Pony Express
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  • Lot# : 51 Wells Fargo & Co. Express

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    “Via Pony Express Paid $2.50,” manuscript notation in hand of Placerville agent at top of 10c star die envelope (U33), «St. Joseph Mo. Apr 26» cds in green applied when the cover entered the mails, addressed to "J.W. Smith Esqr., Tuscola, Douglas Co., Ill," slightly reduced at left (backflaps refolded to enhance appearance), trivial tear at top center mentioned for strict accuracy only, otherwise remarkably fresh and Very Fine example of a "way letter" from Placerville (Frajola-Kramer-Walske census E-66)

    This cover was carried on the last eastbound trip of the second rate period of the Pony Express (ET-91), one of four known covers from this trip and the only one to have been collected at Placerville. Any such "way mail," collected along the route between San Francisco and St. Joseph, is exceedingly rare. This cover would have joined the eastbound trip that left San Francisco on April 13, 1861. Way mail was placed in a separate pouch in the rider»s mochilla, and each letter was added to a waybill which was updated as more mail was collected. The Second Rate Period (August 15, 1860 to April 13, 1861) reduced the rates for letters weighing up to one-quarter ounce to $2.50.

    Start Price : 5,000.00 USD
    Current Opening : 5,000.00 USD
    Hammer price : 5,000.00 USD

    Lot# : 52 Wells Fargo & Co. Express

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    July 27, 1861 Pony Express Cover to Metz, France, $1 Red Pony Express stamp (143L3) tied by July 27 blue Running Pony to 3c star die envelope (U27) with black Wells Fargo frank, cover passed through St. Joseph on August 8 but was not postmarked until New York on August 14 when it left on the Cunard steamship Africa, treated as unpaid so 3c debit to France for U.S. inland postage, rated for eight decimes postage due (black crayon) upon its August 27 arrival in France (red arrival cds on front), black Paris transit and Metz arrival markings on reverse, addressed to "Monsieur Toussaint, 7 Rue de la Glacière, Metz," left edge slightly repaired, stamp with margins large to grazing, Very Fine, an exceptionally attractive and important cover: one of only six Pony Express covers to a foreign destination, one of five to Europe, one of four with Pony Express adhesives, and the unique cover to France, a showpiece of the highest order, Frajola-Kramer-Walske census E126

    The Frajola-Kramer-Walske book states, "Only 6 of the 251 letters in the census are addressed to foreign destinations, and their rarity is matched by their visual appeal." That certainly applies to this cover: the balance of the Pony Express stamp and the indicia, the three different colored handstamps, and an overall vibrance that is remarkable when one considers the inter-continental journey this cover made over a century and a half ago. Interestingly, the five Pony Express covers to Europe were each sent to a different destination: France, Scotland, England, Germany, and Switzerland. Without a doubt the cover offered here is one of the cleanest and most attractive; it was also missing from the collections formed by Dale-Lichtenstein, Twigg-Smith, and Kramer, making its reappearance at auction for the first time in several decades even more significant.

    Provenance: Marc Haas (Private Transaction)

    Edwards Collection (Christie's Robson Lowe, 1991)

    Start Price : 100,000.00 USD
    Current Opening : 100,000.00 USD
    Hammer price : 100,000.00 USD

    Lot# : 53 Wells Fargo & Co. Express

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    143L3, 1861 $1 Red Pony Express, stamp with large margins all around and portion of adjacent stamp at top, tied by August 31 blue Running Pony to printed red Wells Fargo frank on 10c star die envelope (U33), well-struck black "St. Joseph Mo. Sep 14" cds applied upon arrival in Missouri, addressed to "Heuston, Hastings + Co., 503 Broadway, New York, NY," manuscript notation at lower left "Rec'd Sept 18/61," neatly resealed at left, as fresh and vibrant as the day it entered the mails, Very Fine, a beautiful cover which is only enhanced by an exceptional stamp (Frajola-Kramer-Walske census E-149)

    According to contemporaneous newspaper accounts Heuston, Hastings & Co. were "fashionable clothiers" with outlets in San Francisco and New York City; the company was even mentioned in the works of Brett Harte. Seven covers are known to survive from the August 31, 1861 eastbound trip of the Pony Express (ET-131). The Fourth Rate Period (July 1 to October 26, 1861) saw the United States government further reduce the Pony Express rate to $1 per half-ounce. To meet the new rates, stamps were printed in red ($1.00), green ($2.00), and black ($4.00).

    Start Price : 5,000.00 USD
    Current Opening : 5,000.00 USD
    Hammer price : 7,000.00 USD

    Lot# : 54 Wells Fargo & Co. Express

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    143L4, 1861 $2 Green Pony Express, stamp with margins large to touching at bottom, used alongside 1861 10c Green (Scott 68), both tied by partial strike of November 7 Atchison, Kansas cds, Pony Express stamp tied by bold and complete strike of October 23 blue Running Pony, on 1861 10c Green stamped envelope (U41) with red Wells Fargo printed frank, addressed to «Robert Brookhouse, Esq, Salem, Mass»tts,» with manuscript «Pr Pony Express Paid» at bottom left, some light edge wear at left and bottom, backflaps repaired and couple sealed tears, still Very Fine and exceptionally rare, Barkhausen collection backstamp, this double-weight cover is one of only two covers bearing a $2 Green Pony Express stamp and the only «solo franking» (the other cover, ex-Kramer, is a mixed franking with a $1 Red); additionally, this is the only surviving cover from the final eastbound trip of the Pony Express which left San Francisco on October 23, 1861; without a doubt one of the most significant Pony Express covers in existence (Frajola-Kramer-Walske census E-180)

    The first transcontinental telegraph was completed October 24, 1861, the day after this cover was dispatched from San Francisco. Pony Express service came to an immediate end, as any need for the service was all but eliminated. This cover bears the distinction of being the only known surviving piece of mail from that fateful final eastbound journey. Adding to it's significance, it is also a double-rate cover (between one-half and one ounce), properly franked with 20c United States postage and a $2 Pony Express stamp. The second Pony Express adhesive issue (put into use for the Fourth Rate Period) provided $1, $2, and $4 stamps. Of these, the $1 Red is by far the most common of all Pony Express adhesives on cover (with 67 examples known). The $2 Green and $4 Black are dramatically rarer, with only two covers known of each. The other $2 Green cover, formerly part of George Kramer»s collection, is a triple-weight mixed franking ($1 Red and $2 Green). Therefore, this cover is the only one in which the $2 Green stamp is properly used to pay the double-weight rate for which it was intended.

    Provenance: Louis H. Barkhausen

    Start Price : 30,000.00 USD
    Current Opening : 30,000.00 USD
    Hammer price : 210,000.00 USD

    Lot# : 55 Wells Fargo & Co. Express

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    143L8, 1862-64 25c Blue, tied on 3c Pink on buff envelope (U35) with printed frank by blue "Wells Fargo & Co/ Virginia City N..T."Apr 12 oval date stamp, addressed to San Francisco, neatly opened and slightly reduced at left, stamp ample to large margins, Very Fine in every respect (Scott $4,500)
    Start Price : 1,000.00 USD
    Current Opening : 2,100.00 USD
    Hammer price : 2,500.00 USD

    Lot# : 56 Wells Fargo & Co. Express

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    143L9, 1862-64 25c Red, tied on 3c Pink envelope (U34) with printed frank by lightly struck blue "Wells Fargo & Co/ Virginia City N.T." postmark, addressed to Clara Crittenden (by her husband Alexander) in San Francisco, penciled "37" and "65" route numbers, stamp full even margins, trivial tiny edge break top center, Very Fine cover from the well-known Crittenden correspondence, 1981 Philatelic Foundation certificate (Scott $8,000)
    Start Price : 2,500.00 USD
    Current Opening : 3,000.00 USD
    Hammer price : 6,000.00 USD
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