Sale 1263 — The George J. Kramer Collection of U.S. & C.S.A. Telegraph Covers
Sale Date — Wednesday, 28 September, 2022
Category — Pony Express & the Telegraph
VERY FINE COVER WITH THE $1.00 RED STAMP ISSUED BY WELLS FARGO & COMPANY FOR THE OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACT PERIOD BEGINNING IN JULY 1861.
Commencing July 1, 1861, the Pony Express was authorized by Congress to carry mail at the rate of $1.00 per half ounce. An additional fee was charged by Wells Fargo & Co. to carry mail from San Francisco to the western terminus at Placerville, which is represented by the printed frank on this entire. The contract also stipulated the mandatory U.S. postage charge of 10c per half ounce.
This cover beautifully combines all three postage elements of the contract period and was carried on the eastbound Pony Express trip departing San Francisco on July 31, 1861, which picked up the Sacramento mail on August 1 (including this cover) and arrived in St. Joseph on August 12. Although the Scott Catalogue lists the July 1861 issue Pony Express stamps (143L3-143L6) with other private post issues, we wish to emphasize that these stamps were issued under the terms of a government mail contract; therefore, they have semi-official status.
Accompanied by a Sacramento Daily Union newspaper clipping of July 30, 1861 announcing "By Telegraph to the Union Arrival of the Pony Express". The clipping shows the progress of the telegraph at this point in 1861 by stating "by telegraph from St. Louis to Fort Kearny, thence by Pony Express to Middle Gate Station, thence by telegraph to Sacramento". It goes on to describe the Battle of Manassas (First Bull Run), which occurred on July 21, 1861.
FKW census E130. From our 1967 Rarities of the World sale. Ex Griswold.