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

Table of Contents

Western Express - Nevada & Utah

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.


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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