Featured

SCARCE POSTAL RATE OF 6 ¼ CENTS

Written by on June 28, 2020 in Featured with 0 Comments
SCARCE POSTAL RATE OF 6 ¼ CENTS

 

The Six-and-a-Quarter Cent Rate

Per the Act of Congress passed April 9, 1816, a single-sheet letter traveling less than 30 miles would be rated at 6 cents (United States Statutes at Large).

However, a small number of covers posted 1816 – 1845 show the rate of 6 ¼ cents. This unusual rate comes from the Spanish real, used in some parts of the US and the Republic of Texas through the mid-19th century. One real was 1/8th of a Spanish silver dollar, or 12 ½ cents US. Half of this denomination, the ‘medio real’ or ‘picayune’, was valued at 6 ¼ cents US. The division of the silver dollar into ‘pieces of eight’ could also be called ‘bits’. Hence, 2 bits would make a 25 cent quarter, and a half bit would represent 6 ¼ cents. (American Stampless Cover Catalog, “The 6-¼¢ Rate”)

In regions where medio real or half bit coinage was in common use, the 6 ¼ rate was considered a ‘rate of convenience,’ as it conveniently matched a denomination that customers would have readily available. The postmaster would write the rate of payment on the cover at the amount paid to simplify the exchange.

Shortages of circulating coinage, particularly during recessions like the Panic of 1837, resulted in banknotes bearing the 6 ¼ rate.

About the Census

This long-overdue census has not been completed by any postal historian/organization to our knowledge. We felt a need to compile as complete a listing as possible, understanding that a response will occur to the census post-publication which will add a few/many more to the census. We look forward to the additional responses.

It should be noted we expected a minimal number of covers (under 15) and were taken aback by the response by numerous postal historians that combed through their collections for these elusive rate covers. The collectors who submitted covers for the census are noted as Contributors in the census.

Kennett Square, PA

Written by on June 16, 2020 in Featured with 0 Comments
Kennett Square, PA

Kelleher Sale 5102 – May 31, 2020

Written by on May 31, 2020 in Featured with 0 Comments
Kelleher Sale 5102 – May 31, 2020

Philadelphia Cancellations

Written by on May 25, 2020 in Featured, Presentations with 0 Comments

Sescal Auction – Oct 4-6, 2019

Written by on September 29, 2019 in Featured with 0 Comments
Sescal Auction – Oct 4-6, 2019

Gross Auction – Oct 29/30, 2019

Written by on September 29, 2019 in Featured with 0 Comments
Gross Auction – Oct 29/30, 2019

Barwis Auction – Oct 5, 2019

Written by on September 29, 2019 in Featured with 0 Comments
Barwis Auction – Oct 5, 2019

D. O. Blood & Co. 15L4

Written by on August 16, 2019 in Featured with 0 Comments
D. O. Blood & Co. 15L4

D. O. Blood & Co., Philadelphia Pa., (3c) Black on Grayish, “D.O.B. & Cos.” Initials (15L4).

Full to large margins, tied by blue “Philadelphia Pa. Sep. 22” circular datestamp with matching “5” in double-circle handstamp on folded cover to New York City street address, receipt docketing confirms 1845 year date.

EXTREMELY FINE. ONE OF THE FINEST TIED EXAMPLES OF THE RARE BLOOD’S FIRST STRIDING
MESSENGER ISSUE WITH MANUSCRIPT CONTROL MARK.

The Striding Messenger stamp, issued in 1843 by the Philadelphia Despatch Post and adopted by D. O. Blood & Co., is the first pictorial stamp in the world. It depicts a gargantuan letter carrier — the “City Despatch Post” bag slung over his shoulder — stepping over the Merchant’s Exchange Building, which housed Philadelphia’s post office. 

Illustrated in Chronicle (No. 220, p. 318). Ex German Sale, Brown, Hurd, Hall and Jarrett

2019-06-26 2019 Rarities of the World Sale 1205

U.S.P.O., Philadelphia Pa., 1c Blue (7LB12) and American Letter Mail

Written by on August 16, 2019 in Featured with 0 Comments
U.S.P.O., Philadelphia Pa., 1c Blue (7LB12) and American Letter Mail

U.S.P.O., Philadelphia Pa., 1c Blue (7LB12). Ample to large margins, extraordinary dark shade and intense impression, tied by red star cancel, “Downington Pa.” dateless circle handstamp on folded letter datelined “Downington Novr. 11th 1852” to local Philadelphia attorney at 981
⁄4 South 4th Street, manuscript “Paid”, Extremely Fine, this stamp is rarely found tied on cover, the use from Downington is believed to be unique, ex Gibson and Kuphal, with 2007 P.F. certificate.

American Letter Mail Co., (5c) Blue on Gray (5L3). Position 13, ample margins to mostly clear at right, tied by manuscript “DB” cancel on June 7, 1845 folded letter from Philadelphia to New York, red “Forwarded By American Mail Co. No. 101 Chestnut St. Philada.” in circle with matching “Paid” straightline handstamp.

EXTREMELY FINE. ONE OF TWO TIED EXAMPLES AMONG THE TWELVE RECORDED COVERS BEARING THE RARE BLUE EAGLE STAMP OF AMERICAN LETTER MAIL COMPANY. 
This use of the rare Blue Eagle stamp probably occurred soon before the independent mail firms were effectively abolished by the government. On July 1, 1845, the postage rate for distances under 300 miles was reduced to 5c per half-ounce. By the same Act of Congress, Federal law prohibited the carrying of letters by private companies between cities where the Post Office Department offered inter-city mail service. American Letter Mail Company, which had aroused popular support for cheaper domestic postage, was a catalyst for the 1845 legislation. However, it could no longer sustain its fight with the government over mail routes and closed on June 30, 1845. 

The Large Eagle stamp in Blue is recorded on covers dated from August 1844 through June 1845, with about half of the reported covers addressed to Hopkins & Weston in New York. The Blue and Black color scheme for the American Letter Mail Co. Large Eagle stamps, which lack a denomination (unlike their predecessor issue, the Small Eagle), may have been modeled upon Great Britain’s 1840 Penny Black and Two-Pence Blue. The Blue stamp was used for the single rate, but its original purpose might have been to pay a double rate. 
Ex Perry, Schwartz and “Gordon N. John”. 

2019-06-26 2019 Rarities of the World Sale 1205

Northern Liberties News Rooms, Sub Post Office

Written by on August 16, 2019 in Featured with 0 Comments
Northern Liberties News Rooms, Sub Post Office

Type I circular mark impressed at left on March 30, 1836 folded letter to Reading Pa., red “Phila. 31 Mar.” in octagonal frame, matching “Paid” in octagon handstamp, skillfully reinforced along folds and minor cosmetic improvements along edges. VERY FINE. ONE OF 12-14 RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE NORTHERN LIBERTIES NEWS ROOMS MARKING, WHICH WAS APPLIED TO MAIL HANDLED BY THE SUB POST OFFICE OPERATED BY ANDREW McMAKIN.

Prior to 1854, the Northern Liberties area (north of Vine Street) was outside Philadelphia’s city limits. Carriers were used to transport mail between outlying areas and the main post office in Philadelphia. The term Sub Post Office refers to a location where letters could be deposited for delivery to the main post office. The Northern Liberties News Rooms, which advertised its services as early as 1833, established a Sub Post Office in 1835. The proprietor at this time was Andrew McMakin. A news item appearing in the October 10, 1835, edition of the Philadelphia Saturday Courier states: “The enterprising, attentive and indefatigable proprietor of that popular establishment, the Northern Liberties Free Admission News Room, has found the business of his Sub Post Office so much on the increase, as to induce him to prepare a new and appropriate stamp, which we perceive is now imprinted upon all letters deposited at his office.” (from research by Elliott Perry and J. William Middendorf). Later advertisements link the Sub Post Office in Northern Liberties with the main Philadelphia post office, which reinforces its status as an authorized drop point for mail.

Debate among postal historians (Perry, Hahn et al) has focused on when the distinctive marking (Type I or II) was applied to letters. Some have argued that it is a press-printed impression applied to lettersheets prior to use and is, therefore, a carrier stamp. In support of the pressprinted argument is the consistent orientation of the marking at the left side and at the same degree relative to the paper upon which it is impressed; it would be impossible to apply a handheld striking device so consistently. Arguing against this press-printed theory are those who cite the effects of folds on the markings and impressions thru the paper, physical evidence that proves the marking was applied after the lettersheet had been folded. Our opinion is that the markings were applied after the letter was folded and given to the Sub Post Office, but that a mechanical device — similar to a corporate seal — was used to make the impression. Each letter, when inserted into the device along the guides, would receive the impression in the same relative position and orientation, not unlike a three-hole paper-punch device commonly used today.

In summary, historical evidence supports the status of the Northern Liberties News Rooms Sub Post Office as an official carrier drop point for mail to the main Philadelphia post office. However, physical evidence refutes the claim that these lettersheets were sold to patrons as stamped stationery to indicate prepayment of the carrier fee; the marking is better classified as an elaborate and mechanically-applied indication of letter handling.  Calvet M. Hahn recorded between 12 and 14 examples of Type I (some duplication of items is
possible). 

2019-06-26 2019 Siegel Rarities of the World Sale 1205

Top