VERY FINE. ONE OF THREE RECORDED STAMPS ISSUED BY REED'S CITY DESPATCH POST, THE FIRST LOCAL POST IN SAN FRANCISCO. ONLY TWO 126L2 STAMPS ARE RECORDED, EACH USED ON SMALL COVERS ADDRESSED IN THE SAME HAND TO WELL-KNOWN SAN FRANCISCO CITIZENS, WHICH UNDOUBTEDLY CONTAINED INVITATIONS. THIS WAS THE DISCOVERY COPY OF REED'S STAMP.
All that is known about Reed's City Despatch Post was provided by Henry B. Phillips, who published Filatelic Facts and Fallacies" during the 1890's and included an article on Reed's post in the April 1894 issue. Subsequent writers have repeated Phillips' statements, almost verbatim, and we shall, too.
The December 17, 1853, edition of the Daily Alta California carried an advertisement by Reed that is considered to be the inaugural announcement of this post, the earliest established in San Francisco. The other known contemporary reference to Reed's City Despatch Post is found in the San Francisco 1854 city directory published by Le Count & Strong, which states that the post was owned by Henry Reed and held its offices at Adams & Co.'s Express on Montgomery Street. It is clear from the advertisements and one of the recorded covers that Reed operated the City Despatch Post as a local delivery arm of Adams. Under the direction of Daniel H. Haskell, the Adams firm prospered as an express company and banking house in California. In 1855, in the midst of a national banking crisis, the firm was dissolved, and its express business was taken over by Freeman & Co. Presumably, the City Despatch Post closed at this time. Henry Reed is possibly the same-named employee of the Holladay Overland Mail and Express Co. who operated the Penny Express Co. in 1866.
Our records contain three Reed's covers: 1) 126L1 Green Paper, tied by Adams & Co. large double-circle datestamp on Jul. 15, 1853 folded letter from Guatemala to James Bell & Co., San Francisco, framed "Via Nicaragua/Ahead of the Mails" handstamp, discovered by E. W. Smith in 1903 in San Francisco warehouse (per 1927 letter to Needham), ex Ferrary, Jessup and Boker; 2) 126L2 Blue Paper, uncancelled, used on unsealed cover to John S. Hagar Esq. in San Francisco, ex Wiltsee, Caspary, Boker, Clifford and Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1457, realized $27,000 hammer); and 3) 126L2 Blue Paper, uncancelled, slight creases, used on cover to "Mr. Warren, Horticulturalist", original publisher of the California Farmer, same handwriting as No. 2 cover to Judge Hagar, the cover offered here, ex Phillips, Lichtenstein, Needham, Jessup, Golden (Siegel Sale 817, lot 1458) and Kuphal (Siegel Sale 927, lot 317).
This envelope was unsealed when mailed and almost certainly contained an invitation (the flap is now partly sealed). A pencil notation on back reads "Mrs. Cooper at Mrs. Gallreath, 280 Clay above Sutton", which may indicate that the invitation reply was returned in this envelope. This cover was discovered in 1892 and reported by Henry B. Phillips in Filatelic Facts and Fallacies (Apr. 1894). It was exhibited in 1894 at the Midwinter Fair in the philatelic exhibit. When the Phillips collection was acquired by Alfred F. Lichtenstein, the Reed's Warren cover was presented to Henry C. Needham. With the 1950's dispersal of Needham's collection, the cover was acquired by Edgar B. Jessup. It was subsequently acquired by David Golden and sold through the Siegel firm in 1999 to Edgar Kuphal. The Kuphal collection was sold in 2006 (this cover was acquired by Mr. Geisler in the 2007 Rarities sale).
Ex H. B. Phillips, Lichtenstein, Needham, Jessup, Golden and Kuphal. With 1976 and 1999 P.F. certificates. Scott Retail $27,500.00