Sale 1289 — 2023 Rarities of the World
Sale Date — Tuesday, 27 June, 2023
Category — The Pony Express
VERY FINE. ONE OF TEN RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE RUNNING PONY HANDSTAMP STRUCK IN CARMINE--THIS IS THE EARLIEST OF THE SIX EASTBOUND COVERS AND ONE OF ONLY FOUR WITH 10-CENT ADHESIVE STAMPS. ONE OF THE FINEST PONY EXPRESS COVERS EXTANT.
The St. Joseph Running Pony handstamp was normally struck in black, but the FKW census records ten covers with this marking struck in the distinctive carmine color. They are dated from August 12 to September 13, 1860, and all but two are struck on the backs of the covers. Four have 10c adhesive stamps (Scott 35), all eastbound with the carmine oval struck on the back as a receiving mark.
This cover was sent from San Francisco on August 4, 1860, after the new recalibrated Pony Express rate of $2.50 per quarter-ounce was announced at St. Joseph. Because news of the rate change took approximately two weeks to reach the West Coast, it was not implemented in San Francisco until the August 15 eastbound trip.
The “U.S.A.” designation in the address and “To be forwarded” instructions make it almost certain that this cover originated outside the United States, probably from a travelling member of the prominent Coffin family, several of whom were whaling captains.
FKW census E12. Illustrated in Needham-Berthold article (Collectors Club Philatelist reprint). Ex Dr. Paine, Emerson, Hall, Gruys, Twigg-Smith and Haub.
VERY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE PONY EXPRESS COVER WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO RUNNING PONY OVAL TYING THE 10-CENT STAMP. ONLY FIVE SUCH COVERS ARE RECORDED.
The recipient firm, A. A. Low & Brother, was named for Abiel Abbot Low and his brother, Josiah Orne Low. Founded in 1840, the firm became one of the leading importers of China and Japan silks and teas, and operated its own line of clipper ships. In 1850 Low completed the A. A. Low building at 167-171 John Street, now the offices of the South Street Seaport Museum. The firm was situated at its Burling Slip building from 1850 until after the turn of the century. One of the two April 3, 1860, first trip Pony Express covers comes from the A. A. Low & Brother correspondence. The iconic New York City landmark Low Memorial Library at Columbia University was named for Abiel Abbot Low by his son, Columbia president Seth Low.
The FKW census lists five covers with the 10¢ 1857 stamp tied by the San Francisco Running Pony oval, all eastbound: E15, E16, E38, E46 (the cover offered here) and E49.
FKW census E46. Ex Matthies, Gibson (featured on the front cover of the 1984 Christie's Robson Lowe sale catalogue) and Kramer. With 1984 and 2019 P.F. certificates.
VERY FINE. ONE OF 21 RECORDED TYPE II EAST-TO-WEST PONY EXPRESS ENTIRES AND ONE OF THE LAST TRIPS BEFORE THE END OF THE PONY EXPRESS ERA.
In Rate Period 3, Wells Fargo & Co. introduced a special franked envelope for westbound mail, but its use was extremely limited. On July 1, 1861, the new contract rate went into effect. On August 12, 1861, Wells Fargo & Co. announced in the New York papers that “Pony Express Envelopes” were “Now ready and for sale at our office.” Although this announcement refers only to “envelopes,” in fact both the franked entires and $1.00 adhesive stamps were put on sale in August 1861. The 1861 10c “Pumpkin” entire with the Type II printed frank was ordered from George F. Nesbitt & Co. (New York) by the Overland Mail Company after they obtained approval for the design and imprint from the Postmaster General’s office. The earliest recorded Type II envelope is dated August 14, 1861, according to the FKW census.
Based on a newspaper article in the San Francisco Bulletin (September 13, 1861, at https://siegelauctions.com/2013/1038/20_SFB.jpg ), the Type II franked envelopes were problematic, because eastern post offices were sometimes sending them in the “through” mail to San Francisco, instead of directing them to St. Joseph for the Pony Express. As a result, they would arrive by regular mail ten days after the Pony Express for which they were intended. This might explain why some examples of the Type II franks are found without a St. Joseph Pony Express handstamp. The presence of the St. Joseph Pony Express datestamp confirms that this was carried by Pony Express riders.
This October 5, 1861, cover was sent from New York City shortly before Civil War demonetization of the old stamp issue began and the new 1861 Issue was released. It entered the post office and was treated as regular mail until it reached the Wells, Fargo & Co. agent at St. Joseph. From there it made the October 10 westbound Pony trip to California, arriving in San Francisco from Placerville on October 22.
The updated FKW census lists 21 examples of the Type II $1.00 frank, including some that have stamps added or have been extensively repaired.
FKW census W61. Ex Dale-Lichtenstein and Walske
EXTREMELY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE ILLUSTRATED BUTTERFIELD STAGECOACH COVER CARRIED ACROSS ARIZONA IN FEBRUARY-MARCH 1861, JUST BEFORE THE CLOSURE OF THE SOUTHERN ROUTE.
The last eastbound Butterfield stage left San Francisco on Monday, April 1, 1861 (Walske-Frajola, Mails of the Westward Expansion 1803-1861, pp. 170-171). The Daily Alta California (April 6, 1861) published a letter from the San Francisco postmaster dated April 5 (Friday) announcing he had received instructions from Washington, D.C., to discontinue the Overland Mail, but he stated that he would continue to send mail on stages between Los Angeles and San Francisco (and way stations in between), which was separately announced as “The New Los Angeles Mail.” Another letter from the newspaper’s St. Louis correspondent, dated May 1, 1861 (published May 16) stated: “We have had no Overland mail since that of March 26th arrived, and the agents inform me today that the remaining ones due in this city have probably been sent to San Antonio, to be brought hence by steamer to Galveston, and so on to New Orleans. By this irregular route, there is no knowing when the letters which left your city between March 25th and April 2d, by Overland Mail, will arrive here.”
Ex Grunin and Birkinbine. With 1988 and 2018 P.F. certificates.
VERY FINE. A RARE AND ATTRACTIVE EXAMPLE OF THIS STAGECOACH ILLUSTRATED DESIGN.
Ex West, Dr. Polland and Gross. With 1992 and 2019 P.F. certificates.
VERY FINE. THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED ILLUSTRATED STAGECOACH COVER USED FROM ARIZONA. ADDING TO ITS HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE IS THE FACT THAT IT PASSED FROM THE ADDRESSEE, ORAMEL CLARK, TO HIS FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR IN SPRINGFIELD, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, WHO IN TURN PRESENTED IT TO HANNIBAL HAMLIN, VICE PRESIDENT DURING LINCOLN’S FIRST TERM.
Ex J. David Baker
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. THE LATEST OF ONLY FOUR REPORTED EXAMPLES OF THE ARIZONA, NEW MEXICO, MANUSCRIPT POSTMARK.
The town of Arizona City (or Arizona) was established in 1854 by Charles D. Poston and originally named Colorado City. Consisting of adobe dwellings, two stores and two saloons, it was situated on the bank of the Colorado River, opposite Fort Yuma, California. By 1858 the town became known as “Arizona City” or simply “Arizona” (the official post office name). John Blake Dow was appointed postmaster on March 17, 1858, but was replaced by Lansford Warren Hastings three months later, on July 17. The post office and Butterfield station were one small counter in the Hooper mercantile store. Originally part of Dona Ana County, New Mexico Territory, on February 1, 1860, Arizona City became part of Arizona County, New Mexico Territory. Arizona County comprised all the land of the Gadsden Purchase west of a line close to the current New Mexico-Arizona border.
The manuscript postmark was applied by Arizona City postmaster, Lansford Warren Hastings.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN OUTSTANDING ARIZONA TERRITORIAL COVER FROM THE TOWN OF ARIZONA CITY AT THE YUMA CROSSING, USED DURING THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT PERIOD. THE COUNTY NAME OF DONA ANA WAS CHANGED TO “ARIZONA” IN FEBRUARY 1860.
The town of Arizona City (or Arizona) was established in 1854 by Charles D. Poston and originally named Colorado City. Consisting of adobe dwellings, two stores and two saloons, it was situated on the bank of the Colorado River, opposite Fort Yuma, California. By 1858 the town became known as “Arizona City” or simply “Arizona” (the official post office name). John Blake Dow was appointed postmaster on March 17, 1858, but was replaced by Lansford Warren Hastings three months later, on July 17. The post office and Butterfield station were one small counter in the Hooper mercantile store. Originally part of Dona Ana County, New Mexico Territory, on February 1, 1860, Arizona City became part of Arizona County, New Mexico Territory. Arizona County comprised all the land of the Gadsden Purchase west of a line close to the current New Mexico-Arizona border. On April 2-5, 1860, 31 delegates from thirteen towns in the Gadsden Purchase region met in Tucson and voted to create a provisional government for the Territory of Arizona “until Congress shall organize a territorial government...”