EXTREMELY FINE. ONE OF TWO COVERS KNOWN TO US WITH CARNES CITY LETTER EXPRESS STAMP USED DURING HIS OWNERSHIP OF THE POST. ONE OF THE RAREST AND MOST SPECTACULAR OF ALL AMERICAN LOCAL POST COVERS.
The local-post scene in San Francisco during the 1863-67 period is confusing to reconstruct, due to the similarity of names among competing posts and the changes in ownership, with one selling out to the other. All of this must be reconstructed from dated material and city directories. According to information gleaned by Ernest A. Wiltsee from contemporary sources, the Carnes City Letter Express was started in 1865 by George A. Carnes, a former postal clerk. Very early on, Carnes issued the Grizzly Bear stamps with his name. Among his competitors were the California City Letter Express operated by Hoag & Madison and the San Francisco Letter Express, which used the distinctive oval Horse & Rider handstamp. Sometime in 1865, Carnes acquired or took over the San Francisco Letter Express and changed its name to Carnes San Francisco Letter Express. This cover was mailed in February 1865, which is an early Carnes usage. The red oval marking beneath the stamp (as well as the stamp itself) is inscribed "Carnes City Letter Express." In late 1866 Carnes sold out to William E. Loomis, from which point the supply of 35L1 was used while new stamps were printed with the Carnes name removed (Scott 98L1). We know of one other cover with 35L1 used under Carnes's ownership. It was sold in our 1996 Rarities sale and in our 2006 Edgar Kuphal sale. The Knapp collection contained a cover with 35L1 tied by a blue dotted grid, which is believed to have been a Loomis cancel, and there is a 35L1 cover in the P.F. records with the stamp tied by a "Paid" straightline (possibly by Loomis).
Ex Worthington, Caspary, Boker, Richardson and Golden. With 1987 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $17,500.00