Sale 973 — 2009 Rarities of the World

Sale Date — Saturday, 13 June, 2009

Category — Local Posts

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
298
c
Sale 973, Lot 298, Local PostsWells, Fargo & Co. Pony Express, ($1.00) Red Type II East-to-West Frank, 10c Green on Thin Hard White Entire (unlisted in Scott). Clearly struck "Philadelphia Pa. Aug. 16, 1861" octagonal datestamp and dotted cork cancel, printed address to the "Agent of Pony Express, St. Joseph, Mo." and handwritten address to San Jose Cal., few tiny edge flaws

EXTREMELY FINE. ONE OF 21 RECORDED TYPE II EAST-TO-WEST PONY EXPRESS FRANKED ENTIRES AND ONE OF ONLY TWO RECORDED PONY EXPRESS COVER ORIGINATING IN PHILADELPHIA.

According to The Pony Express--A Postal History, there are only 20 examples of the Type II $1.00 East-to-West frank, including a few that have stamps added or have been extensively repaired. This entire is not listed in the census and now becomes the second known Pony Express cover that originated from Philadelphia during any time period. These two are the only examples of the Type II frank used from Philadelphia (almost all originated in New York City).

The $1.00 franked entire and $1.00 "Garter" adhesive were needed by Wells, Fargo & Co.'s eastern offices when the Pony Express entered its official U.S. government mail contract period on July 1, 1861. The 1861 10c "Pumpkin" entire with the Type II printed frank was ordered from George F. Nesbitt & Co. (New York) by the Overland Mail Company after they obtained approval for the design and imprint from the Postmaster General's office (a June 21, 1861, letter and essay submitted for approval are recorded). Nesbitt was specifically asked to produce envelopes on a thinner, tougher paper than that used for regular stamped envelopes, presumably to reduce weight for the Pony riders. Comparing the Type II franked entires with others, it does appear to be a thinner, less opaque paper, although the Scott Catalogue does not list the 10c entires on more than one kind of white paper.

The period commencing July 1, 1861, was an important one for the Pony Express. Under new management and connected with Wells, Fargo & Co.'s vast network of offices and routes, the Pony Express was authorized by Congress to carry mail under government contract at the rate of $1.00 per half ounce. Although collectors generally perceive all Pony Express stamps and franked entires to be unofficial non-government forms of postage, effective July 1, 1861, the new stamps and entires are semi-official issues intended to prepay goverment contract rates.

This August 16, 1861, usage from Philadelphia comes just as the old stamp issues were being demonetized and the new 1861 Issue was released, due to the Civil War. This Pony Express cover entered the post office and was treated as regular mail until it reached the Wells, Fargo & Co. agent at St. Joseph, Missouri. From there it made the August 18, 1861, westbound Pony trip to California. At Placerville, it was carried by Wells, Fargo & Co. to San Jose. For no apparent reason, the St. Joseph office did not apply a Pony Express datestamp to this entire or one of the other Type II entires carried on this trip.

This becomes Census No. W51A to fit in chronological order. With 2006 P.F. certificate

E. 20,000-30,000
26,000