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Sale 76: Gems of Philately

Table of Contents

1869 Pictorial Issue

Lot 121    

1869, 15¢ brown & blue, type I, tied by four-ring cancel, matching "Castroville Tex., Dec 29" cds on 3¢ pink (U58) entire to Loire, France, reverse with red "New York Paid All Br. Transit" exchange cds and matching "6" cent credit to G.B. handstamp, carried on the Maiden Voyage of Guion Line Minnesota from New York Jan. 12th to Queenstown arriving Jan. 23rd, red London Paid (1.24.70) transit cds and matching "PD" oval, Givors (1.25.70) arrival backstamp, partial backflap, Very Fine; with 2017 P.F. certificate.
Scott No. 118    Estimate $5,000 - 7,500.


Following the expiration of the U.S.-France mail treaty on December 31, 1869, the announced rates to France were 4¢ by British Open Mail with 5 decimes due from the addressee, and 10¢ Direct with 8 decimes due from the addressee. In either case, senders would expect the recipient to be required to pay collect postage on arrival based on the announced rates, in contrast to the prior treaty period when mail could be sent from the U.S. fully prepaid. However, the New York postmaster was aware of and employed an unannounced fully-prepaid rate to France. A 12¢ rate with 8¢ credit to England was published in the foreign postage tables for Algeria, but it also applied to mail destined for France. The 8¢ credit reflected the 4p per 7.5 grams Anglo-French rate. Effective July 1, 1870, the rate from England to France was reduced to 3p per 10 grams, which consequently lowered the U.S. credit to England on prepaid covers to France from 8¢ to 6¢. These are known as the 8c and 6c Phantom Rates to France (referring to the credits to England).

This is an unusual use since the sender prepaid the 15¢ treaty rate to France that ended on December 31st 1869. There was a normal delay getting the letter from Texas to New York and it was not processed by the New York exchange office until Jan. 7th. There was considerable confusion during this time period as the steamship contracts expired on December 31st 1869 and the major lines were offered the chance to carry the mails for just the postage on the letters, but declined, so most of them refused to carry the mails in early January. As a result, even though this letter was processed Jan. 7th, it was delay until the Guion Line "Minnesota" leaving New York Jan. 12th. The New York exchange office treated this as a Phantom rate use since it was not processed through the office until January when the rate had ended. However, they should have struck the "8" cent credit verse the incorrect "6" cent handstamp.

Realized: $4,250

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