VERY FINE. THIS IS THE ONLY SOUND 5-CENT HAWAIIAN MISSIONARY STAMP ON COVER. TRULY ONE OF THE OUTSTANDING COVERS OF WORLDWIDE CLASSIC PHILATELY.
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 and all but this cover have stamps with minor faults. For the collector who wishes to have a sound 5c Missionary stamp tied on cover, this is the sole cover meeting that criteria.
This cover was carried on the American brig Zoe, which cleared Honolulu on October 22, 1853, and arrived in San Francisco on November 9 (the datestamp was applied the next day). From San Francisco it was carried by the Pacific Mail Steamship Company’s John L. Stephens, departing on November 16 and arriving at Panama City on November 28. The mail was carried across the isthmus to Aspinwall, and from there it left on the U.S. Mail Steamship Company’s Empire City, departing December 1 and arriving in New York on December 12. The recipient, James L. Reynolds of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, paid the 12c United States postage, which included 10c for the unpaid transcontinental rate and 2c for the ship captain’s fee.
This envelope was addressed and mailed by Admiral William Reynolds (1815-1879), the older brother of James L. and John F. Reynolds, all of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As a midshipman, Admiral Reynolds participated in the Wilkes’ Exploring Expedition of 1838 to 1842. The journal he kept during the expedition was published in book form (The Private Journal of William Reynolds: United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842). As a captain, Reynolds served in the Pacific Squadron and was stationed for a time in Hawaii. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he returned to the mainland in 1861 and commanded the forces at Port Royal.
The Reynolds correspondence was first described in Mekeel’s August 19, 1923 issue. The Economist Stamp Company was noted as the buyer, and an unnamed individual identified his great uncle, a naval officer, as the source (Admiral Reynolds). Two recorded Missionary covers come from the Reynolds correspondence: this cover and a 13c cover.
Ex Gibson, Admiral Harris, Golden and Gross. Siegel census no. 2-I-COV-74. Illustrated in Gregory book (page 300). With 1994 and 2016 P.F. certificates. Scott value $90,000.00 on cover