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

Table of Contents

Western Express - California - San Francisco Based (Adams to Pacific)

Lot 3257    

Berford & Co.'s Express, 1851, 3¢ black, 6¢ green, 25¢ red, one 3¢ black, two 6¢ green singles and one 25¢ red, each cut to oval shape, used to pay 40¢ rate on cover from New York N.Y. addressed to "Capt. Walter Taber, Ship Louisiana, Paita", endorsed "By Express" at lower left, faint pencil docketing on front "Dated August 3, 1852, Received August 30, 1852", cover originated in New York City and was sent by Berford's to Panama where red "Forwarded By Wm. Nelson & Co. Panama" forwarding agent's framed handstamp was applied on backflap, docketed "Augt. 28, 1852" twice on front, once tying a 6¢ stamp, note on reverse in same hand reads "If not in Tambez [Tumbes, Peru] Dr. Oakford will please return this pr first opprty & oblige. Yours truly, A Bathurst, Paita, Aug. 28, 1852, I mean if Cap. Taber has been in and sailed", based on pencil Aug. 30 receipt notation on front, the letter reached Captain Taber in Tumbes; flaps opened and top refolded to flatten both 6c stamps that were affixed over top edge, Fine, ex-Chapman, Mason, Horner, Golden and "DK"; with 1983 and 1999 P.F. certificates.
Scott No. 11L1, 11L2 (2), 11L4    Estimate $50,000 - 75,000.

A REMARKABLE THREE-VALUE BERFORD & CO EXPRESS FRANKING FOR THE 40¢ RATE TO THE WEST COAST OF SOUTH AMERICA.

THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED USE OF THE 25¢ STAMP, OF WHICH ONLY TWO STAMPS ARE KNOWN.

Richard G. Berford and Loring L. Lombard operated the Berford & Co. letter-carrying business beginning in 1851. Berford & Co.'s Express primarily served the West Coast of North, Central and South America, but also advertised rates to Hawaii, Hong Kong and China. Although their letter and package express business was fairly large, the adhesive stamps for letter mail are rare. During the course of their operation, there were several bitter clashes with the government over their mail route. They sold out to Wells Fargo & Co. in June 1854.

There are only a handful of Berford & Co's Express stamps recorded for any value. There are four 3¢ (11L1) stamps recorded (two off-cover and two on-cover including the one offered here), seven 6¢ (11L2) and two 25¢ (11L4), there are only two recorded: one uncancelled off cover, ex Caspary, Lilly and Hall, and the stamp on this cover.

Four covers are recorded with Berford & Co. stamps paying the 40c rate from New York to the West Coast of South America. Berford's June 17th 1851 advertisement in the New York Herald announced the "New Postage Law" and included a "Table of Postage" listing this 40¢ prepaid rate to the west coast of South America. In the advertisement, the stamps (3¢, 10¢ and 25¢) are described and various rates are given effective July 1, 1851. Obviously, Berford's was acting in response to the U.S. government postage reforms of the same date.

The Louisiana noted in the address is probably the 1,056-ton screw-vessel registered in 1850 at New York City.

Complete Images.

Realized: $42,500

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