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Sale 1216 — The Ambassador J. William Middendorf II Collection

Sale Date — Tuesday, 25 February, 2020

Category — Official Navy Department Issues

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
201
TC
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 201, Official Navy Department Issues1c-90c Navy, Atlanta Trial Color Plate Proofs (O35TC4-O45TC4), 1c-90c Navy, Atlanta Trial Color Plate Proofs (O35TC4-O45TC4)1c-90c Navy, Atlanta Trial Color Plate Proofs (O35TC4-O45TC4). Complete set of 55 proofs for all of the five issued colors, ample to large margins throughout, lovely bright colors, Very Fine-Extremely Fine, a beautiful set

2,692
1,800
202
TC
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 202, Official Navy Department Issues1c-90c Navy, “Goodall” Small Die Trial Color Proofs on India (O35TC2-O45TC2), 1c-90c Navy, “Goodall” Small Die Trial Color Proofs on India (O35TC2-O45TC2)1c-90c Navy, “Goodall” Small Die Trial Color Proofs on India (O35TC2-O45TC2). 50 proofs, including complete sets in the five listed colors less the 10c denominations and a single 1c in Dull Gray Blue, also includes an extra 2c Black in a larger size (unlisted), vivid colors

VERY FINE GROUP OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT SMALL DIE TRIAL COLOR PROOFS.

In 1879, President Albert G. Goodall of the American Bank Note Company, successor to the Continental Bank Note Company, ordered sets of small die proofs for display purposes.

15,000
5,000
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203
ogbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 203, Official Navy Department Issues1c Navy (O35), 1c Navy (O35)1c Navy (O35). Block of four, original gum, h.r.’s, each stamp with choice centering, one with natural inclusion, Extremely Fine, ex Markovits and Curtis

750
800
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204
ogbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 204, Official Navy Department Issues3c Navy (O37), 3c Navy (O37)3c Navy (O37). Block of four with right selvage, original gum, lightly hinged, bright color, handsomely centered, Very Fine, with 2011 P.F. certificate

775
900
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205
ogbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 205, Official Navy Department Issues10c Navy (O40), 10c Navy (O40)10c Navy (O40). Block of four, original gum which has some light toned spots, one stamp with some gum loss due to hinge removal, otherwise lightly hinged, stunning centering, bright color, Extremely Fine, ex Markovits and Curtis

1,000
1,300
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206
ogbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 206, Official Navy Department Issues24c Navy (O43), 24c Navy (O43)24c Navy (O43). Horizontal block of six, slightly glazed original gum, incredibly fresh color, well-centered throughout, sensible hinge sliver perf reinforcements

VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE ORIGINAL-GUM BLOCK OF SIX OF THE 24-CENT NAVY ISSUE.

Blocks of this value are very rare and seldom offered. This may be the largest extant.

Ex Curtis. Scott Retail as a block of four and two singles

2,850
2,200
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207
ogbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 207, Official Navy Department Issues30c Navy (O44), 30c Navy (O44)30c Navy (O44). Block of four, original gum, deep rich shade on bright paper, Fine-Very Fine, ex Curtis, with 2001 P.S.E. certificate

1,600
700
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208
ogbl
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 208, Official Navy Department Issues90c Navy (O45), 90c Navy (O45)90c Navy (O45). Block of four, original gum, slight gum loss from hinge removal, well-centered for a multiple of this high value, bright color, light crease along bottom pair, small hinge reinforcement and couple perf separations, Fine-Very Fine, blocks of the 90c Navy Department are rarely encountered, ex Curtis

6,250
1,500
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209
c
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 209, Official Navy Department IssuesNavy Department, Secretary of the Navy Free Franks, 1800-1860s, Navy Department, Secretary of the Navy Free Franks, 1800-1860sNavy Department, Secretary of the Navy Free Franks, 1800-1860s. Group of 23 covers, wonderful range including 1800 Benjamin Stoddert (cover front only), 1801 Robert Smith, 1810 Paul Hamilton with ALS, also second Hamilton franked cover, 1813 William J. Jones with ALS, 1817 Benjamin W. Crowninshield with ALS, 1820 Smith Thompson, 1822 John C. Calhoun as Secretary of War (on a cover from the Navy Dept.), 1825 and circa 1829 Samuel Southard, 1830 John Branch, circa 1832 Levi Woodbury, 1829 Mahlon Dickerson, 1839 James K. Paulding, 1843 Abel P. Upshur, 1844 David Henshaw, 1844 John Y. Mason, circa 1851 William A. Graham, 1850s James C. Dobbin and 1860s Gideon Welles, also includes additional 1799 William Winder free frank as Navy purchaser, some typical cover faults and folds to be found, overall Fine-Very Fine, a fascinating look into the early leadership of the U.S. Navy, ex Graham

E. 3,000-4,000
3,000
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210
c
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 210, Official Navy Department Issues2c Navy (O36), 2c Navy (O36)2c Navy (O36). Well-centered with wide top margin showing trace of plate number, tied by red quartered cork cancel and “Washington D.C. Local Mar. 15” circular datestamp on Paymaster’s Office corner card cover to Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes in Washington, red “Carrier 15 Mar. 7PM” backstamp, opening tears on back and small repair at top right not affecting stamp, otherwise Very Fine, only a few 2c Navy covers cancelled in red are known (there are four listed in the 2002 Campbell census in Chronicle 193), ex Ackerman, Starnes and Curtis

E. 750-1,000
1,400
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211
c
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 211, Official Navy Department Issues1c and 10c Navy (O35, O40), 1c and 10c Navy (O35, O40)1c and 10c Navy (O35, O40). Horizontal pair of 10c, tied by cork cancels, light strike of “Washington D.C. Mar. ? PM” circular datestamp on legal-size cover with “Navy Department, Official Business” imprint, addressed to “Commodore C. H. B. Caldwell, U.S. Navy, Commanding U.S. Naval Force on South Atlantic Station, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil”, red “New York Mar. 17” and London transit datestamps, red crayon “80” (centimes) credit, “Rio de Janeiro 27 Abr. 77” receiving datestamp on back, stamps and cover with flaws, staining which affects the cover but is mostly clear of the stamps, Fine appearance and extremely rare 10c Navy Dept. cover to Brazil, with the group of Caldwell covers that emerged through Siegel Auctions in 2013, there are now four known complete franking 10c Navy covers, all to foreign destinations

E. 1,000-1,500
1,200
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212
c
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 212, Official Navy Department Issues1c and 10c Navy (O35, O40), 1c and 10c Navy (O35, O40)1c and 10c Navy (O35, O40). Two of 10c, one with right sheet margin, 1c also with right sheet margin, tied by cork cancels, “Washington D.C. Jan. 23 8PM” (1877) circular datestamp on legal-size cover with “Navy Department, Official Business” imprint, addressed to “Commodore C. H. B. Caldwell, U.S. Navy, Commanding U.S. Naval Force on South Atlantic Station, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil”, red “New York Jan. 24” and “London Paid 5 Feb 77” transit datestamps, red crayon “80” (centimes) credit, “Rio de Janeiro 2 Mar. 77” receiving datestamp on back, some slight perf toning or tiny flaws, tiny selvage tear in 10c, cover with small edge tear at bottom

VERY FINE. THIS RARE 10-CENT NAVY “COMMODORE CALDWELL” COVER IS OFFERED TO THE MARKET FOR ONLY THE SECOND TIME. PRIOR TO THE EMERGENCE OF THE CALDWELL COVERS OFFERED IN OUR 2013 RARITIES SALE, THERE WAS ONLY ONE 10-CENT NAVY COVER KNOWN.

In 2013, a descendent of Commodore Caldwell was performing genealogical internet research on his ancestor and found the Siegel description for the Starnes collection Caldwell 30c Navy cover. He realized his family possessed several similar covers and consigned the group to Siegel for auction. In addition to this 10c Navy cover, the collection included two other 1c and 10c (2) combination covers (one other offered in this sale as lot 211), as well as the twin to the heretofore unique 30c cover (offered as lot 214). Les Lanphear, in his census of overseas Official covers, records 19 Navy Department covers, not counting the six Caldwell covers that emerged in 2013. Prior to this find the only 10c Navy cover known was the famous U.S. Naval Observatory cover to Paris. The total now stands at four complete franking covers plus one with the missing 1c stamp.

The 21c postage pays the single rate to Brazil via Great Britain. At this time Brazil was not a member of the U.P.U. Therefore, the U.S. retained 5c of the 21c postage and credited G.B. with 16c for carrying the letter to Brazil. The credit is expressed in centimes, as required by the U.P.U. regulations.

E. 5,000-7,500
4,750
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213
c
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 213, Official Navy Department Issues6c and 10c Navy (O38, O40), 6c and 10c Navy (O38, O40)6c and 10c Navy (O38, O40). Two covers with Navy Department official imprints, each addressed to “Commodore C. H. B. Caldwell, U.S. Navy, Commanding U.S. Naval Force on South Atlantic Station, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil” and paying the 21c British mail rate, first franked with 6c stamp and missing a 15c, second franked with pair 10c and missing a 1c, Jan. and Mar. 1877 Washington D.C. circular datestamps, red New York and London transits, Rio de Janeiro receiving datestamps on back and second also with “2. a” rectangular backstamp, stamps and covers with flaws, Fine appearance and despite the missing stamps extremely rare Navy Dept. covers to Brazil

E. 750-1,000
1,400
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214
c
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 214, Official Navy Department Issues12c and 30c Navy (O41, O44), 12c and 30c Navy (O41, O44)12c and 30c Navy (O41, O44). Tied by cork cancels, 12c also tied by “Washington D.C. Apr. 6 4PM” (1877) circular datestamp on legal-size cover with “Navy Department, Official Business” imprint, addressed to “Commodore C. H. B. Caldwell, Commanding South Atlantic Station, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil”, red “New York Apr. 7” and “London Paid 17 AP 77” transit datestamps, red crayon “160/2” (160 centimes) credit, partly clear Rio de Janeiro receiving datestamp on back, some perf toning mostly confined to 12c stamp, damp staining on back, minor edge nick at top right

AN IMPORTANT RECENT FIND IN UNITED STATES OFFICIAL ISSUES AND OFFERED TO THE MARKET FOR ONLY THE SECOND TIME SINCE ITS EMERGENCE IN 2013. THIS “COMMODORE CALDWELL” COVER IS ONE OF ONLY TWO RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE 30-CENT NAVY DEPARTMENT STAMP ON COVER AND ONE OF THREE 12-CENT NAVY COVERS. ITS TWIN COVER FROM THE STARNES COLLECTION HAS LONG BEEN WIDELY REGARDED AS ONE OF THE “TOP TEN” OFFICIAL COVERS EXTANT. THIS COVER TAKES ITS PLACE ALONGSIDE THE STARNES COVER AS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT UNITED STATES OFFICIAL COVERS.

When Siegel Auction Galleries sold the Starnes collection in 2007, the Caldwell 30c Navy Department cover was believed to be the only on-cover use of this stamp extant. The Starnes cover is an almost exact match to the cover offered here (lot 214), but it was mailed in January 1877. A descendent of Commodore Caldwell was performing genealogical internet research on his ancestor and found the Siegel description for the Starnes 30c cover. He realized his family possessed several similar covers and consigned the group to Siegel for auction. Les Lanphear, in his updated census of overseas Official covers, records 19 Navy Department covers, not counting the six Caldwell covers which emerged in 2013.

Commodore Charles H. B. Caldwell (1823-1877) was the commander of the U.S. Navy’s South Atlantic Station, commanding the flagship U.S.S. Richmond from 1876-1877. As an officer during the Civil War, commanding the U.S.S. Itasca in the Gulf Blockading Squadron, Caldwell captured the Confederate schooner Lizzie Weston off Florida in January 1862 en route to Jamaica with a cargo of cotton. An obituary describes his heroics in the subsequent campaign to capture New Orleans in April 1862: “He personally commanded and directed the hazardous operation of cutting the chains across the Mississippi, between the forts, under heavy fire, which opened the way for Farragut in his memorable passage of the batteries.” This action was memorialized in a drawing by M. J. Burns of Lt. Caldwell cutting the chains, which appeared in Scribner’s Popular History of the United States in 1898 (p. 11). In late 1862, Caldwell commanded the USS Essex in the Union Mortar Flotilla which opened the bombardment of the Confederate works at Port Hudson, Louisiana.

These Navy Department Caldwell covers originate from the commander’s son, Henry, who served as secretary aboard the Richmond. Henry kept a staff journal in 1876 and 1877 which recorded weather, location, and other information. The journal abruptly ends in August 1877, close to the time of his father’s death. Henry took the covers off the Richmond and they remained with him until his death in 1906. The covers then passed to Henry’s younger brother, the descendents of whom retained them until our 2013 Rarities sale.

The 42c postage pays the double 21c rate to Brazil via Great Britain. At this time Brazil was not a member of the U.P.U. Therefore, the U.S. retained 5c of the 21c postage and credited G.B. with 16c for carrying the letter to Brazil. The double credit (32c) is expressed in centimes, as required by the U.P.U. regulations.

Accompanied by background information, some unpublished, provided by the family on Commodore Caldwell and his son Henry.

E. 15,000-20,000
12,000
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215
c
Sale Number 1216, Lot Number 215, Official Navy Department Issues24c Navy (O43), 24c Navy (O43)24c Navy (O43). Well-centered with selvage at left, rich color, tiny margin tear between perfs at right, tied by quartered cork cancel, “Washington D.C. Sep. 11 4PM” circular datestamp on legal-size cover with “Navy Department, Official Business” imprint, addressed to “Commo. C. H. B. Caldwell, Commd’g U.S. Naval Force So. Atlantic Station, Montevideo, Uruguay”, red “New York 1.10 Sep. 27” (110 centimes = 22c) credit datestamp, red “London Paid 7 Oct. (76?)” transit datestamp, “20” in circle due handstamp, cover toned along bottom with small sealed tear at bottom left

ONE OF THREE RECORDED COVERS BEARING THE 24-CENT NAVY DEPARTMENT STAMP, INCLUDING TWO TO URUGUAY. THIS COVER FROM THE COMMODORE CALDWELL CORRESPONDENCE IS ONE OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING OFFICIAL COVERS EXTANT.

In an article on Navy Department covers, Alan C. Campbell wrote: “Despite the obvious need for regular communication with station squadrons in foreign waters, little foreign mail from the Navy Department has survived. I record only six covers, of which three were in the Starnes collection stolen in 1983 and may have been lost to philately forever. These were the celebrated pair to Commodore Caldwell (24c to Uruguay, 12c, 30c combination to Brazil) and a 2c, 3c combination on an 1875 cover to Italy.” (“Usages of Navy Department Stamps”, Alan C. Campbell, Chronicle 193, Feb. 2002, pp. 44-58). This cover was also listed as No. 20 in Campbell’s census of high-value Official stamps on cover (Chronicle 188, Nov. 2000, pp. 287-299). Campbell’s article was published before the recovery of the Starnes collection and the emergence of additional covers from the Caldwell correspondence in 2013.

Commodore Charles H. B. Caldwell was the commander of the U.S. Navy’s South Atlantic Station (the flagship was the U.S.S. Richmond). As a lieutenant during the Civil War, commanding the U.S.S. Itasca, Caldwell captured the Confederate schooner Lizzie Weston off Florida en route to Jamaica with a cargo of cotton. The following year, the Union Mortar Flotilla under his command opened the bombardment of the Confederate works at Port Hudson, Louisiana.

At the time of mailing, Uruguay was not a U.P.U. member. There were two rates to Uruguay: 23c by U.S. Packet via Brazil and 27c by British mail (effective 7/1/1875 to 7/1/1880). The April 1877 U.S. Postal Guide only lists the 27c rate with a note that U.S. Packet service was infrequent and unreliable. The 27c rate via G.B. included 5c for the U.S. and a 22c credit to G.B. for carrying the letter to Uruguay (the credit is expressed in centimes, as per the U.P.U. regulations). Although underpaid 3c for the 27c rate, this Navy Department cover was treated as fully prepaid.

Ex Starnes and Curtis. With 2014 P.F. certificate

E. 10,000-15,000
0
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