Sale 1289 — 2023 Rarities of the World
Sale Date — Tuesday, 27 June, 2023
Category — Ship Letters, including Hawaiian Missionary
VERY FINE. A REMARKABLE LETTER WRITTEN FROM BATAVIA BY AN AMERICAN ON BOARD A TRADING VESSEL BOUND FOR JAPAN IN 1801. AN EXTREMELY EARLY POSTAL LINK BETWEEN JAPAN AND THE UNITED STATES.
In his letter written from Batavia on June 19, 1801, crew member Lewis Thatcher informs his uncle that he arrived from Indramayoe with a cargo of coffee for the Dutch East India Company "and we have discharged it and taken in another cargo for the Company to carry to Japan -- Where I expect to be gone about 6 months from this place..." He continues, "Capt. Derby has purchased a small Brig and is going to send her to the Isle of France to purchase a ship to return here to take in a load of Coffee for America."
The Margaret was an American sailing ship with a crew of 20 plus 6 guns. Under Captain Samuel G. Derby, she left Salem on Nov. 19, 1800, arrived at Table Bay, Cape of Good Hope, Feb. 4, 1801, reached Sumatra Apr. 10, and finally Batavia Apr. 25. At Batavia Captain Derby agreed to take the annual shipments to and from Japan as a charter for the Dutch East India Company, an agreement reflected in the letter offered here. The Margaret left for Nagasaki on June 20, 1801, the day after this letter was written (it states "we are to sail by 4 o'clock tomorrow morning."). As the letter predicted, the Margaret returned from Japan and back to the United States loaded with trade goods, some of which are housed in the Salem museum.
The Netherlands was the only European country with which Japan allowed trade. The Dutch East India company made annual voyages to the man-made island of Dejima in Nagasaki harbor. Because of the Napoleonic Wars, Holland brought all of her ships home and negotiated with American ships to fly under the Dutch flag from 1797 to 1809. The Margaret was the second ship to reach Japanese waters and the first from which the captain and crew toured Japan, 52 years before the Perry Expedition.
From the Magnolia collection.
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VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN ATTRACTIVE AND RARE HAWAIIAN MISSIONARY COVER. ONLY NINE COVERS WITH THE 5-CENT MISSIONARY ARE IN PRIVATE HANDS, FIVE OF WHICH HAVE THE STAMP USED ALONE.
Ten 5c Missionary covers are recorded in our census and the Gregory census. Included in this total are the Dawson 2c/5c cover and the 5c cover acquired by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in the Honolulu Advertiser sale, leaving eight 5c covers for collectors. Upon further analysis, however, only five of those have a 5c Missionary used without any other stamps, and of those five, one is a front.
This cover was written at Hilo on January 1, 1853, but it was not postmarked at Honolulu until February 16. It was carried on the American schooner Sierra Nevada, which cleared Honolulu on February 16 and sailed the following day. After stopping at Lahaina, it left for San Francisco on February 24 and arrived on March 15. It was carried by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company’s Golden Gate, departing on March 16 and arriving at Panama City on March 28. The mail was carried across the isthmus to Aspinwall, and from there it left on the U.S. Mail Steamship Company’s Illinois, departing March 31 and arriving in New York on April 9. The recipient, John F. Rogers of Lowell, Massachusetts, paid the 12c United States postage, which included 10c for the unpaid transcontinental rate and 2c for the ship captain’s fee.
Ex Potts, Admiral Harris, Ishikawa, Golden and Gross. Weill backstamp. Siegel census no. 2-II-COV-69. Illustrated in Gregory book (page 299). With 2016 P.F. certificate. Scott value $90,000.00.