Sale 1216 — The Ambassador J. William Middendorf II Collection
Sale Date — Tuesday, 25 February, 2020
Category — Official Navy Department Issues
VERY FINE. THIS RARE 10-CENT NAVY “COMMODORE CALDWELL” COVER IS OFFERED TO THE MARKET FOR ONLY THE SECOND TIME. PRIOR TO THE EMERGENCE OF THE CALDWELL COVERS OFFERED IN OUR 2013 RARITIES SALE, THERE WAS ONLY ONE 10-CENT NAVY COVER KNOWN.
In 2013, a descendent of Commodore Caldwell was performing genealogical internet research on his ancestor and found the Siegel description for the Starnes collection Caldwell 30c Navy cover. He realized his family possessed several similar covers and consigned the group to Siegel for auction. In addition to this 10c Navy cover, the collection included two other 1c and 10c (2) combination covers (one other offered in this sale as lot 211), as well as the twin to the heretofore unique 30c cover (offered as lot 214). Les Lanphear, in his census of overseas Official covers, records 19 Navy Department covers, not counting the six Caldwell covers that emerged in 2013. Prior to this find the only 10c Navy cover known was the famous U.S. Naval Observatory cover to Paris. The total now stands at four complete franking covers plus one with the missing 1c stamp.
The 21c postage pays the single rate to Brazil via Great Britain. At this time Brazil was not a member of the U.P.U. Therefore, the U.S. retained 5c of the 21c postage and credited G.B. with 16c for carrying the letter to Brazil. The credit is expressed in centimes, as required by the U.P.U. regulations.