(Halifax to Newport R.I. via Boston, Aug. 25, 1750). Folded letter datelined “Halifax 25th Aug. 1750” from William Vernon to his brother Samuel Vernon in Newport R.I., carried privately to Boston, received and forwarded notation on back with “Boston Sept. 10, 1750” dateline, manuscript “Bo 2/6” postmark with 2sh/6p rate for 7.5-times inflation factor
VERY FINE. THIS IS THE EARLIEST KNOWN PRIVATELY OWNED LETTER ORIGINATING IN HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--SENT TO THE WELL-KNOWN MERCHANT SAMUEL VERNON IN NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND. AN IMPORTANT EARLY NOVA SCOTIA COVER.
Nova Scotia covers dated in the mid-18th century are extremely rare outside archival holdings. Halifax was established only one year earlier, with the arrival of Edward Cornwallis on June 21, 1749. This led to the colonial capital’s relocation from Annapolis Royal to Halifax. The Steinhart collection contained a folded letter dated July 25, 1752, which was previously recognized as the earliest Halifax letter.
Massachusetts Old Tenor currency was used beginning in 1690, due to the scarcity of British shillings and pence. It was initially valued at a 25% discount to British currency, but continued to lose value through 1754, the period in which this letter was sent (1750-51), British postage was converted using an inflation factor of 7.5, which in this case equates to 2sh6p in local currency (4p British single letter rate x 7.5 = 30p, or 2sh6p).
The recipient, Samuel Vernon (1711-1792), was a prominent Newport merchant, along with another brother William. They were known for their utilization of the Triangular Trade--the Vernon’ship Hare was a documented slave ship. Vernon is also known as one of the ringleaders of the Stamp Act Riots of 1765 and fully supported the Revolutionary War. His home in Newport was the headquarters for Comte de Rochambeau and housed General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette.
Ex Dr. Robertson.
(Annapolis Royal to Boston Mass., Feb. 23, 1751). Folded letter datelined “Annapolis Royal Feb. 12th, 1750-1” (utilizing the Julian calendar) and addressed to Thomas Hancock in Boston Mass., carried privately by ship, cover with some minor splitting along folds
VERY FINE. THIS IS THE SECOND EARLIEST LETTER RECORDED FROM BRITISH NOVA SCOTIA IN PRIVATE HANDS--ADDRESSED TO THE FAMOUS BOSTON MERCHANT, THOMAS HANCOCK.
The earliest letter (ex Young and Steinhart) is dated Apr. 30, 1748. The dateline of “Feb. 12th, 1750-1” is a double dating of the Julian calendar, which translates to Feb. 23, 1751. The recipient, Thomas Hancock (1703-1764), was one of Boston’s wealthiest merchants and the uncle of the revered John Hancock, a Founding Father of the United States. Thomas raised his nephew since the age of eight and bequeathed his entire fortune to him.
Ex Steinhart, Rathbun and “Skywalk”
(Manudia [Minudie] to Hartford Conn., May 29, 1839). Folded letter datelined Manudia (known as Minudie) May 29, 1839 and addressed to Hartford Conn., wonderfully well-struck “Cumberland N.S.” circle with star handstamp (MacDonald 58) and “PAID” in circle (Jephcott 328, MacDonald 263), rated “1N8” (crossed out) and re-rated “25”, red Robbinston Me. cross-border transit datestamp, Very Fine and attractive cover, ex Mayer and Dr. Clark