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Sale 101: The Westpex Sale

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Mail Routes

Lots 639-643

Lot 639    

(Arizona Territory - Incoming Mail) Wells, Fargo & Cos. Express, New-York, Aug 1, blue double-circle datestamp ties 3¢ rose (65) horizontal pair on circa 1866 cover to Hon. John N. Goodwin, Governor, Prescott, Arizona Territory, endorsed "Per California Steamer" carried by PMSS "Golden City" arriving at San Francisco Aug. 25th, placed in the mails with "San Bernardino, Cal, Aug 29" transit cds, Very Fine, Believed to be the Earliest Reported Postal Service to the early Capital of Arizona Territory.
Estimate    $300 - 400.

John Noble Goodwin (1824-1887) was a United States attorney and politician who served as the first Governor of Arizona Territory (1863-66) under Lincoln. He was also a Congressman from Maine and served as Arizona Territory's delegate to the United States House of Representatives.

Realized: $325

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Lot 640    

(Butterfield Mail) "Overland Mail via St. Louis", manuscript endorsement on circa 1860 cover bearing 3¢ dull red (26) tied by "New-York, May 11" cds from the McDowell correspondence to Fort Buchanan, Arizona; no backflap, F.-V.F.
Estimate    $300 - 400.

This cover went from New York City to St. Louis by railroad. Then from St. Louis on May 14 by Butterfield Overland mail stage to Tucson. From Tucson, it was carried on the Lathrop contract mail buckboard to Tubac. Then from Tubac, a Santa Rita River Mining Co. Expressman carried it to Fort Buchanan. From there, a Compadre Silver Mining Co. horseback expressman carried it to Sonoita Creek, south of Fort Buchanan, where Mr. McDowell lived in a cabin.

Realized: $475

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Lot 641    

(Desert Dispatch) Los Angeles, Cal, March, bold cds (LOS-5670, R5) with matching "Paid 3" in circle handstamp, overstruck with "Paid 6" handstamp, on circa 1855-56 buff cover addressed to Lieut. Du Barry at Fort Yuma, "via San Diego" routing endorsement, Very Fine, ex-Knapp.
Estimate    $1,000 - 1,500.


Carried by U.S. Mail between LA and San Diego. At that point the U.S. Mail service turned it over to a military express or to the Desert Dispatch express that operated between Fort Yuma and San Diego as no mail service was establish between the two locations. Samuel Warnock and Joseph Swycaffer, retired U.S. Army, accepted a contract to carry mail and government dispatches from Old Town San Diego to Fort Yuma, and back. This was the earliest private mail express to New Mexico Territory (Arizona Territory in 1863) from the West.

Fort Yuma was established in 1852 to protect settlers and to keep the Southern Emigration route safe. It was located on the eastern side of the Colorado River with corrals, shops and government storehouses, etc. It was the grand depot for all posts in Arizona Territory. The Yuma post office was established on October 16, 1866. The Wells Fargo & Co. station at Fort Yuma was located in the Hinton & Hooper Store in Yuma City. The military records show Fort Yuma as being in California, the U.S. Government records show Fort Yuma as being in Arizona Territory until 1874 when the old fort was determined to be in California.

References: Illustrated in "By Way of Desert Dispatch or Military Express", Oscar Thomas, Western Express, Sep. 2016, pp. 49.

Realized: $1,050

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Lot 642    

(Incoming Mail) Santa Cruz, Cal, 28 Mar, sharp cds on cover bearing 3¢ rose (65), two strikes of leaf cancel, on cover addressed to William H. Russell at Hardyville, Arizona Territory over mail route 17201 via San Bernardino, forwarded back to Los Angeles via San Bernardino, pencil "1864" at left, Very Fine.
Estimate    $200 - 300.

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Lot 643    

(Jackass Mail) "Office of the San Antonio and San Diego Mail Line, San Diego, Mar 23rd 1858", datelined folded letter settling of moneys due as the result of the death of James E. Birch and the closing down of his stage line between San Diego and Tucson on the "Jackass Mail" route; some light staining at top, otherwise Very Fine and excellent collateral item.
Estimate    $400 - 600.

James E. Birch Stage Line (1849-51) was the earliest stage line from Coloma Ca. to Sacramento Cal. In 1853, Birch established the California Stage Line, and later, the California-Arizona Stage Line. In 1857, Birch founded the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line, also known as the Jackass Mail. It was the earliest overland stage coach and mail operation from the Eastern United States to California.

On July 9, 1857, just 17 days after Birch concluded his contract, the first mail left San Diego. Birch died at sea while the first mail was still en-route. His mail contract was transferred to Giddings and Doyle. The service to Fort Yuma was taken over by the Butterfield Overland Mail Co. on September 20, 1858.

Realized: $500

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Lots 639-643

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