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Sale 107: Gems of Philately

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Western Mail Routes

Lots 2012-2020

Lot 2012    

(Mail Routes) Bottom of Platte River, Near Fort Laramie, May 8th, 1850, dateline on lengthy three-page letter written on the trail to California by Thomas J. Patten, accompanied by original buff cover addressed to Clay Furnace Pa. with "Fort Leavenworth, Mo. Jun 10" cds and "10" cent rating handstamp, letter reads in part "I am now setting on my foot leaning over my trunk 650 miles from the frontier line of Missouri with my fingers as stiff as pokers and my head as thick as a beetle trying to fulfill my promise to you. We crossed the Missouri on the 10th of April and traveled 300 miles to Fort Kearney by the 24th of the same month. The roads are fine that far much better than can be produced in Pennsylvania for the same distance - it runs much of the way on the dividing ridge between the Platte and Kanzas rivers and there is not a root or a stone the size of a hen's egg on the way. The road comes to the Platte River 20 miles below Fort Kearney and follows it to its source in the Rocky mountains which is from 250 to 300 [miles] above this. We shall leave here in that direction tomorrow at 11 o'clock…We saw no Buffalo until we had reached Little Blue River and but few until we passed Kearney, but from there two hundred miles we saw any amount. For days they would not be out of our sight…Himrod and the doctor were riding ahead & discovered them on the flats. Himrod got up near enough to shoot before they started but did not kill. They then gave chase and by the time they got to the bluffs Himrod overtook them and killed one the first fire which was a great feat & excited him to no small degree. I was one mile or more behind and did not see the beginning of the sport but came up in time to help kill the second one which stood about six shots, three of which I gave him. They were very large ones, the one I helped to kill I think would have weighed 1000 lbs had he been in good order but they were very poor. We tried a little of the meat but it tasted a little too much like the beef of an old bull to be very palatable; it is fine sport but hard on horses and mine is too good to use up in that way…We have had no grass except old grass until within about a week, it is now tolerable good…I have seen no hard times on the plains, nothing to disturb me except the continual winds which chap my hands crack my lips skin my nose and blows my eyes full of sand, blows through my clothes overcoat and all, blows ashes in our victuals and them ashes sometimes made from Buffalo dung as we have had to use that article for fuel about one third of the time and it is far better for our use than green cottonwood. The country from the Missouri about two hundred [miles] is very fine with one exception, that is the lack of timber which is very scarce. There is not as much in 500 miles as there is on one acre of heavy timbered land. The country along the Platte above Fort Kearney is too poor for civilized inhabitants. The Platte is a peculiar stream, very wide and shallow, from ½ to 2 miles wide and not over a foot deep and the bottom a bed of loose sand. Where we crossed the south fork one hundred and fifty miles below this it was near ½ mile wide and in no place 1 foot deep. 100 miles below this we first saw the spires of the Rocky Mountains. Since that the country has been more picturesque and pleasant…Two days ago for the first [time] we saw the snow capped peaks at a distance of 110 miles. Laramie's Peak is in our view and as white as our hills in January. It is 60 miles distant from us now, we pass near its base. It is thought here that we will have a good quantity of snow in going through the pass of the mountains as the mail has not come through from Fort Hall since last November. We shall try it soon - we have not yet decided what route we shall take from here, but likely by Salt Lake…"; accompanied by another Oct. 14th 1850 Sacramento City Cal. letter from same correspondence with "Sacramento, Cal. '40' Oct 14" integral-rate cds, letter concerns Himrod's illness, a Very Fine trail letter.
Estimate    $1,000 - 1,500.

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Current Opening Bid: $625

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Lot 2013    

(Mail Routes) Jackass Route, "Sand Hill, Mo, Ap 3" manuscript postmark and 1857 3¢ dull red with pen cancels on cover to French Camp, California, "By the overland mail via fort yuma" sender's endorsement, "Due 7" handstamp to make up the transcontinental rate; tear and ink stain at right, edge tear at bottom, Very Fine.
Estimate    $500 - 750.

Carried on the Southern Overland Route (from San Antonio to San Diego on the "Jackass" route under the Birch contract if 1858, which is most likely given the reference to Fort Yuma, and from Saint Louis via Los Angeles to San Francisco on the "Oxbow" route under the Butterfield contract if 1860.

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Current Opening Bid: $240

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Lot 2014    

(Mail Routes) Overland, Via Los Angeles., illustrated six-horse stagecoach design with "Published by Randal & Co., Marysville" imprint below, on fresh yellow cover to Knightstown, Ind. franked with 1857, 10¢ green, type V tied by blue waffle grid handstamp, matching "Marysville, Cal., Dec 26" cds, Extremely Fine and choice, ex-Polland, Grunin & Jarrett; with 1981 P.F. certificate.
Scott No. 35    Estimate $3,000 - 4,000.

A TRULY EXCEPTIONAL OF THIS "OVERLAND VIA LOS ANGELES" ILLUSTRATED STAGECOACH DESIGN ON COVER.

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Current Opening Bid: $1,450

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Lot 2015    

(Mail Routes) Panama & San Francisco, May 7th, manuscript marking and "40" rate applied by temporary agent R. J. Laurensen on folded cover from San Francisco to New York City street address, sender's sailing designation "Steamer Panama 1st May" (1850); some wear & staining, Very Fine, this is the earliest Panama & San Francisco Steam Ship marking known and only one of two recorded. pictured, described and discussed in detail in Gold Rush Mail Agents to California and Their Postal Markings, 1849-1852 by Theron Wierenga, 1987.
Estimate    $1,000 - 1,500.

A HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT COVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE CALIFORNIA MAILS. THIS IS ONE OF TWO RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE MANUSCRIPT "PANAMA & SAN FRANCISCO" ROUTE AGENT'S MARKING.

This cover was carried by PMSS Panama on May 1, 1850, connecting with USMSS Georgia at Charges. This was the only trip handled by route agent R. J. Laurensen, who applied the manuscript postmark in the absence of a date stamping device.

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Current Opening Bid: $475

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Lot 2016    

(Mail Routes) "Steam Acapulco." and "Steam Panama.", two partially off at top oval "Steam Acapulco" steamship marks over "Steam Panama" handstamp, on ca. 1870 cover to Plymouth, Mass., this proves these "Steam" handstamps were applied in San Francisco not in the consular offices, "San Francisco, Cal., Aug 14" cds (Williams SAF-810) with "3" due marking, endorsed "From U.S.C. Survey, Steamer Hassler" at lower left, a concession was given to Naval personnel to send letters due which waived the ship captain's fee of 2¢ therefore a rate of 3¢ normal postage if on a federally controlled ship, Very Fine.
Estimate    $1,000 - 1,500.

THIS DUAL HANDSTAMP USAGE IS UNIQUE BASED ON THE MEYER SURVEY.

Another view of the rating on this cover is that it was not in a Federally controlled ship (this mail was carried on Pacific Steamship Company ships) and should have carried the normal 10¢ rate.

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Current Opening Bid: $475

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Lot 2017    

(Mail Routes) Steam Panama, type 1 oval handstamp and "San Francisco, Cal., 10, Oct 25" integral rate cds (Williams SAF-380) on folded letter sheet to San Francisco, Cal., docketed "San Salvador, 21 Sptre 69"; horiz file fold through postmarks, F.-V.F.
Estimate    $300 - 400.

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Current Opening Bid: $180

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Lot 2018    

(Mail Routes) Via Nicaragua, Ahead of the Mails., bold sharp strike of boxed handstamp on cover to Swan's Island, Me., franked with 1852, 3¢ brownish carmine, horizontal pair canceled by "Steam Ship" two line handstamp upon arrival in New York, reverse with clear full strike of blue "Supplied from, J.W. Sullivan's Newspaper Office, Next Door to the Post Office, Kearney St., San Francisco." oval handstamp; cover with a few light tone spots and left stamp with tiny tear at top, still a Very Fine and choice letterbag operator usage, ex-White, Emerson, Knapp & Grunin; with 1989 R.P.S. certificate.
Scott No. 11A    Estimate $1,500 - 2,000.

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Current Opening Bid: $750

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Lot 2019    

(Mail Routes) Via Nicaragua, Ahead of the Mails, Leland, exceptional strike of blue box handstamp on 1853, 6¢ Nesbitt entire to Churchville, N.Y., with additional manuscript "Via Nicaragua" routing endorsement at lower left, entered the mails with indicia canceled by bold "New York, Ship, Dec 15" cds, Extremely Fine and choice, illustrated in Coburn's Letters of Gold (page 113), ex-Barkhausen, Baker, Haas & Jarrett.
Scott No. U14    Estimate $1,000 - 1,500.

ONE OF FINEST EXAMPLE OF THE LELAND "VIA NICARAGUA" LETTERBAG OPERATOR MARKING.

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Current Opening Bid: $1,250

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Lot 2020    

(Mail Routes) Via Nicaragua, In Advance of the Mails., exceptional strike of double line oval handstamp on fresh cover to Lynchburg, Va., with additional manuscript "pr Steamer Pacific, via Nicaragua" endorsement at lower left, franked with 1851, 3¢ dull red, horizontal pair (small scuff in left stamp) tied by "New York, Oct 27" cds, Extremely Fine, illustrated in Coburn's Letters of Gold (page 93) and in the Chronicle (no. 220, page 319), ex-Jessup, Polland, Oakley, Salzer & Jarrett.
Scott No. 11A    Estimate $2,000 - 3,000.

A WONDERFUL STRIKE OF ONE OF THE RAREST "VIA NICARAGUA" MARKINGS.

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Current Opening Bid: $1,900

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Lots 2012-2020

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