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 — U.S. Consulate Mail (prior to October 14, 1867)

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
554
c
Sale 1261, Lot 554, U.S. Consulate Mail (prior to October 14, 1867)American Consulate China. Handstamped E. Pluribus Unum eagle and shield official seal of the United States in circle struck on top flap of part of folded letter from missionary Daniel J. Macgowan in Ningpo to Reverend W. A. Hallock in New York, docketing indicates origin date of June 29, 1844, manuscript "6" for domestic postage, receipt docketing indicates sender was asking for a $50.00 grant which was approved and sent by "schooner Midas set to sail Oct. 1"

EXTREMELY FINE. THIS 1844 COVER FROM A MISSIONARY IN NINGPO, CHINA, WITH THE "AMERICAN CONSULATE CHINA" ILLUSTRATED SEAL IS A REMARKABLE EARLY CONSULATE USAGE.

The Treaty of Wangshia was signed in Macau on July 3, 1844, just after this was sent. The treaty opened five ports to American trade and allowed for the establishment of consuls, as the British had demanded in 1842 with the Treaty of Nanking after the first Opium War. The marking here, with no specification for a particular consulate, predates the consular markings which were to follow.

The sender, Dr. Daniel J. Macgowan, was a medical baptist missionary and later served as vice consul at Ningpo. He first arrived in Hong Kong in February 1843 and moved to Ningpo where he opened a hospital. He left Ningpo later in 1843 and returned about one year later.

With 2018 P.F. certrificate.

E. 7,500-10,000
7,500
555
c
Sale 1261, Lot 555, U.S. Consulate Mail (prior to October 14, 1867)Legation of the/United States. China. Clear strike of red two-line script handstamp on small cover addressed in the hand of U.S. Minister to China, William Bradford Reed, to Thomas Biddle, U.S. Vice Consul in Singapore, marked "Private" at lower left, "Hong Kong 27 SE 1858" circular datestamp on back, endorsed "1ch prepaid" at top left, manuscript "4" pence in red crayon for British postage, pencil "Sep. 1 '58" receipt docketing, intact "WBR" red wax seal with detailed bird on flap

EXTREMELY FINE. THE EARLIEST OF THREE RECORDED PRIVATELY HELD EXAMPLES OF THE "LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES. CHINA" MARKING--THE FIRST KNOWN UNITED STATES MAIL HANDSTAMP USED IN CHINA--ON A COVER SENT BY U.S. MINISTER REED THREE MONTHS AFTER HE NEGOTIATED AND SIGNED THE U.S.-CHINA TREATY OF TIENTSIN IN 1858. AN IMPORTANT HISTORICAL ARTIFACT OF EARLY UNITED STATES POSTAL RELATIONS WITH CHINA.

William Bradford Reed was appointed Minister to China from 1857 to 1858 by President James Buchanan after Reed secured Whig Party support for Buchanan, a Democrat, during the election of 1856. Reed arrived in China in 1857 to negotiate a renewed treaty following the Second Opium War (1856-58), from which Great Britain and France had emerged victorious. Using the Most Favored Nation provisions of the 1844 Treaty of Amity, Peace and Commerce, Reed successfully argued for the same rights imposed on the Chinese by the British. The Treaty of Tientsin, signed on June 18, 1858, granted American government representatives the right to reside in Peking, reduced tariffs on American goods, and guaranteed free religious expression in China, which opened the door for Christian missionaries.

Two other examples of this script handstamp are recorded. One has a Hong Kong marking of October 26, 1858, from Reed to Joseph Reed Ingersoll in Philadelphia (Magnolia Part 1, Sale 1248, lot 2040). The other has a Hong Kong November 29, 1858, backstamp and "Paid at Hong-Kong" crowned circle handstamp, and is addressed to Thomas Biddle in Singapore (Christie's New York April 20, 1983, lot 1167). The example offered here and the one to Philadelphia are illustrated in the Frajola-Perlman-Scamp book (p. 13).

Ex Canman and Bilden.

E. 7,500-10,000
10,000
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556
c
Sale 1261, Lot 556, U.S. Consulate Mail (prior to October 14, 1867)STEAM CHINA. Clearly struck straightline handstamp applied in black on arrival in San Francisco on bluish gray cover to William T. Emery, Fisherville, New Hampshire, with sailor's endorsement "From U.S.S. Wachusett"--carried on the second eastbound (return) trip of the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. Colorado, departing Yokohama May 26, 1867, arriving San Francisco June 13--entered U.S. mails with bold "San Francisco Cal. 10 Jun. 14" 10c integral due rate datestamp, with original letter enclosure datelined "Shanghai, China, May 17th 1867" from a sailor in the U.S. Navy to his parents and sister (see excerpt below for important contents), few minor age spots

EXTREMELY FINE. THIS WAS CARRIED ON THE FIRST TRIP OF THE COLORADO ACTING AS A BRANCH LINE STEAMER AND ON THE SECOND EASTBOUND TRIP OF THE PACIFIC MAIL STEAMSHIP COMPANY.

Prior to the official establishment of the U.S. Postal Agency in Shanghai, effective October 14, 1867, the U.S. Consul, George Frederick Seward (nephew of the Secretary of State), was responsible for handling mail to and from American residents in China. When the Pacific Mail Steamship Company inaugurated contract mail service between China, Japan and the United States, Seward arranged to put mail onto a steamer that connected with the PMSS Colorado at Yokohama for its first eastbound (return) trip on February 28, 1867. Letters from Shanghai were likely placed on board the Peninsular & Oriental Nepaul. For this second eastbound trip of the Colorado, the branch steamer Costa Rica was not ready for service, so the Colorado stopped outside the Yangtze estuary on May 19 to pick up mail from Shanghai, then proceeded to Yokohama, departing May 26 and arriving San Francisco June 13. This is the only piece of mail known to have been carried from Shanghai on this trip of the Colorado. The Frajola-Perlman-Scamp book (p. 87) notes that no covers carried on this trip from Shanghai have yet been found; they were evidently unaware of the example offered here.

The enclosure is four pages initialed "A E", The letter contains a rather detailed report on the new postal line: "I can now send this by the new line of American steamers I do not expect it will be more than 50 days. This line is not regular yet, there is only one Str. running from here to Cal. & hitching at Yokohama & the Colorado comes from California in 23 days.

Ex Canman and Bilden.

E. 7,500-10,000
14,500
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