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Sale 89: The John Barwis Collection of Philadelphia Postal History

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Philadelphia Foreign Mail: 1709-1775 Colonial Period

Lots 3002-3011 Lots 3012-3021 Lots 3022-3030

Lot 3002    

1708 (Sep. 22) Philadelphia Pa. to Jamaica, folded cover neatly addressed "To Jonathn. Dickinson, To be left with Ezeikeil Gommersale, Mercht., In Jamaica" with sender's directive "p Capt Bayly" who was Captain of the Hannah, receipt docketing "Philadia 22 9ber 1708, Isaac Norris Lettr. p ye Hannah…Bayly Commandr. who arrived Xber 9 & carried to hand the 25 Decembr", letter was written by Isaac Norris in Philadelphia on September 22, arrived at the Gomersall Plantation in Jamaica on December 9, and received by Jonathan Dickinson on December 25; small erosion spot in address, Very Fine and rare early mail from the American Colonies to Jamaica, ex-Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Estimate    $1,000 - 1,500.

The addressee, Jonathan Dickinson (1663-1722), was a Quaker merchant from Port Royal, Jamaica, who along with his family and crew on board the "Reformation" were shipwrecked off the Florida coast in 1696. The party was held captive by Jobe ("Hoe-bay") Indians for several days, and then was allowed to travel by small boat and on foot the 230 miles up the coast to Saint Augustine. The party was subjected to harassment and physical abuse at almost every step of the journey to Saint Augustine. During the arduous trip, five members of the Dickinson party died from exposure and starvation. Spanish authorities in Saint Augustine received the surviving members of the party and sent them by canoe to Charleston S.C., where they were able to find passage to their original destination, Philadelphia. Dickinson's family eventually settled there, and he prospered as a merchant and real estate owner, twice serving as Mayor in 1712-1713 and 1717-1719. Jonathan Dickinson's journal, written in 1697, is the earliest description of Native American culture in eastern Florida.

The sender, Isaac Norris (1671-1735) was a wealthy Quaker merchant, mayor of Philadelphia in 1724 and member of the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly for many years. The Norris family emigrated from England to Jamaica around 1678, and in 1690 Isaac went to Philadelphia to arrange for his family to move to that city, but on his return he found that they had all died in the great earthquake of 1692 at Port Royal. He returned to Philadelphia and settled into business as a merchant and politician, becoming one of the wealthiest proprietors in Pennsylvania. While he was in England in 1706, he came to the aid of William Penn in his difficulties and rescued him from imprisonment.

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Current Opening Bid: $750

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Lot 3003    

1712 (Jul. 2) Philadelphia Pa. to Liverpool, England, datelined folded letter endorsed "pr mary hoop galley Capt John annis commdr" at bottom left, carried as endorsed by private ship "Mary Hoop" to London arriving Aug. 25th, London small "AV/25" bishop mark backstamp and "5" pence rating, which is crossed out and updated to "inall 9" pence due from addressee; some light staining, Fine and scarce early private ship letter.
Estimate    $300 - 400.

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Current Opening Bid: $140

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Lot 3004    

1712 (Aug. 29) Philadelphia Pa. to Liverpool, England via New York, datelined folded letter from the Brown correspondence, privately carried to New York where transferred to private ship Andrews from New York Aug. 25th to Lisbon, put aboard the British mail packet Queen to Falmouth arrival Nov. 18th, then carried to London Foreign Post Office where rated at the "1/6" (1s 6d) Lisbon packet rate, which included carriage from Falmouth to London, passed to the London Inland Post Office where the inland postage to Liverpool (4d) was added and rerated "In all 1N10" for total due of 1s 10d, London "NO/21" Bishop backstamp, Very Fine, ex-Siskin.
Estimate    $2,000 - 3,000.

THE ONLY RECORDED PHILADELPHIA LETTER VIA THE LISBON-FALMOUTH PACKET.

This letter was probably intended for the packet to Bristol, advertised as the
Edgley. The Edgley never reached New York, but sailed into Philadelphia on May 3, 1712 for repairs. She did not return to Bristol, but left Philadelphia for Nevis on June 5th. The Edgley was the last advertised Bristol Packet. The Brown correspondence yielded the three recorded 1712-13 Bristol packet letters.

In 1712, only a letter via packet from Lisbon would have been charged 1s6d in London.

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Current Opening Bid: $950

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Lot 3005    

1715 (Sep. 30) Philadelphia Pa. to Liverpool, England, datelined folded letter from the Brown correspondence, sent unpaid by private ship to London, mails ashore at Deal, London "NO/28" Bishop arrival backstamp and rated "Inall 7" pence inland postage due for 3d from Deal to London and 4d London to Liverpool, docketed as received Dec. 1st, 61 days transit; some edge wear, Very Fine and early ship letter.
Estimate    $500 - 750.

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Current Opening Bid: $240

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Lot 3006    

1734 (Mar. 5) Philadelphia Pa. to London, England, datelined folded letter to Isaac Norris in care of the "Pennsylvania Coffee House", endorsed "via Bristoll", sent unpaid by private ship to Bristol where rated "5" pence due for 4d inland to London plus 1d ship fee, London "21/IV" Bishop backstamp, docketed received May 1st, 58 days transit; silked, toned file fold, Fine and scarce use endorsed for collection at a coffee house.
Estimate    $400 - 600.

The Pennsylvania Coffee House provided a place for businessmen and politicians with an interest in the colony to meet for socializing and deal-making. Letters could be delivered there, and a ship's bag was available for patrons to deposit their letters for Philadelphia, paying the ship captain 1d. This coffee house was on Birchin Lane near the Lombard Street post office. Benjamin Franklin used this coffee house as his address at times during his stays in London in 1750s-60s.

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Current Opening Bid: $190

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Lot 3007    

1737 (Jun. 30) London, England to Philadelphia Pa. via Boston, docketed folded cover with manuscript "B Sh:" postmark and matching "7dwt -16gr" rating, the "16" appears to be crossed out; file folds, Very Fine and early Boston ship letter.
Estimate    $500 - 750.

During this period, letters sent from Boston to destinations outside of New England were rated not in local currency, but in pennyweight (dwt) and grains (gn) of coined silver (1 Sh sterling = 3 dW1; 1 dW1 = 24 gn). The rate of 7dwt, 16gr in silver was equal to the published rate in sterling for a single ship letter sent from Boston to Philadelphia, including a 16gr ship fee.

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Current Opening Bid: $240

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Lot 3008    

1739 (Apr. 15) England to Philadelphia Pa., folded cover from England to John Reynell in Philadelphia with sender's instructions "To be put on board the Elizabeth ~ Stevenson Lying in the Downes", Bristol "15/AV" bishop backstamp and matching "PD" in circle handstamp with red manuscript "P 4" prepaid rating, receipt docketing "From Capt. James Allan, Recd. 2nd Novembr. 1739 p the Elize. Capt. Stevenson"; age stains, Fine and rare prepaid ship letter.
Estimate    $750 - 1,000.

The Drummer and Bristol packets had ceased service in 1711-12. No colonial postage was due as
Elizabeth sailed directly to Philadelphia.

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Current Opening Bid: $350

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Lot 3009    

1745 (Nov. 8) London, England to Philadelphia Pa., docketed folded cover addressed to John Kinsey Esqr., Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania, endorsed via "via Bristol" at bottom left, sent unpaid by private ship from Bristol Nov. 10th to Boston arriving Jan. 23rd, entered mails with manuscript "Bo Sh" postmark and "7.16" (7dwt 16gr) rating, reverse with "London 11mo 8th 1745" docketing and Jan. 26th arrival; light cover toning, tiny erosion spot, Fine.
Estimate    $300 - 400.

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Current Opening Bid: $140

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Lot 3010    

1746-1794 Philadelphia Private Ship Mail and Early Uses, group of 15 folded covers, 12 carried by private ship, several with sender's ship-name endorsements and large group from Philadelphia to Bristol with various landing ports and rating, one early "Way 16" use to Philadelphia; etc.; mixed condition, F.-V.F.
Estimate    $1,000 - 1,500.

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Current Opening Bid: $700

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Lot 3011    

1748 (Oct. 10) Philadelphia Pa. to London, England, folded cover with "Phi. paid dwt 3:8" written in Benjamin Franklin's hand (who was Postmaster at this time) for 3dwt (9d) inland to New York plus 8gr (1d) outgoing ship fee, first endorsement crossed out and updated to "p first ship from NYK", carried by private ship from New York Jan. 2nd to Dover arriving Apr. 15th for 106 day voyage, Dover "15/AP" Bishop backstamp and "4" pence due rating for 3¢ inland to London plus 1d ship fee, London "17/AP" arrival backstamp and rerated "4" pence due; some splitting reinforced, Very Fine; with 2019 P.F. certificate.
Estimate    $7,500 - 10,000.

ONE OF ONLY TWO PREPAID SHIP LETTERS FROM PHILADELPHIA RECORDED.

Benjamin Franklin was the Philadelphia Postmaster from 1737 to 1753.

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Current Opening Bid: $5,750

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Lots 3002-3011 Lots 3012-3021 Lots 3022-3030

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