Sale 1261 — The Magnolia Collection of U.S. Mail in China and Japan: Part 3

Sale Date — Wednesday, 29 June, 2022

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*A buyer’s premium of 18% of the winning bid was added as part of the total purchase price on all lots in this sale. Buyers were responsible for applicable sales tax, customs duty and any other prescribed charges. By placing a bid, bidders agreed to the terms and conditions in effect at the time of the sale.

Category — 1851-56 Issue

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
505
c
Sale 1261, Lot 505, 1851-56 Issue5c Red Brown (12). Full to large margins, rich color, tied by "Washington City D.C. (Aug. 7?)" (1858) circular datestamp on cover to 1st Asst. Engr. Richard C. Potts, U.S.S. Powhatan, in care of U.S. Naval Storekeeper, Hong Kong, China, "Boston Br. Pkt. Aug. 11" circular datestamp on back--carried on the Cunarder Europa, which departed Boston August 11, 1858, but collided with Arabia on August 14, mails transferred to Persia and carried to Liverpool, arriving August 28--red "London BO AU 30 58" datestamp on back, manuscript "1/8" 1sh8p debit marking for rate via Marseilles crossed out and re-rated "1/2" for rate via Southampton, "Hong-Kong 25 OC 1858" receiving backstamp, "Recd. at Woosong Nov. 2nd 1858" receipt docketing with "Augt 6th 1858" content date

VERY FINE. ONE OF TEN RECORDED 5-CENT 1856 ISSUE COVERS TO CHINA--MARKED "1/8" FOR THE EXPEDITED ROUTE VIA MARSEILLES BUT RE-RATED FOR THE SLOWER AND LESS COSTLY ROUTE VIA SOUTHAMPTON.

In August 1855, the U.S.S. Powhatan assisted the H.M.S. Rattler in a successful attack against Chinese pirates off Kowloon. The U.S.-Japan Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed on the Powhatan on July 29, 1858, about three months before this cover reached Engineer Potts.

The stamp on this cover prepaid the 5c inland U.S. rate. The "1/8" 1sh8p debit was changed to "1/2" 1sh2p (28c), which was collected from the addressee, for a total of 33c for the rate by British Mail via Southampton. Our census of 5c 1856 covers contains 10 covers to China (eight to Hong Kong, one to Shanghai and one to Foochow via Hong Kong). Of these 10 covers, 8 were sent by British Mail via Southampton, one by British Mail via Marseilles, and one actually carried by Prussian Closed Mail (one of the covers has a 38c franking for the PCM rate, but was carried by British Mail via Southampton).

Ex Mayer. With 1997 P.F. certificate.

Sale 1261, Lot 505, 1851-56 Issue
Image 2
E. 4,000-5,000
13,000
506
c
Sale 1261, Lot 506, 1851-56 Issue5c Red Brown (12). Margins touching on two sides, others cutting slightly into design, rich color, tied by "Trenton N.J. Oct. 21, 1856" circular datestamp on cover to Lieutenant Earl English, Hong Kong, China, addressed to the "U.S. Sloop of War Levant, Care of the American Consul", sender's directive "Via English Mail Steamer", red "New-York Br. Pkt. Oct. 21" circular datestamp, pencil "21" crossed out and re-rated "5"--carried on the Cunarder Niagara, departing New York October 22, 1856, arriving Liverpool November 2--manuscript "1/2" debit for rate via Southampton, red London (November 3) and "Hong-Kong 21 DE 1856" receiving backstamps, with 4-page letter enclosure datelined October 12, 1856, from Lieut. English's wife Elizabeth, ink marks on back

FINE. ONE OF TEN RECORDED 5-CENT 1856 ISSUE COVERS TO CHINA--FROM THE LIEUTENANT EARL ENGLISH CORRESPONDENCE.

Under the command of U.S. Navy officer William N. Smith and with Lieut. Earl English aboard, the U.S.S. Levant sailed on November 13, 1855, for Rio de Janeiro, the Cape of Good Hope, and Hong Kong, where she arrived to join the East India Squadron on May 12, 1856. On July 1 the U.S. Commissioner to China boarded the Levant for transport to Shanghai, arriving on August 1. At the outbreak of hostilities between the British and Chinese, the Levant arrived in Whampoa on October 28. The Levant took part in protecting American interests, and in November 1856 saw action during the American amphibious assault on Chinese fortifications on the Pearl River. The Levant received the major part of the Chinese bombardment, with 22 shot holes in her hull and rigging, one man dead, and six injured. The Levant cruised between Hong Kong and Shanghai until she departed Hong Kong on December 7, 1857, arriving at the Boston Navy Yard on April 6, 1858 (source: Wikipedia).

The stamp on this cover prepaid the 5c inland U.S. rate. The "1/2" 1sh2p British postage was collected from the addressee, for a total of 33c for the rate by British Mail via Southampton. Our census of 5c 1856 covers contains 10 covers to China (eight to Hong Kong, one to Shanghai and one to Foochow via Hong Kong). Of these 10 covers, 8 were sent by British Mail via Southampton, one by British Mail via Marseilles, and one actually carried by Prussian Closed Mail (one of the covers has a 38c franking for the PCM rate, but was carried by British Mail via Southampton).

E. 2,000-3,000
5,250
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507
c
Sale 1261, Lot 507, 1851-56 Issue5c Red Brown (12). Horizontal strip of four, margins touching to in at top right (scissors-cut above lefthand stamp), rich color, used with 1c Blue Type IV (9), huge bottom margin showing part of adjoining stamp, large at sides to clear at top, tied by three strikes of red "Trenton N.J. Sep. 5, 1856" circular datestamp on small cover to Lieutenant Earl English, Hong Kong, China, addressed to the "U.S. Sloop of War Levant, Care of American Consul", sender's directive "Via English Mail Steamer", red "New-York Br. Pkt. Sep. 9" circular datestamp, manuscript "1/2" 1sh2p crossed out and re-rated "2/" 2sh debit, red London (September 22) and "Hong-Kong 1 DE 1 1856" receiving backstamps, small piece of backflap missing

VERY FINE. A SPECTACULAR COVER TO HONG KONG WITH A STRIP OF FOUR OF 1856 5-CENT AND 1851 ONE-CENT IMPERFORATE ISSUES PAYING THE 21-CENT RATE VIA AMERICAN PACKET, BUT CARRIED FROM THE UNITED STATES TO ENGLAND BY BRITISH PACKET. ONE OF THREE SIMILAR COVERS ADDRESSED TO LIEUTENANT EARL ENGLISH IN HONG KONG, THESE BEING AMONG THE MOST OUTSTANDING OF ALL 5-CENT 1856 COVERS.

The 21c postage was intended to pay the American Packet rate to Hong Kong by British Mail via Southampton, but this cover was actually carried on the Cunarder Niagara, departing Boston September 10, 1856, and arriving Liverpool September 21. At the British post office, the "1/2" 1sh2p rate was crossed out and re-rated "2/" two-shillings due. Interestingly, another 21c rate cover from the Lieut. English correspondence (Magnolia Part 1, Sale 1248, lot 2007) was mailed on August 22, 1856, and carried by an American Packet, arriving at Southampton on September 4. It was delayed in transit at Galle, allowing the cover offered here, postmarked in England on September 22, to catch up with it and travel together on the Peninsular & Oriental Norna, departing Galle November 9 and arriving at Hong Kong on December 1, 1856--both covers have the same December 1 arrival datestamp.

The "1/2" 1sh2p (28c) was changed to "2/" 2sh (48c) for a higher weight class. Our census of 5c 1856 covers contains 10 covers to China (eight to Hong Kong, one to Shanghai and one to Foochow via Hong Kong). Of these 10 covers, 8 were sent by British Mail via Southampton, one by British Mail via Marseilles, and one actually carried by Prussian Closed Mail (one of the covers has a 38c franking for the PCM rate, but was carried by British Mail via Southampton).

Under the command of U.S. Navy officer William N. Smith and with Lieut. Earl English aboard, the U.S.S. Levant sailed on November 13, 1855, for Rio de Janeiro, the Cape of Good Hope, and Hong Kong, where she arrived to join the East India Squadron on May 12, 1856. On July 1 the U.S. Commissioner to China boarded the Levant for transport to Shanghai, arriving on August 1. At the outbreak of hostilities between the British and Chinese, the Levant arrived in Whampoa on October 28. The Levant took part in protecting American interests, and in November 1856 saw action during the American amphibious assault on Chinese fortifications on the Pearl River. The Levant received the major part of the Chinese bombardment, with 22 shot holes in her hull and rigging, one man dead, and six injured. The Levant cruised between Hong Kong and Shanghai until she departed Hong Kong on December 7, 1857, arriving at the Boston Navy Yard on April 6, 1858 (source: Wikipedia).

Illustraed in Mayer-Frajola 5c 1856 book (p. 126).

Ex Louis Grunin and Frederick R. Mayer.

E. 15,000-20,000
40,000
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508
c
Sale 1261, Lot 508, 1851-56 Issue10c Green, Type III (15). Horizontal pair, large to huge margins, used with 1c Blue, Type IV (9), large margins except touched at bottom, few faint gum toned spots, tied by "Trenton N.J. Mar. 4" (1856) circular datestamps on cover to Lieutenant Earl English, Hong Kong, China, addressed to the "U.S. Sloop Levant, Care of the American Consul", sender's directive "Via Southampton England", red "New-York Am. Pkt. Mar. 8" circular datestamp--carried on the New York & Havre Line Arago, departing New York Mar. 8, 1856, and arriving Southampton Mar. 22--manuscript "6" pence debit, red London (Mar. 22) and "Hong-Kong 23 MY 1856" receiving backstamps, bold red "Forwarded by Desilver & Co. Hong Kong" oval backstamp, with original multi-page letter from Lieut. English's wife Elizabeth, Very Fine, scarce use of 1851-55 Issue on an American Packet cover to Hong Kong with a rare forwarder's marking, ex Bilden

E. 3,000-4,000
3,750
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509
c
Sale 1261, Lot 509, 1851-56 Issue10c Green, Type III (15). Horizontal pair, large margins to deeply cut in at left, rich color, used with 1c Blue, Type IV (9), large margins to touched, tied by red "Trenton N.J. Nov. 14, 1856" circular datestamps on cover to Lieutenant Earl English, Hong Kong, China, addressed to the "U.S. Sloop of War Levant, Care of the American Consul", sender's directive "Via English Mail Steamer" crossed out and changed to "American" in another hand, red "New-York Am. Pkt. Nov. 15" circular datestamp ties 1c--carried on the Havre Line Fulton, departing New York Nov. 17, 1856, and arriving Southampton Nov. 30--red London backstamp (Dec. 1), manuscript "1" one-shilling debit, "Hong-Kong 1 FE 1 1857" receiving backstamp, with original enclosure from Lieut. English's wife, Fine, scarce and unusual with change in packet directive

E. 1,500-2,000
1,800
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510
c
Sale 1261, Lot 510, 1851-56 Issue3c Red on White, Nesbitt entire (U9). With original letter datelined Memphis, Tennessee, Jan. 3, 1857, carried outside the mails to New York City, addressed to Lieutenant Earl English, Hong Kong, China, on "U.S. Sloop of War Levant, Care of the American Consul", sender's directive "By U.S. M. Str. 'Ericsson'" and "Via Liverpool", red "New-York Am. Pkt. Jan. 17" circular datestamp, pencil "21" for American Packet rate--carried on the Collins Line Ericsson, departing New York Jan. 17, 1857, and arriving Liverpool Feb. 2--British debit notations indicate some confusion with "6" written and crossed out twice before final "6" pence debit for service via Southampton, red London (Feb. 2) and Hong Kong (date unreadable) backstamps, minor staining, still Fine, scarce use of 3c Nesbitt entire

E. 1,000-1,500
1,100
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511
c
Sale 1261, Lot 511, 1851-56 Issue10c Green, Type II (14). Three singles in two shades, large margins to slightly in, used with 3c Dull Red, Type I (11), large margins to in, tied by grid cancels, red "Springfield Mass. Mar. 17" (1857) circular datestamp, matching "PAID" handstamp and manuscript "33" rate on cover to Shanghai, China, from the Rev. Henry Blodget correspondence, sender's directive "Overland Mail via Southampton England", red "New-York Br. Pkt. Mar. 18" backstamp, magenta manuscript "28" credit--carried on the Cunarder Persia, departing New York March 18, 1857, and arriving Liverpool March 29 due to heavy fog, but mails unloaded via steam tug on March 28--red London circular datestamp (March 30), "Hong-Kong 22MY 1857" transit datestamp on back, Very Fine, ex Richardson

E. 1,000-1,500
950
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