VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A FASCINATING COVER SENT VIA THE OLD SPANISH TRAIL ON THE CHORPENNING ROUTE FROM UTAH TO CALIFORNIA AND THEN TO THE EAST COAST BY STEAMER. THIS ROUTE CAUSED THE SALT LAKE CITY POSTMASTER TO CHARGE A 9-CENT "PHANTOM" RATE.
This cover was carried from Salt Lake City to California via the Chorpenning route, probably over the Old Spanish Trail to San Pedro and San Diego, including carriage over the Sierra Nevadas by "Snowshoe Thompson", then by steamer to San Francisco. From San Francisco it was carried by the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. Golden Age to Panama. After crossing the Isthmus it was carried by the U.S. Mail Steamship Co. Illinois, arriving at New York on March 12.
There was no official 9c rate that could have applied to this cover. It can be logically speculated that the "Via California" notation caused the Mormon postmaster at Salt Lake City to charge what he thought appropriate for mail going east via California. He may have reasoned that since the letter could have gone overland east for only 3 cents, if the sender wanted it to go via California he should pay the 3c inland rate for under 3,000 miles to California plus the 6c rate for over 3,000 miles from California via Panama, for a total rate of 9c. Very few covers are known with this "Phantom" rate.
Illustrated and discussed in Chronicle 215 (p. 203). Ex Walske and Risvold
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE DEPARTMENT OF UTAH TERRITORIAL IMPRINT COVER FROM FORT BRIDGER TO NEW YORK, SENT BY FUTURE UNION GENERAL FITZ JOHN PORTER WHILE ON THE EXPEDITION AGAINST MORMON SETTLERS IN 1857-58.
Major Fitz John Porter, future Civil War general and infamous from the Second Battle of Bull Run, served under future Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston in the expedition against the Mormons in 1857 and 1858. When the expedition arrived at the site of the destroyed Fort Bridger, they camped nearby in winter quarters and reopened a post office named for the Fort. The cover offered here was posted from there by Major Porter to his wife in New York. Mrs. Porter numbered her letters chronologically in order of receipt--number "18" in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope in this case. Since this was not "Official Business" as required by the printing on the envelope, Major Porter applied a stamp for the postage.
With 2001 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE AND RARE 1851 ISSUE COVER WITH DESIGN OF MINERS HIDING FROM A GRIZZLY BEAR. ONE OF THE MOST DESIRABLE OF THE HUTCHINGS GOLD MINING DESIGNS.
Ken Kutz recorded only seven examples of this fascinating and amusing design in Gold Fever. Of those, only four have 1851 Issue stamps (three are stampless).
Ex Haas and Risvold.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF SEVEN COVERS KNOWN RECOVERED FROM THE WRECK OF THE PACIFIC MAIL STEAMSHIP COMPANY STEAMER WINFIELD SCOTT.
The Winfield Scott was a 1,291-ton steamer built in New York City in 1851, which was put into service along the Pacific Coast route in 1852. Her first trip as a Pacific Mail Steamship Co. contract vessel was on August 16, 1853. On December 1, 1853, she left San Francisco for Panama, but was stranded off Anacapa Island in the Santa Barbara Channel and lost. The mails, passengers and cargo were saved, and the recovered mail was transferred to the PMSS California, which left San Francisco on December 7 and arrived in Panama on December 24. The USMSC Illinois carried the mail from Aspinwall to New York (depart December 26, arrive January 5, 1854).
Our Levi records contain nine examples of the two-line handstamp, including seven recovered from the December 1 wreck. This example with 1851 Issue stamps is particularly desirable as several of the other recorded covers are stampless.
VERY FINE. ONE OF SEVEN RECORDED EXAMPLES OF ADAMS & COMPANY'S PRINTED FRANK, OF WHICH ONLY TWO HAVE ADHESIVE STAMPS. THIS IS THE FIRST PRINTED FRANK USED BY ANY OF THE WESTERN EXPRESS COMPANIES. A COVER OF GREAT HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE AND ESPECIALLY DESIRABLE WITH THE 3-CENT 1851 ISSUE.
Adams & Company set up its California and Oregon business in December 1849 under the direction of William B. Dinsmore of New York and Daniel H. Haskell of Boston, with Alvin Adams as a third partner. Dinsmore left shortly thereafter. In 1852 I. C. Woods joined the firm and two years later became a partner. Its business in the shipment of gold, merchandise, parcels and letters flourished, and its related banking operations established Adams & Co. as a major force in the economic development of the West. All of this figuratively turned to dust in February 1855 with the failure of Page, Bacon & Company, a prominent banking firm. Two days later Adams Express collapsed as depositors rushed to withdraw their gold from a concern that was already weakened by competition (source: Wiltsee, The Pioneer Mule and The Pack Mule Express).
The significance of Adams & Company's printed franks is two-fold: first, they were produced in 1853, making them the earliest franks actually printed on envelopes or stamped entires; and, second, their function "was to facilitate the deposit of mail in letter boxes after the normal business hours of the express. Much like a printed adhesive stamp, these could be used to prepare letters for mailing so that they could be deposited in a box and without having to wait in line if the express office was still open." (Frajola).
With the Dale-Lichtenstein dispersal, the number of recorded examples of the Adams & Co. frank rose to seven, including three slightly different formats on plain envelopes, both stamped and stampless, and the 3c Nesbitt entire. Only two covers have adhesive stamps; both are addressed to Sarah L. Davidson in Uniontown, Alabama, and each has a pair of the 3c 1851.
Ex Dale-Lichtenstein, Walske and "New Helvetia". With 2008 P.F. certificate