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Sale 79: The George J. Kramer Collection of Western Trails and Routes

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Western Express - Nevada & Utah

Lots 3365-3374 Lots 3375-3384 Lot 3385

Lot 3365    

D.W. Earl & Co., Forwarding & Commission Merchants, Reno, Nevada, framed corner card handstamp on 2¢ green entire cancelled by "Reno, Nev., Jul 7, 1889" duplex to Cedarville Cal., original D.W. Earl & Co. freight invoice and payment receipt, Very Fine.
Estimate    $200 - 300.

D.W. Earl & Co. established offices at Nevada railroad depots and handled freight to and from the Washoe mines. This cover shows the use of the company datestamp on an envelope as a processing device.

Realized: $170

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Lot 3366    

Elko & Mountain City Pony Express, M.P. Freem & Co., Prop's, Paid One Dollar., printed frank with fancy frame, and conjunctive printed Wells Fargo & Co. frank on 3¢ green (U82) entire cancelled by "Portland Oreg. Jan 19" duplex to San Francisco Cal., endorsed "pr. Steamer "State of California"; small top edge tear, Very Fine, WC8320, ex Dale-Lichtenstein.
Thomas No. ELK-001    Estimate $4,000 - 6,000.

ONE OF ONLY TWO POSTALLY USED EXAMPLES OF THE ELKO & MOUNTAIN CITY PONY EXPRESS FRANK.

This express operated out of Elko, Nevada servicing the mines of northern Nevada around Mountain City. Merrill P. Freeman worked in this area for a number of years at jobs relating to the movement of the mails and may have operated this express in some capacity. The only reference is in the Territorial Enterprise of August 19, 1871: "The stage running between here (Elko) and Mountain City will be discontinued on Monday next. A pony express by M.P. Freeman & Co. will carry the mail between the above points.".

Realized: $3,750

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Lot 3367 *   

"Collect Humboldt Express. 25 cts.", manuscript endorsement on 3¢ red (U27) buff Star die entire with printed Wells Fargo & Co. paid frank and cancelled by blue "Wells, Fargo & Co. Express, Silver City, Utah" oval handstamp to Santa Cruz, Cal.; light soiling at bottom left, Very Fine; with 2003 P.F. certificate.
Estimate    $10,000 - 15,000.

THIS IS THE EARLIEST RECORDED HUMBOLDT EXPRESS USE, AND THE ONLY RECORDED MANUSCRIPT FRANKED EXAMPLE.

With the establishment of Unionville and Humboldt City in the spring of 1861 because of the discovery of major gold and silver deposits, Samuel Langton expanded his express business into the region. Langton connected with Wells, Fargo & Co. at Silver City for delivery to the California coast.

This cover is extensively discussed by Jim Gamett in Nevada Express, 2002, pp 83-87.

Realized: $13,500

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Lot 3368    

Humboldt Express, 1863, 25¢ brown, four large even margins, tied by blue "Langton's Pioneer Express, Star City" oval handstamp on 3¢ pink (U35) buff entire with black Langton's printed frank, addressed to Bidwell's Bar Cal. "Care of Capt. Singer", entire restored at right, trivial stamp cleaning causing some barely discernable discoloration of cancel, Very Fine appearance, ex Dale-Lichtenstein; with 2004 P.F. certificate.
Scott No. 86L1    Estimate $30,000 - 40,000.

ONE OF ONLY SIX INTACT COVERS RECORDED WITH LANGTON'S HUMBOLDT EXPRESS STAMP.

The Humboldt Express was the last of seven successive Western express services operated by Samuel W. Langton, who has been described by historians as the most energetic and persevering of the numerous expressmen of the period. Langton launched the Humboldt Express in February 1860 and oversaw its operation until his accidental death in 1864. Service was provided between the Humboldt mines in Nevada to

Carson City, the state capital. For transportation across this difficult route, 25c was charged in addition to the $2.00 per letter fee. To facilitate prepayment of this surcharge, Langton issued the 1860 25c Brown adhesive stamp. The stamp, with its exceptionally detailed depiction of a stagecoach drawn by a four-horse team, is widely regarded as the finest example of a pictorial stamp issued by the numerous local posts operated in the United States between 1842 and the 1870's. The style, lettering, color and lithographic technique used to print Langton's stamp are identical to those of the Wells, Fargo & Co. pony express stamps of the same period, and it is accepted, though unproven, that the issues of both companies were made by the same printer (Britton & Rey of San Francisco).


The six recorded Humboldt Express 25c Brown covers:
1) Unionville (blue oval) to J. S. Bendle, Bidwell's Bar Cal., "Care of Capt. Singer", U34 with Langton frank, ex Brown, Moody, Simpson, Hertz
2) Star City (blue oval) to J. S. Bendle, Bidwell's Bar Cal., "Care of Capt. Singer", U35 with Langton frank, PFC, ex Dale-Lichtenstein (the cover offered here)
3) Unionville (blue oval) to J. S. Bendle, Bidwell's Bar Cal., "Care of Capt. Singer", U34 with Langton frank, ex Caspary, Nathan
4) Star City (blue oval) to G. Borzo, Placerville Cal., U34 with Langton frank, WF Nevada Jun. 10 oval, ex Jessup, Hawley, Polland, Jacobitz
5) Unionville (red oval) and "Paid" in oval tying 25c, to Charles Lott, Oroville Cal., U34 with WF frank and WF Carson City May 11 oval, PFC, ex Haas, Edwards
6) Star City (blue oval) to S. W. Holladay, San Francisco, U34 with Langton frank, 3c 1861 tied by "Paid" and WF Nevada Jul. 11 (1863) oval, with enclosure, PFC, ex Hall, Kapiloff.

In addition to these six intact covers, there are two restored fronts or pieces and a few faked examples. Our census has been compiled independently of the Gamett census.

Complete Images.

Realized: $32,500

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Lot 3369    

Humbolt Express Co., printed reply envelope with "Agent of Humboldt Express Co." crossed out and addressed to Sacramento Cal., original enclosure datelined "Sheep Ranch, Bois Valley, I.Territory, Feb. 25th 1865", used as paste-up with manuscript "Paid 25¢" express rating, pencil "10 Weeks under Snowslide" at left, pasted to 3¢ pink (U34) entire with printed Wells Fargo frank and cancelled by blue "Wells Fargo & Co., La Grande" oval handstamp, pencil "Came to Hand, May 31st 1865" endorsement; covers separated and faulty as to be expected, Fine.
Estimate    $750 - 1,000.

A REMARKABLE CONJUNCTIVE HUMBOLDT AND WELLS FARGO EXPRESS USE DELAYED DUE TO SNOW SLIDE, ONE OF ONLY TWO RECORDED.

This letter should have been carried into Wells Fargo at Virginia City, Nevada, however, because of heavy snow on that route, the letter was carried north to Oregon. En route, it was buried "Ten weeks under Snowslide". After the spring thaw, it was retrieved with note "Came on Hand May 31, 1865" into Wells Fargo & Co. at La Grande Oregon for transit to Sacramento. There is one other cover with an identical "snowslide" inscription, which was written and signed by "Vincent Norten".

The Humboldt Express Co. establishment was announced in the Idaho Tri-Weekly Statesman of August 1864. It operated for about one year and ran a "pony express" from Boise, Idaho Territory area to Virginia City, Nevada Territory. It ceased operations because of the Paiute-Bannock Indian uprising.

Realized: $850

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Lot 3370 *   

Raum's Ruby Hill, Schellburn and Rubyville Express, Agency White Pine Daily News., printed frank with fancy frame, on 3¢ green (U82) entire cancelled by manuscript "Schellburn Nev., Mar. 27/72" postmark and matching ms. strokes cancel indicia to San Francisco Cal.; reduced slightly at right, Very Fine.
Thomas No. RAU-001    Estimate $750 - 1,000.

ONE OF ONLY FOUR RECORDED EXAMPLE OF THIS RAUM'S RUBY HILL, SCHELLBURN AND RUBYVILLE EXPRESS FRANK.

After Lovell left the partnership of Raum & Lovell's Express, Mell Raum continued to operate as Raum Express through the same North-central area of Nevada connecting with the U.S. mail at Schellbourne Nev.

Realized: $575

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Lot 3371    

Ruby Hill and Schellburn Express, Mell Raum, Agent., fancy printed frank on 3¢ green (U82) entire cancelled by blue "Hamilton Nev., Dec 25" duplex to San Jose Cal.; upper left corner repair and sealed edge tears, F.-V.F. appearance, WC2368.
Thomas No. RAU-005    Estimate $750 - 1,000.

THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF THIS RAUM'S EXPRESS FRANK.

Realized: $1,250

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Lot 3372    

Raum's Centerville, Ruby Hill and Shelburn Express / Agency White Pine Daily News., printed frank on 3¢ green entire cancelled by target cancel and matching "Schellbourne Nev., Aug 16" cds with pencil address to Sacramento City Cal.; reduced slightly at left, small edge tear, F.-V.F., WC2364.
Thomas No. RAU-006    Estimate $300 - 400.

ONE OF SIX RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THIS RAUM'S CENTERVILLE, RUBY HILL AND SHELBURN EXPRESS FRANK.

Realized: $525

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Lot 3373    

Thomes & Skadan's Express, Susanville & Reno, Connecting with Wells, Fargo & Co., printed paid ribbon frank on 3¢ green entire cancelled by blue partial "Wells Fargo & Co, Reno" oval datestamp to Roseburg Ore., docketed "David Evans, Feb 11/73" at left, Very Fine, WC2817.
Thomas No. THO-003    Estimate $500 - 750.

THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED THOMAS & SKADAN'S EXPRESS USE TO OREGON.

This was a stage operation that provided an express letter service. They operated between Susanville Cal and Reno Nev., a distance of about 70 miles. They connected with Wells Fargo at Reno.

Realized: $375

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Lot 3374 *   

Thompson's Carson Valley Express, bold red ornamented handstamp on 3¢ Red on buff entire (#U10) carried over the Sierra Nevada to Auburn, California with Wells, Fargo & Co. printed frank, entered the mails with clear "Carson Valley, U.T./Oct 9" datestamp, cover reduced at right and with original indicia cut out and replaced, Fine appearance, WC5050, ex-Risvold; with 1978 P.F. certificate.
Thomas No. TSS-100    Estimate $20,000 - 30,000.

ONE OF ONLY TWO KNOWN EXAMPLES OF THE "SNOWSHOE" THOMPSON'S HANDSTAMP, BOTH ARE USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE WELLS, FARGO & CO. FRANK.

Thompson's Carson Valley Express was established by John A. "Snowshoe" Thompson in 1857-58 and operated between Genoa, Nevada and Placerville, California. He also carried the overland mails for Chorpenning during the winter months of 1861. Snowshoe died on 15 May, 1876. (see Across The Sierra Nevada Mountain by Snow-Shoe, by Risvold and Frajola in Chronicle #215).

Realized: $21,000

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Lots 3365-3374 Lots 3375-3384 Lot 3385

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