Lot 30311775 (Aug. 2) Philadelphia Pa. to London, England, folded letter with Quaker dateline "Philada. 8 mo 2d 1775" from Samuel Pleasants to James Gordon in London, blockade run by ship Chalklet from Philadelphia Aug. 9th to Bristol arriving Sep. 17th, entered mails with "BRISTOL/SHIP LRE" two-line handstamp and manuscript "5" pence rating for 4d inland plus 1d ship fee, London, Very Fine early Revolutionary War ship letter from the Colonies to England through the American privateer blockade, ex-Siskin, Dr. Robertson, Walske.
Estimate $1,500 - 2,000.
THE ONLY RECORDED REVOLUTIONARY WAR BLOCKADE-RUN COVER THROUGH THE AMERICAN PRIVATEER BLOCKADE OF DELAWARE BAY.
American privateers began attacking British shipping in the Spring of 1775. As America's largest city, Philadelphia was a center of trade, so British vessels in or out of Delaware Bay offered attractive prizes. By the Summer of 1775 Royal Navy warships were patrolling the mid-Atlantic coast between Cape Henlopen and Chesapeake Bay to thwart privateer attacks.
"Fifteen large galliots carrying at their bows from 32 to 48 pounders, swivels, etc. and fifty men each, are built at Philadelphia, and are to be stationed in Delawar [sic] River about Redbank, to oppose any men of war, who may attempt to come up the river, and to defend the machines sunk in that narrow part of the river." from The Ipswich Journal, England, 23 September 1775
Delaware Bay was not under a British blockade until March 1776 when the frigate HMS Roebuck entered Delaware Bay and stood off Lewes. Despite defensive measures along the Delaware, Philadelphia was invaded and occupied in September 1777.
Lot 30321775 (Dec. 20) Bristol, England to Philadelphia Pa., folded cover to James & Drinker with sender's routing "P New York Pacquet QDC", brownish "BRISTOL" straightline backstamp and manuscript "4" pence due for 4d inland rate, London "23/DE" bishop mark backstamp and re-rated "Inall 1N4" for 1sh packet rate plus the 4d internal postage, carried by packet Swallowtail from Falmouth Jan. 9th 1776 to New York arriving Mar. 9th, carried privately to Philadelphia where manuscript "2/6" due rating in local currency (16d stg. x 180% inflation + 2d carrier fee = 30d = 2/6), and additional unusual "16d at 180 PCt" notation at bottom which must be an inflation calculation, receipt docketing "Bristol 12th & 20th Decb. 1775 from Lancelot Couper & Co."; slight wear and toning along folds, Very Fine and fascinating use.
Estimate $1,500 - 2,000.
A RARE ARMED PACKET USE THROUGH THE AMERICAN PRIVATEER BLOCKADE OF NEW YORK. ONE OF ONLY TWO RECORDED EXAMPLES CARRIED ON THIS SAILING BY PACKET "SWALLOW".
War broke out in April 1775 with the battles of Lexington and Concord. American attacks on British ships soon followed, and led to withdrawal of scheduled packet service to New York. The last Post Office packet left Falmouth on 6 October, after which the Admiralty assumed scheduling and protection of the packets.
Swallow was carrying a larger volume of mail than any previous transatlantic voyage and offloaded her mails to the HMS Asia, a 64-gun frigate in New York Harbor. Deputy PMG Foxcroft was given permission to board Asia with clerks to sort the mails, so on 19 March, Francis Dashwood (PO Secretary) and Elias Nixon were sent by the New York Committee of Safety to bring mails ashore. Agents traveled to New York to pay for and collect their town's letters from Nixon and Henricus Boel (First Clerk). The 1765 British postal rates were retained.
Lot 30331782 (Sep. 30) Philadelphia Pa. to London, England, datelined folded letter carried by private ship through the British blockade, reverse with Temple Receiving House "Payd Penny Post" triangular backstamp and "19, O'Clock" circular handstamp, docketed across face as received Feb. 12th 1783; toning and some separation, Fine and scarce Revolutionary War blockade-run use.
Estimate $300 - 400.
Lot 30341784 (Sep. 21) Naples, Two Sicilies, Italy to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, folded cover with partial black framed "Milan" postmark, carried by private ship, entered mails with manuscript "2" dwt due rating inland postage for 60-100 miles; file fold at top, Very Fine and scarce early Transatlantic cover.
Estimate $750 - 1,000.