VERY FINE. AN EXCEPTIONAL HAND-WATERCOLORED CARTOON DESIGN ON AN 1851 ISSUE COVER.
Ex Gabriel. With 1991 P.S.E. certificate
FINE. A HISTORIC COVER WITH THE EARLIEST AMERICAN PRINTED BALLOON CACHET, MAILED FROM AKRON, OHIO, BY FAMED AERONAUT JOHN WISE JUST FOUR DAYS BEFORE HIS WELL-DOCUMENTED FLIGHT FROM RAVENNA, OHIO.
John Wise, a resident of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is well-known to historians as the aeronaut who flew the first official U.S. "airmail" in his balloon Jupiter from Lafayette, Indiana, in 1859. Wise was also involved in the Union army's balloon reconnaissance operations in the Civil War.
In the summer of 1852, Wise flew his balloon Ulysses in a series of flights in Ohio. Starting on June 3 from Portsmouth, located on the north side of the Ohio River, Wise in the Ulysses drifted over the border into Kentucky and attracted the unwanted attention of a hunter, who fired a rifle ball into the car (basket). Wise continued his ascensions, recording flights in Chillicothe (June 10), Circleville Pa., Newark (July 4), Mansfield (July 17), Wooster (July 24) and Massillon (July 31). On August 14, 1852, Wise made his 141st lifetime ascent, from Ravenna, Ohio, which he documented two days later in an account published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (August 20, 1852). According to Wise, he rose to an altitude of 10,000 feet, where he could see the shore of Lake Erie and the city of Cleveland.
In conjunction with his ballooning exploits in Ohio, Wise had envelopes printed with a balloon illustration, probably by P. S. Duval, a Philadelphia lithographer who provided the illustrations for Wise's 1850 book. Only one example of the envelope is recorded. The cover was addressed by Wise to Charles R. Frailey, who was then a clerk in the mayor's office at Lancaster and later served as the town's first chief of police. The stamp is tied by a blue Akron, Ohio, circular datestamp dated August 10 (1852). Akron is 21 miles from Ravenna.
This cover is the earliest recorded illustrated American balloon cover by years. Most of the illustrated balloon covers were used by Wise and other aeronauts in 1859 and later years.
Ex Alexander. With 2019 P.F. certificate