VERY FINE. AN OUTSTANDING AND RARE EXAMPLE OF THE VANDERBILT "AHEAD OF THE MAILS, UNCLE SAM" PROPAGANDA HANDSTAMP. THIS LETTER WAS CARRIED ON THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE UNCLE SAM ON THE PANAMA ROUTE.
This Independent Line was created by Cornelius Vanderbilt as an opposition line between California and New York via Panama, from August 17, 1853, thru September 1, 1854. His handstamps typically boasted that these sailings would be "Ahead of the Mails", implying faster delivery to the opposite coast.
Ex Haas and Kramer. Illustrated in Letters of Gold on p. 100
VERY FINE AND VERY RARE EAST-TO-WEST COVER WITH A NICARAGUA "IN ADVANCE OF THE MAILS" MARKING, HANDLED BY ADAMS & CO. IN SAN FRANCISCO AND NEVER ENTERING THE REGULAR MAILS.
This type of “Nicaragua Line” oval handstamp was used at New York on westbound mail and is much scarcer than the similarly-worded markings originating in California, struck on eastbound mail.
Illustrated in Ashbrook Vol. II, where he states, "Covers showing via Nicaragua markings that traveled from east to west are extremely rare." He further comments that he had only seen four such examples.
VERY FINE. A RARE EXAMPLE OF AN "INTERIOR" PONY EXPRESS COVER, CARRIED IN A FRANKED ENTIRE TO NEW YORK CITY AND MAILED FROM THERE WITH A 3-CENT 1857 STAMP. THIS COVER CROSSED NEVADA AS LOCAL MILITIA UNDER THE COMMAND OF MAJOR WILLIAM ORMSBY WERE WIPED OUT BY PAIUTE INDIANS IN THE FIRST BATTLE OF PYRAMID LAKE ON MAY 12, 1860.
This cover was carried on the eastbound Pony Express trip that departed San Francisco on Friday, May 11, 1860. This express passed through Carson City in Nevada on May 12, the same day that Major William Ormsby's army was annihilated at the First Battle of Pyramid Lake. The San Francisco Bulletin (June 13, 1860) published the following report from St. Louis, dated May 24, confirming the arrival of the May 11 express ten days later on May 21: "The Pony Express which left San Francisco May 11th, arrived on the 21st. A rider was killed by the Indians on the California end. Mail and dispatches saved."
The cover offered here is the only one recorded for this May 11 trip (FKW Census E4A). It has the sender’s directive to go by the May 11 Pony Express from San Francisco, but no express markings. It was carried inside another envelope, reached St. Joseph on May 21, and after it was carried to New York City, this interior envelope was mailed and postmarked on May 25.
Information about the addressee, Reverend Thomas B. Fox, may be found at http://www.frsuu.org/serm45.htm
FKW Census E4A. Ex Pearce, Jessup, Piller and Lyons. 1990 P.F. certificate no longer accompanies.