L3 var), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red, Broken Leg (143L3 var)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red, Broken Leg (143L3 var). Position R9, clearly showing the “Broken Leg” flaw, in which the horse’s front right leg is cut off where the background shading lines end, unused (no gum), large to ample margins, bright color, horizontal crease, Very Fine appearance and rare, this is the most distinctive plate flaw found on any Pony Express stamp with only approximately 10 examples known to us (including four locked up in full sheets), with 2014 P.S.E. certificate (VG 50)

1,750
0
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161
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 161, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red, Broken Leg (143L3 var), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red, Broken Leg (143L3 var)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red, Broken Leg (143L3 var). Position R9, clearly showing the “Broken Leg” flaw, in which the horse’s front right leg is cut off where the background shading lines end, affixed to piece, cancelled by blue San Francisco Running Pony oval datestamp, margins to slightly in, few tiny edge tears, Fine appearance and extremely rare, this is one of only two used examples of this plate variety we have encountered (approximately ten in total are known)

6,000
550
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162
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 162, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red, Broken Leg (143L3 var), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red, Broken Leg (143L3 var)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red, Broken Leg (143L3 var). Position R9, clearly showing the “Broken Leg” flaw, in which the horse’s front right leg is cut off where the background shading lines end, cancelled by neat strike of blue San Francisco Running Pony oval datestamp, margins clear to touching, stained at top left over small shallow thin spot, Fine appearance and extremely rare, this is one of only two used examples of this plate variety we have encountered (approximately ten in total are known)

6,000
550
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163
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 163, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Large margins to barely touching at top right, clear strike of blue San Francisco Running Pony oval datestamp, tiny thin spot and faint corner crease, appears Very Fine

900
400
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164
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 164, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Position R3, huge bottom margin and full at right, cut in at upper left and barely in at top, scissors-cut at bottom right, tied by blue “Pony Express, San Francisco, Oct. 16” (1861) Running Pony oval datestamp on large piece of 10c Green on Buff entire (U41) with Wells Fargo & Co. red frank, clear strike of “Atchison, Kan. Oct. 30” double-circle datestamp applied on arrival after

14-day trip (ET-144)

A FINE AND VERY ATTRACTIVE REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLE OF THE $1.00 HORSE & RIDER STAMP WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNNING PONY OVAL AND ATCHISON DATESTAMP.

Starting with the Pony Express mail that left San Francisco on September 11, 1861 (ET-134, arriving September 23), the entry point for mail became Atchison. The FKW census records 25 covers, including one with the Pony Express stamp missing. By the time this Pony mail arrived at Atchison, the Pony Express had ended.

Ex “Alyeska”.

E. 2,000-3,000
1,600
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165
c
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 165, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Position L16 with break in “1”, large margins at top, other sides slightly into framelines, bright color, tied by sharp strike of blue “Pony Express San Francisco Jul. 13” (1861) Running Pony oval datestamp on 10c Green on Buff Star Die entire (U33) with red Wells Fargo & Co. printed frank, sender’s endorsement “Per Pony”, clearly struck “St. Joseph Mo. Jul. 25” circular datestamp cancels entire, trivial opening tear at upper right corner, stamp with tiny tear at top right

A FRESH COVER WITH CLEARLY STRUCK MARKINGS AND A FINE EXAMPLE OF THE $1.00 RED STAMP ISSUED BY WELLS FARGO & COMPANY FOR THE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACT PERIOD BEGINNING IN JULY 1861. THIS IS A VERY EARLY USE OF THE STAMP.

Commencing July 1, 1861, the Pony Express was authorized by Congress to carry mail at the rate of $1.00 per half ounce. An additional fee was charged by Wells Fargo & Co. to carry mail from San Francisco to the western terminus at Placerville, which is represented by the printed frank on this entire. The contract also stipulated the mandatory U.S. postage charge of 10c per half ounce. This cover beautifully combines all three postage elements and was carried on the fourth eastbound Pony Express trip after the new rates and stamps were introduced. 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.

FKW Census E112. Ex Knapp and Kuphal. With 2007 P.F. certificate

E. 10,000-15,000
7,500
Back to Top
166
c
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 166, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Margins slightly in and repaired top right corner, tied by blue “Pony Express San Francisco Sep. 11” Running Pony oval datestamp on 10c Green on Buff Star Die entire (U33) with Wells Fargo & Co. red printed frank, “Atchison Kan. Sep. 23” (1861) double-circle datestamp, addressed to Baltimore Md., reduced at left and small edge tear

FINE APPEARING PONY EXPRESS STAMP ON AN ATTRACTIVE COVER. A RARE USE VIA THE ATCHISON POST OFFICE.

Commencing July 1, 1861, the Pony Express was authorized by Congress to carry mail at the rate of $1.00 per half ounce. An additional fee was charged by Wells Fargo & Co. to carry mail from San Francisco to the western terminus at Placerville, which is represented by their printed frank on this entire. The contract also stipulated the mandatory U.S. postage charge of 10c per half ounce. This cover nicely combines all three postage elements and was carried on the Sep. 11, 1861 eastbound Pony Express trip after the new rates and stamps were introduced. By September 1861 the transcontinental railroad reached Atchison, Kansas, which became the post-office entry point for Pony Express mail.

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.

FKW Census E156. Ex Luff, Knapp, Barkhausen LeBow and Lyons. With 2015 P.F. certificate

E. 7,500-10,000
11,500
Back to Top
167
 
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 167, 1860-61 Transcontinental Pony ExpressWells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3), Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3)Wells Fargo & Co. Pony Express, $1.00 Red (143L3). Position L10, ample to large margins, rich color, tied by blue “Pony Express, San Francisco, Aug. 24” (1861) Running Pony oval datestamp on expertly rebacked 10c Green on Buff Star Die entire (U33) with Wells Fargo & Co. red printed frank, to W. J. Widdleton at 17 Mercer Street in New York City, bold strike of “St. Joseph Mo. Sep. 5” circular datestamp applied on arrival after 12-day trip, small sealed nick at top and the back has been skillfully added to create a complete envelope (not noted as such on certificate)

AN EXTREMELY FINE REBACKED FRONT WITH ALL OF THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF AN EASTBOUND PONY EXPRESS USE INTACT, INCLUDING THE WELLS FARGO & COMPANY $1.00 HORSE & RIDER STAMP TIED BY THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNNING PONY OVAL.

This cover was carried on the trip that departed San Francisco on Saturday, August 24, 1861, and arrived at St. Joseph on September 5. The addressee, W. J. Widdleton, was a New York City publisher. In 1861 Widdleton acquired the rights to publish the collected works of the late Edgar Allan Poe.

Congress 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...” This period of operation is known as Phase III, which corresponds to Rate Period 4 (July 1- October 26, 1861). During this period, Wells Fargo & Co. issued new stamps and envelopes to reflect the agreed upon government contract rate of $1 per half-ounce for the Pony Express. In addition, Wells Fargo & Co. charged a fee for service in California (represented by the red frank) and U.S. postage (10c per half-ounce).

FKW Census E146. Ex “Alyeska”. With 1976 P.F. certificate as a complete cover.

E. 5,000-7,500
6,000
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