Lot 3294 *Wells, Fargo & Co., California Express., orange buff cover with red two-line handstamp and matching bold "FREE" rating handstamp to Sacramento Cal., pencil "Recd Jul 13 1852" by Latham; professionally restored at right, Very Fine appearance.
Estimate $5,000 - 7,500.
THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED WELLS FARGO & CO. FIRST DAY COVER. THE ONLY RECORDED COVER WITH THE CALIFORNIA EXPRESS HANDSTAMP.
Rueben H. Washburn carried this cover on his initial journey to San Francisco where he established a branch on July 13, 1852. On that day, this cover was carried "Free" to William Latham Jr., Sacramento agent for Adams Express. Wells, Fargo & Co. would become the largest express carrier in the world. It operated from 1852 until 1895, when they determined that it would no longer be economical to carry the mails.