Lot 2021"Estill & Co Express", manuscript endorsement on 1850 buff cover from along the overland trail addressed to Oskaloosa, Iowa, entered mails with "Weston Mo. Aug 16" cds and matching red "10" cents due handstamp, pencil "Jun 19 - 50" origin and manuscript "Received August 26th 1850" receipt docketing on reverse reveals a rather lengthy ten-day delay from Weston to Oskaloosa; few minor stains and cosmetic repairs, still Very Fine for a journey in a saddle bag.
Estimate $5,000 - 7,500.
ONE OF ONLY SIX RECORDED COVERS ALL FROM THE ONE TRIP ARE KNOWN, TWO OF WHICH ARE ENSCONCED IN THE WELLS FARGO HISTORY ROOM WILTSEE COLLECTION.
Colonel James M. Estill made a single round-trip on the Oregon-to-California Trail between Weston, Missouri and Pacific Spring, in the Sweetwater River Valley of present day Wyoming. His idea was to promote a transcontinental express service in lieu of the US mail by collecting the mail along the emigrant trail for a fee of 50¢ per letter. Estill reportedly deposited 4000 letters into the US mail system at Weston, Missouri on Aug 16, 1850. Only a handful of Estill Express covers are known to survive, all sent collect 10¢. Accompanied by scanned newspaper clippings concerning the company and fees.
References: Pictured in Winter's "Nebraska Territory Postal History" on page 48.