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Posted Jul 24, 16 23:21 by David Snow (dwsnow)

H.B. Shaw

Here are follow-up reader comments on the article on the Harriet B. Shaw correspondence find, published in the Feb. 1977 issue of "1869 Times", with photo of the home and barn.


Posted Jul 24, 16 22:39 by David Snow (dwsnow)

H.B. Shaw correspondence find, continued

Here is the second and concluding page of that article in "1869 Times" reporting on the original find, circa 1910, of the famous H.B. Shaw correspondence. 

Imagine filling up the largest size sugar barrels, six of them, chock full of neatly bundled covers from that find, and shipping them as freight on the railroad, and by American Express, to the finder's home. Amazing. 

By the way, Michael Laurence wrote some great articles on "The Stamp Agent's Ledger Sheets" in "1869 Times". And John Birkinbine II and Margaret L. Wunsch were members numbers 1 and 2 of the group. Wunsch was elected first president of the group - she was awarded the APS "Champion of Champions" trophy in 1970 for her outstanding exhibit of the U.S. 1869 issue.

So when I see covers offered at auction "ex-Wunsch" I now know the pedigree.


Posted Jul 24, 16 22:32 by David Snow (dwsnow)

1869 Times

With the showing and current discussion of Michael Laurence's wonderful 1869 10c exhibit, I thought I would share an interesting two page article from the long-gone "1869 Times" quarterly publication of the U.S. 1869 Pictorial Research Associates, issue of Nov. 1976.

The article has a detailed account of the finding of the famous Harriet B. Shaw correspondence in a barn or woodshed in Alfred, Maine. My next post will have the second page of the article. It is a pity that organization (The U.S. 1869 Pictorial Research Associates) is no longer around. I am not sure why it disbanded, as its topic is so interesting. I suspect that the late Elliott Coulter was one of the driving forces behind the group.

Here is link to four covers from that fabulous H.B. Shaw find.


Posted Jul 24, 16 21:21 by Richard Drews (bear427)

10 cent 1869

This comes from the posted results:

25 33 27 4 89

A look at all the other scores for US exhibits shows the 4 out of 5 for presentation was typical for similar exhibits, but falls into low V. One point is a heavy hit in presentation for anyone.

33/35 for knowledge and research is a good score, borderline for G vs LG. Mike could have received one more point for all the census work he did and the book he published.

US exhibits were judged most harshly in treatment and importance. As a study of a single value in a very short lived series, 7 or 8 out of 10 would be a likely score. This leaves 17 or 18 out of 20 for the treatment component. A total of 25/30 is 83.33%, just in the middle of the V range. This did the most to lower the medal level. I discussed Mike's treatment with him while at Ameripex '86. It was groundbreaking at the time. He chose to organize the covers by types of use and postal system. The treatment of each individual cover also contained more postal history input than was considered acceptable for a traditional exhibit. He took the risk because it made more sense of the uses as a whole to put them in a proper context.

The rarity and condition came to 27 out of 30. This is 90%, or borderline G. While Mike had a high degree of rarity for the issue, many covers were tatty and several pieces were included along with covers with certs that disagreed about whether a stamp belonged or had been replaced. Mike's intellectual honesty may have cost him since every possible issue was there for the judges to question.

Our team gave the exhibit a total of 90 in 2006. The team was composed of John Hotchner, Jim Mazepa, Abraham Gelber of Costa Rica and me. None of us judged US this time. The one point is hard to complain about. One factor to note is that in international exhibiting your exhibit is expected to change and improve every time it is shown. If you are not advancing you are falling behind.

There were other US exhibits that dropped by 5 points. To question those scores it would be appropriate to examine the scores section by section and then compare the exhibits to see if they had changed over time or if only the judging changed.

There was much to question in the judging at NY2016, just based on the palmares and discussions with judges who were there and quite upset. I can't add much more since I declined to participate.


Posted Jul 24, 16 18:58 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

Michael's 10 cent 1869 exhibit

Michael's exhibit is wonderful with great item after great item. Not being a judge I can't say what it should have received but it certainly seemed to me to be it was on a par with other exhibits that received gold medals.

Posted Jul 24, 16 16:08 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

10c 1869

Wonderful material and exhibit. I don't know what it scored in Pacific 97, but it got 90 points in Washington and 89 in New York. Not a big difference but still means a medal level difference. I'm not a judge, but do have a hard time seeing how they took 11 points off.

Posted Jul 24, 16 15:40 by Steve Walske (steve w)

10c 1869

Beautiful exhibit, Michael! I've always liked this stamp. The attached is one of my favorites.


Posted Jul 24, 16 15:36 by Steve Walske (steve w)

NY Judging

Just as with CAPEX '87, juries occasionally decide to get "tough" with exhibits and mark them down significantly from previous awards. This is not helpful to the hobby and tends to discourage exhibiting. It took a long time for the effects of CAPEX to wear off. There are far too many exhibits that received reduced medal awards at NY. It would be interesting to hear from the jury why they adopted that approach. There are so many examples, that it must have been a systemic decision by the jury.

Posted Jul 24, 16 15:28 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

10c 1869

Richard - thanks for posting up Michael L's exhibit , what a visual treat.

This cover is the companion to his 2x ten cent rate out of Shanghai.  It's one of the first covers I ever bought as an agent, from Stan Piller 25 years or so ago.  Probably today worth three times what I paid.

The double rate cover in Mike's exhibit was formerly in the George Turner collection, which sold at a Kelleher auction.  Turner did not own the single rate cover.


Posted Jul 24, 16 15:18 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)


I know nothing beyond what i said in the posting, i have no 
idea what the expert group or judges said

I only know that one day the page was missing and it was replaced
the next day, i saw one stamp that i thought might have been the 
reason and told Michael

the stamp, was not of major significance in my opinion

I can't spot it on the Frajola posting of the exhibit, to me it stood 
out from the intense black ink


Posted Jul 24, 16 14:49 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


Which stamp? (page, location) Did the expert group advise him to get the stamp certified?

Posted Jul 24, 16 14:14 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)

10c 1869 Exhibit at NY 2016

At the show one page was pulled from the exhibit and then returned the next day.

On that page there was a single 10c stamp with a cancellation that did not look good to me, thrugh the glass, lighting, etc. etc. i can not say if it was good or bad but it was one stamp among a page of perhaps 20 single used examles, i sugested that Michael should not show that stamp but if so with a cert, in my opinin the stamp was of no significance to the exhibit and culd have been easily omitted

I do not know the outcome on the pulling or how it may have influenced the judges

as with many at NY i thought i deserved two more points


Posted Jul 24, 16 13:43 by Richard Frajola (frajola)


Ken - You are correct - golds in '86, '97 and '06.

Posted Jul 24, 16 13:37 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Gold medals


Yes, that was my recollection. I'm pretty sure the 10¢ 1869 exhibit was awarded gold medals at Ameripex 86, Pacific 97, and Washington 2006. I don't know if Michael entered it at any other internationals. I don't understand the NY 2016 large vermeil.

Posted Jul 24, 16 13:30 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Gold Medals


Michael mentioned in an email that he had been awarded nothing but golds at the several consecutive Internationals held in the US until getting a large vermeil in NYC.

Posted Jul 24, 16 12:11 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

10¢ 1869 exhibit

I believe New York 2016 marked the first time that Michael's exhibit did not earn a gold medal. If my memory serves, it won the grand award at Garfield-Perry the first time I saw it. Although I have not judged at the national or international level since 2007, I am not only qualified; I have taught judging seminars at both levels, including for the traditional class at the national level, and was certified as a chief judge. I would like someone to explain to me how that exhibit no longer merits a gold medal. What is missing? What has he failed to do properly, or sufficiently well?

Posted Jul 24, 16 10:58 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Michael Laurence Collection

I just added Michael's wonderful exhibit collection of US. 10c 1869 Issue postage stamp to the site here. It is also linked from the exhibits page.

Thank you Michael!

Posted Jul 23, 16 11:36 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

SW City Mo


Looks like SW City Mo to me ...

Posted Jul 23, 16 11:21 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

NY post office layout

Nick Kirke's Chronicle article showed the arrangement. The 1880 date is misleading. The building might not have been "completed" until 1880, but was in full flourish long before, as noted in the famous 1878 Scribner's article.

Posted Jul 23, 16 11:06 by Michael Gutman (mikeg94)

Russell Crow

Looks to me like Loudon Tennessee.

Posted Jul 23, 16 10:57 by David Handelman (davidh)

first ms


Posted Jul 23, 16 10:28 by Russell Crow (cornwall2)

Another manuscript cancel to ID

This cancel appears to be dated Dec 19 and the octagonal NYC backstamp is dated Dec 23. It looks like S. W. City and there was a PO in Missouri named South West City that opened in 1871 but the scribble after the "City" part doesn't look much like a M but with I guess it could be a MO. Thoughts?


Posted Jul 23, 16 10:18 by Russell Crow (cornwall2)

Need help to ID PO

Picture would be helpful


Posted Jul 23, 16 10:17 by Russell Crow (cornwall2)

Need help to ID cancel

I thought I would enlist the help of board members in trying to ID the manuscript cancel on this U10. It is addressed to a firm in Madisonville Tennessee which is located in Monroe County. It appears to me to be either a T or L for the state part of the manuscript cancel but I am unable to locate a match in listings for Tenn and Louisiana. I looked through PO lists for 1851 and 1857. There is a Linden TN listed in Wierenga's re-print of the 1857 PO's but unless the PM misspelled the town name this would not be it. Any help would be appreciated.

Posted Jul 23, 16 9:50 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: NYC PO buildings

Morning Farley and all,

Thanks for all of the information received both privately and on this board. It is a big help.

Still trying to fine the main floor and foreign registration room layouts for the 1880 building and The Farley Building. I hope to see how may clerk stations were in each for various functions.

Best regards, Russ Ryle

Posted Jul 20, 16 16:14 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)


Excerpt from a 1921 edition of Old and Sold, the  Antiques Digest, titled Wall Street Ninety Years Ago.  This is a somewhat hard to follow in 2016 walking tour of the 1921 buildings on Wall Street, which eventually gets to what I was recalling earlier:
"In 1789 the house on the southwest corner of William Street, then No. 8 Wall Street, was the New York post-office, and residence of the postmaster, Colonel Sebastian Bauman (given by Stets as Beauman, replacing William Bedlow), a Revolutionary soldier, who received his appointment from President Washington.  He held the office till 1803.  In 1799, the postoffice having moved to 29 William Street, corner of Garden Street (Exchange Place) we find the old building in the possession of B. M. Mumford, merchant."

Let me know if this reminiscence stands up to current understanding.

Posted Jul 20, 16 13:06 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

Smith Street/William Street

Just got internet back after a major outage due to overnight storms.  My understanding is that either the first or second U.S. post office in New York City was in a pre-existing building at the corner of William Street (and Exchange???).  Somewhere in my Mumford files is a history of Old New York which states that the building was owned by Benjamin Mumford.  Mumford graduated Yale in 1790 and set up in NYC as a maritime insurance broker at the Tontine. 
I would have thought the old British post office in NYC would have been taken over in 1783.  Thus the William Street building would have been a subsequent location, and my guess is Mumford bought it when the NYPO moved out.
I will dig out whatever details I can find if this is still an open thread - just let me know off board.

Posted Jul 18, 16 22:15 by Farley Katz (navalon)

NY Main Post Office Building

Looks like the Main PO was located in the 1880 building until 1914 when it was moved across from Penn Station now the James A. Farley Post Office Building

Posted Jul 18, 16 20:53 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: NYC post office

Bill and all,

Where did the NYC GPO move to after the location shown in 1878? Any image or floor plan available?

Best regards,

Russ Ryle

Posted Jul 18, 16 17:51 by Ross Towle (rosstowle)

Smith Street

According to

Smith Street (1). (M17-L18) Now William Street between Hanover Square and Maiden Lane. It was called Smee Straet, referring to a forge or smithy, on the de Sille list and Smit Straet on the Selyns list. When Smith Street was extended in the early 18th Century, the new part was named William Street. A further extension was called King George Street. In 1794 Smith, William and King George Streets were combined under the name William Street.

Posted Jul 18, 16 17:49 by Mike Ludeman (mml1942)

Smith Street


Thanks for the additional information off-line. Once again PhilaMercury proves it is the best!


According to my source, Smith Street became the south end of William Street.

I found the attached map in wikipedia, dated 1776 (from map collection at Boston Public Library). Smith Street is two/three streets to the right of Broadway. No idea how the blocks were numbered.


Posted Jul 18, 16 16:40 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Smith Street

I lived in New York for 16 years, and Smith Street did not sound familiar to me.
There is a Smith Street in Brooklyn, but none currently in Manhattan.

The street name probably was changed at some point, not uncommon for the streets in lower Manhattan.

Posted Jul 18, 16 14:33 by Tim O'Connor (drtimo)


Mike.....Years ago, Geoff Dunlap forwarded to me a link to a NY Times piece about the opening of the NY PO 3d after the British departed in 1783. The location was stated to be 38 Smith st. At this moment the link doesn't open, but I can forward it to you if you like. When I get off island (Maine), I'll get into my library to try to delve back further. Tim

Posted Jul 18, 16 8:21 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Bermuda Books

John Wilson is right that Flynn's Bermuda book is indispensable for WW2 air mail and postal history buffs. Another notable reference for the development of trans-Atlantic air mail is Bermuda by Air  by Charles E. Cwiakala (written by the current CCC president, but not published by CCC). Perhaps Chuck can arrange for his book to become an on-line resource too.