Lot Details

January 2023

January 17-18, 2023 in New York City

Our January 2023 sales include the "Erivan" Collection of United and Confederate States Postal History Part VIII, as well as a general sale of United States and worldwide stamps, covers, and collections.

LOT# : 54
Date: January 17, 2023

Western Expresses

manuscript notation on 10c Green Nesbitt entire (U15), "San Francisco Cal Dec 20 1858" datestamp, addressed to "Mrs. Ellen H. Stanton, Care of Lewis Hutchinson, Esq., Pittsburg, Pennsylvania" in the hand of Edwin M. Stanton, carried aboard PMSS steamer J.L. Stephens departing San Francisco December 20 and arriving Acapulco December 28 (eventually reaching New Orleans January 5, 1859), reverse with handwritten note from Lewis Hutchinson, extremely fine, a remarkable historical artifact, 2022 Philatelic Foundation certificate
During the late 1850s there were no fewer than eight different routes a cover could travel between the American coasts. The default was for mail to be carried across the Panamanian isthmus, but a route was established in June of 1858 to carry mail across Mexico via Tehuantepec. This route was about 2,000 miles shorter, but mail had to be clearly endorsed “via Tehuantepec” per post office regulations. After just one year the contract lapsed, as the route generated less than $5,300 in revenue. An unpublished census by Michael Perlman records 24 eastbound covers and five westbound covers.
Edwin Stanton married Ellen Hutchinson (daughter of Lewis Hutchinson) in 1856. Stanton would go on to serve as secretary of war under Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, and he would lead the manhunt to capture John Wilkes booth after the president’s assassination. It was Andrew Johnson's attempt to dismiss Stanton as Secretary of War that led to that president’s impeachment in 1868. In early 1859, when this envelope was sent, Stanton was nearing the end of a year spent in California at the behest of Attorney General Jeremiah Black to represent the federal government in a series of land disputes arising from the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo. Although Stanton wrote his wife often she was distraught over his trip to California, particularly as she took care of an infant daughter in poor health.

Scott U15
Starting Price: $2,500
Hammer Price: $13,000