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Posted Mar 19, 19 8:59 by Stephen T. Taylor (UK) (stevetayloruk)

Garfield Perry Cleveland

Just back from Cleveland and wanted to thank Matt and all the other volunteers who ensure this continues to be one of the best postal history shows Stateside. The new show location, near CLE airport in Strongsville, is the best in the 16 years I've done that show and I heard similar comments from dealers and collectors - and not one complaint. Looking forward to seeing the Classics Society meet there in 2020. The show makes dealers feel appreciated - each of us received a "thank you" card signed by club members and candy bars every morning... Steve

Posted Mar 19, 19 0:22 by Winston Sinclair (sinclair2010)

Lake View Water Cure

I would think that the owner of the cover in ca. 1938 knew what he had but I can't be certain of that. Ashbrook never made any notes on the cover other than the plate position. I bought the cover on ebay and before that it was in a large cover lot from a Kelliher auction. It has certainly been a long time since it was appreciated for what it is.

Posted Mar 18, 19 18:16 by Mark Rogers (markrogers)

1c Chicago Perf Cover

To the best of my knowledge, the location of this cover has not been known (at least generally), since Ashbrook examined it. That would have been 1938 or earlier.

It is in Wilson Hulme's census, but Wilson didn't have any new information, and clearly just used Ashbrook's photo and text as the source of information on the item.

Posted Mar 18, 19 11:31 by Jim Baird (bairdo)

Auction Catalogs Wanted

I am in search of a run of Robert Lowenthal Co. auction catalogs; precursors to Henry Spelman's auctions.  Full run is 1-24.

Others,as well. My interest is just US postal history excluding Confederate. RAS, SR, Frajola I have.

Cash paid, of course.

Thank you.

Posted Mar 18, 19 2:27 by Matthew Liebson (liebson)

A slightly belated congrats to Mark Schwartz for his grand at the March Party for his Salem Postal History exhibit; Greg Shoults took the reserve with "Washington & Franklin Flat Plate and Rotary Press Coils and their Coil Waste Issues from 1910 to 1922".  Single frame grand went to Hal Vogel's "Great Britain's Greatest Irish Polar Expeditioner".

The reviews for the new hotel-based venue are virtually all positive.  We look forward to hosting the Classics Society next year!

Posted Mar 17, 19 16:38 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

New Exhibits Added

Two new exhibits from Michael Mahler just linked and uploaded:

California Blues

Thar She Blows

Thank you,

Posted Mar 17, 19 13:45 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

WOW! Winston S' Amazing Chicago Perf Cover


Congrats and thank you for sharing your wonderful cover ..... in my opinion, this may be the best of the four known. Of all the many One Cent 1851 - 57 covers I have owned over the past 45 years I never had a Chicago perf cover.

Obviously, it is very pretty ...... in addition I think it is so cool that the stamp, despite the "new perforations" was still cut apart with scissors. Guess the old habits were in place or they did not trust the new-fangled idea of perforations.

For the One Cent collector, the stamp, 48R2, is also very special. It is one of the top four major double transfers positions that exist on Plate II. Your example displays clearly the major double transfer in the lower label that encloses "ONE CENT." In its own right, it is also one of the best examples extant.

Do you have any of the history and or provenance that you could share with us?


Posted Mar 17, 19 11:58 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

John Olenkiewicz Sale

Yesterday I linked my new sale of material from the John Olenkiwicz collection from my "Sales" page. A direct link is here. The sale has several very comprehensive townmark collections attractively priced as well as several interesting individual lots.

Posted Mar 17, 19 6:35 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Bob Chandler

I was very sorry to learn of the passing of Bob Chandler. He was a true gentleman and always encouraged me in my research on Western covers and gave me much assistance. He was positive and upbeat. And his sense of humor was wonderful. I especially remember when he told me about Emperor Norton I, the self-proclaimed  Emperor of the U.S. and Protector of Mexico, an eccentric character who lived in San Francisco in the 19th Century. I have many happy memories about the colorful stories Bob would tell, and the meals and companionship I shared with Bob and his wife Sue. And his excellent articles in Western Express were a delight to read.

Here is a picture of us at WESTPEX in April 2006. From left to right, Bill Tatham, myself and Bob Chandler. I will miss you, Bob. May he rest in peace.

-David Snow


Posted Mar 17, 19 1:55 by Winston Sinclair (sinclair2010)

Lake View Water Cure

The stamp.


Posted Mar 17, 19 1:55 by Winston Sinclair (sinclair2010)

Lake View Water Cure

The contents.


Posted Mar 17, 19 1:53 by Winston Sinclair (sinclair2010)

80 Years Later

It has been a little over 80 years since Ashbrook, in Vol. 2 of his book, The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851-1857, spoke of the existence of a 1c Chicago perf stamp on a Chicago area circular. That report, on pg. 26, is all that we have had to prove the existence of the cover, one of four known. I am happy to be able to confirm that the cover still exists. I present the Lake View Water Cure circular.


Posted Mar 16, 19 22:00 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Perhaps one of our British members can say when mail between the British Empire and France was suspended, if it was. Charles LaBlonde has taught me that British and United States policy differed. The Brits preferred to read mail as a source of intelligence. American authorities regarded security as more important. Thus the United States suspended mail to and through France as soon as German forces occupied all of France, but Britain continued to send letters across France and through German censorship to and from Switzerland.

Posted Mar 16, 19 21:49 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

WWII Hong Kong Mystery

Ken and Louis-

Thank you both very much for helpful information.  There are still unanswered questions, however, relating to the fact that the cover made it out of Hong Kong at all.  Great Britain had broken diplomatic relations with Vichy France in July of 1940.  Am I wrong in thinking that this break in relations would have resulted in the interruption of mail service to France from Great Britain and its colonies? 

I discovered this morning  that, strangely enough,  Australia maintained full diplomatic relations with Vichy France to  the end of the Vichy France regime. Perhaps the local Hong Kong postal officials allowed the cover to travel to France  via Australia?

As a practical matter, the German occupation of northern France, including Nantes, in June of 1940 was hardly a secret.  It seems unusual that someone from Hong Kong would send a letter to a French military officer (presumably a Vietnamese in the French army) in Nantes knowing that the city had been occupied by the Germans. Stranger things have happened, of course, which is why this hobby is so much fun.

Perhaps I can dig up some information on the addressee.....

Posted Mar 16, 19 20:33 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

I took South Zone to be a reference to a Vichy destination, but evidently it was a reference to the port of Marseilles arrival.

Posted Mar 16, 19 19:19 by Louis Fiset (louisfiset)

WWII Hong Kong Mystery

Nantes was located in the part of France occupied by German forces in June 1940.  The letter got as far as Marseille, where it was eventually handstamped for return to sender.  It was set aside there with all incoming international mail from non-Axis countries.  At the time of this letter, Germany had not yet officially suspended French postal relations, which occurred on September 5, 1941 (Postal Bulletin 18278).  After this and over the next month all accumulated mail for occupied France from the west was returned by ship to New York.  Because transpacific shipping was no longer available, this Hong Kong cover could go no further and remained in New York.  On November 3, 1944 letter mail service resumed to Nantes (PB 18769) and most of the rest of France.  Sometime after that the letter made a final Atlantic crossing and was delivered.  An interesting item!

Posted Mar 16, 19 11:58 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Hong Kong cover

The cover was addressed to unoccupied Vichy France, not to a belligerent country. After being examined by a British censor it was sent there. Much but not all mail to Vichy France from non-Axis countries was not delivered and marked return to sender. By the time your cover was returned (after 12 December 1941), the United States had entered the war. The number on the cellophane tape seal was assigned to a United States Office of Censorship examiner at New York. By then it could not have been returned to Hong Kong, so it was probably held at New York until after that part of France was liberated, and then returned to France for delivery as soon as postal service was restored.

Posted Mar 16, 19 4:23 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

WWII Hong Kong Mystery

The reverse.


Posted Mar 16, 19 4:23 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

WWII Hong Kong Mystery

Shown below is the front of a Hong Kong cover mailed to Nantes, Frances on Jan. 30, 1941 from Hong Kong.  This cover poses a mystery, at least to me.  At the time this cover was mailed, Nantes had been occupied by the Germans (as of June 19, 1940), and Great Britain had broken diplomatic relations with Vichy France (as of July 8, 1940).  The first mystery is why this cover ever made it out of Hong Kong. I would have expected the cover to have been marked as undeliverable by the Hong Kong PO and then returned to the sender.  But that did not happen.

We know that the cover made it to France, based on the French instructional marking directing that the cover be returned to the sender, due to the interruption of postal service.  Is it possible to identify where this marking was applied? Or the date on which it was applied?  It is possible that it took the cover quite a bit of time to make its way from Hong Kong to France.  Such a conclusion is indirectly supported by the fact that the cover appears to not have been returned to Hong Kong before Hong Kong was occupied by the Japanese. 

What happened to the cover after it was marked "retour a l'envoyeur" ?  That is also a bit of a mystery, at least to me.  Someone marked in pencil on the front of the cover that it was "delayed in France (South Zone) delivered Jan 1945".   Unless the person making the pencil notation had personal knowledge that the cover was delivered in January of 1945, I don't see how they would know when the cover was delivered.  But I may be missing something.

The fact that there is clear  "scotch tape"  censor tape on the right side of the cover supports the conclusion that the cover  was never returned to Hong Kong before it was occupied by the Japanese.  It is my understanding that this type of censor tape did not come into use until later in WWII, after 1941.  I don't know the exact date this type of censor tape came into use. Perhaps someone here knows. Had the cover been returned to Hong Kong before the Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong, I doubt that the cover would have had this type of censor tape applied.

So what happened to the cover after it was marked  "retour a l'envoyeur"?   Was it held in France and delivered to Nantes in 1945?   If anyone can help answer that question, please comment.  I am stumped.


Posted Mar 16, 19 4:22 by Douglas Chapman (foodrev)

Bob Chandler

I spoke with Ken Stach today. He informed me of Bob's passing. He was the nicest, wittiest, most knowledgeable being on this or any other planet.

Bob Chandler was responsible for finding the "Yankton Trilogy" of 6 covers. Ken acquired them from him--for a donation only if I recall correctly--and I acquired them from Ken at his cost.

They constitute one of my real treasures. And I always spoke with Bob about that set. It helped determine the dating of the 3 spellings of the first Dakota Territory capital PMs.

He also helped with my inquiry just last fall about the location and any info on Fort Bishop in the Southern Mines area--my newest interest.

Sympathies to Sue.

Posted Mar 15, 19 20:57 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Seals and the big spying operation at London

The key to the British spying operation at St. Martins le Grand was a family operation that could rapidly reproduce the seals that were  being violated.  There was one hour to identify, open, record and reseal material of interest.  There are a few copies of private correspondence from America in the GPO records of 1775 that I suspect wer recorded in this manner.  When Parliament found out about this c1829, there was as big brouhaha and controls were put on.

Posted Mar 15, 19 20:51 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Deutsch marking

Or SEPT.10:78 (PS I did not see Steve's posting -- this is a minor variant.)

Posted Mar 15, 19 17:13 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Bob Chandler

What a shock to wake up this morning and read about Bob Chandler. One of the nicest and most helpful people on this planet. At the final Taos gathering, I wore a Levi shirt that depicted logos from various world's fairs. I asked Bob about it, and with a bit of research, he dated it to 1976, based on the design and the collar label.

Rest in Peace. You will be missed.

Posted Mar 15, 19 14:11 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Wafer Seals

Considering that some senders affixed early adhesive stamps with wafer seals, I think the practice of moistening adhesives by licking was not a habit in the pre-stamp era. Also, when George Snow patented his stamp-affixing machine in 1858, part of the design consisted of a moistener that dampened the letter or envelope onto which the stamp was subsequently affixed. That the seal manufacturers used isinglass along with toxic minerals suggests to me that no one expected them to be licked.

I think stamp gum became inviting to lick after the switch to corn and sweet-potato dextrin. Has anything been published on this subject?

Posted Mar 15, 19 3:50 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)

wafer application

I propose the sealing methodology was to lick the paper and place the dry seal between the two moist layers, applying the tool to the sandwich. Getting a seal off your tongue to wet the other side seems to be contraindicated by the composition of the seal. I suspect the paper tasted better than the seal in most instances.

Posted Mar 15, 19 3:42 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Antique sealing wax and wafer kit

Here is a wafer and sealing wax kit manufactured in London, circa 1825.

The green label says: "R. Rowney's Portable Box of Superior Pens, Wafers and Sealing Wax, 106 Hatton Garden London". The metal parts are various pen ink tips. Not sure what the gray balls (like marbles) were used for, nestled with the reddish-brown sealing wax sticks.

This must have been very familar to clerks of the 19th century.

Also see this link on sealing wax, wafers and proper etiquette.


Posted Mar 15, 19 3:28 by David Snow (dwsnow)

wafer seal tools

Here are some wafer seal tools, with the distinctive cross-hatched pattern, that was pressed into the paper to help it bite into the moisture softened wafer seal (made of paste). So no candle heat was required, unlike wax seals.


Posted Mar 15, 19 3:14 by David Snow (dwsnow)

wafer seal manufacture

Here is information on wafer seals.

Source: "Charles Tomlinson Cyclopedia of Useful Arts of 1866".


Posted Mar 15, 19 3:12 by David Snow (dwsnow)

wafer seals continued

Here is a summary of what I have learned. Next post will show a contemporary source.


Posted Mar 15, 19 3:10 by David Snow (dwsnow)

wafer seals

I would like to share some information I uncovered while researching the ubiquitous wafer seals found on many covers from the 1840s to 1860s. As shown here on the backs of two folded letters from 1845. Next post will summarize my findings.


Posted Mar 15, 19 1:40 by Rick Mingee (ramingee)

For Bob Chandler

Thank you all for the great comments below regarding Bob. I will add that Bob forgot more than I will ever know about this hobby we all love. I am grateful that we co-staffed the WCS booth last Westpex (2018) and were able to tell a few stories and recruit some new members.

News like this takes a small piece of your soul. You will be forever missed Bob.

Rick (VP Western Cover Society)

Posted Mar 15, 19 0:40 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

Classic Nepal

Just received my Harmer's catalogue for Richard's upcoming Classic Nepal sale. What an incredible treasure trove of information on these (to say the least) confusing issues. Congratulations !

Posted Mar 15, 19 0:24 by Len McMaster (pegnlen)

Deutsch marking, Lightning

Bernard Biales, Steven Chikna, Farley Katz … thanks for the detective work

Posted Mar 14, 19 23:32 by joe kirker (centuryc3)

Once again updating the 3-stamp regular issue use (adding to 24 cents) on either the pink or blue etiquettes for the May 15, 1918 flights, as in the pictured cover sold just this week by Siegels. Also seeking any off-cover examples of either size type label, as well as uses with solo C3 Jennies. Off board contact is fine. Thanks---Joe


Posted Mar 14, 19 22:52 by Russell Crow (cornwall2)

Bob Chandler

I had the good fortune and privilege to correspond and speak with Bob a few years back about a collection of letters I had purchased from a NYC auction firm (RSAG). The correspondence pertained to the Thornton family that moved from Alabama to California before the Civil War and one of the sons left his position in the California state legislature and joined the Confederacy. Bob shared a copious amount of information about the family. He sent me a huge packet of information relating to the folks involved and a copy of his Wells Fargo history publication. The Wells Fargo connection was one that we discussed because my late brother had worked for Wachovia Bank which was taken over by Wells Fargo as Wachovia was imploding from their take over of Golden West Bank. We spoke several times on the phone and he was so congenial and friendly and it was always a great learning experience for me. As Richard said, a large part of the love of postal history is the people you meet along the way and that is so true (it is spot on). Breaking bread and enjoying one's favorite drink while swapping stories and information is extremely pleasing to one's soul. Bob many thanks for enriching my life.

Posted Mar 14, 19 22:41 by Farley Katz (navalon)


You still have decent eyes, Steve.

Here it is; a mechanical stopper for beer and other bottles


Posted Mar 14, 19 22:31 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas1)


Try Pat. SEPT 10 '78

Posted Mar 14, 19 21:29 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Deutsch Marking

I think it reads LIGHTNING / PAT. SECTION 8

Dunno what that means.

Added: U.S. Constitution, Art. I, Section 8, Clause 8, grants Congress the power to grant patents for inventions.

Posted Mar 14, 19 20:51 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Deutsch marking

I would guess a cork from a bottle of patent (medicine?)

Posted Mar 14, 19 20:43 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Bob Chandler RIP

Postal history collecting really is about some of the great people we meet ... Bob may be remembered by some of the board members who attended the TPR in 2008 as the "Singing PMSS Sailor" who entertained us with song and dance along with his history lesson on the Pacific Mail Steamship Company.

This picture below includes (seated, left to right) Sue Chandler, Bob Chandler and the late Oscar Thomas. Standing in the shadows is David Savadge.

Bob was one of the best ones and will be missed by all who knew him!


Posted Mar 14, 19 20:23 by Barry Elkins (elkman3)

s. & b.f. r.r.

thank you!  looks like I need to acquire another reference book or two.

Posted Mar 14, 19 19:58 by Len McMaster (pegnlen)

S. & B. F. / R. R.

Towle, United States Railroad Postmarks 1861 - 1886

Posted Mar 14, 19 19:37 by Mark Metkin (metkin)

Doc Chandler

Like Ron said. Sad news about Bob's passing. For any western cover collectors who haven't seen it, here is a lovely tribute by Fred Holabird (paper ephemera and antiquities dealer) who was another of Bob's friends.

One of my best friends in life, Bob Chandler, died last night. I felt it in my sleep.

Dr. Robert Chandler, "Bob" to everybody, was a historian for the Wells Fargo Bank History Department for decades. I met Bob about 1980 through Doug McDonald, and we were best friends forever more.

Bob was a unique historian - one with a tremendous sense of humor, wit and an uncanny ability to tell stories. His specialties were certainly the Express business, but also Gold Rush monetary systems and California in the Civil War.

Our first mutual project was going to be a Wells Fargo display in Reno in 1983. We built cases, got everything ready, then the economy tanked, and we shelved the project.

My own passion for collecting rare western documents led to many discussions, as we learned things together about the western financial systems during and just after the Gold Rush and the Comstock rush. We wrote a number of short papers together on these matters, perhaps best summarized in one of our sales catalogs where we typed and listed western exchanges, and more. We got on a big roll with the Totheroh catalog, where Bob wrote several papers, including an important one that got left out for no reason by the company owner at the time.

Meanwhile, Bob had papers published in nearly every western historical journal, and gave well over 100 talks to various groups -maybe even 200!

At Wells Fargo, he shined. He constantly worked on advertising campaigns to be sure the information was well written (he wrote much of it himself), and properly well illustrated. He was a consummate historian, helping any of us who needed quality research that only he had access to. He was also a die-hard supporter of Bank President Anderson's "NO TRADE" policy of items within the Collection, of which some collectors were always after.

At home, I have a rubber cockroach named "Archie". I don't remember how in the heck it started, but Bob started talking about his pet cockroach Archie, and I adopted him ever since.

Bob and I shared a tremendous passion for western history. He, and he alone, was unarguably my biggest supporter through time, always pushing me, always encouraging me to make moves never done before. He was one of several people that were on my permanent "Peer Review" committee for my papers, and I on his.

When I ran mines, we often compared the historical systems of gold and money flow in antiquaria to today's systems. This led to a rather unique experience for me that in turn led Bob to recommend me for work on the SS Central America Project, for which I am forever grateful.

Just a month ago, he encouraged me to continue his work on GT Brown and write a paper on the competition between Brown and Britton & Rey, which I will do. Back in the early 1980's, it was Chandler who introduced me to Brown and I proceeded to find more Brown stuff for him and other collectors than is known today.

In later years, I visited Bob every chance I got in San Francisco. As I worked for various banks there and law firms on important historical projects, we'd share secrets, and of course lunch. Bob walked the streets of the financial district in his black top hat and bright red vest, a true "E Clampus Vitus" outfit!. He was so well known that local comic strip writers often included his persona in the comics of the Examiner.

In my world of western history, no other person had a greater impact on my life than Bob Chandler. God Bless Him!

We all - all of us - owe a great debt of gratitude to Bob. Never forget his humor. Never forget his depth of knowledge. Never forget his wit and charm. Never forget his love and charity.

RIP friend Bob! Fred N. Holabird


Posted Mar 14, 19 19:18 by Cary Johnson (fastmail)

S & B.F. R.R.

Towle 35-I-1 Springfield and Bellows Falls RR 84 miles

Connecticut River-Central Vermont-Vermont Valley RR

Banknote period Scarcity II

Posted Mar 14, 19 17:38 by Barry Elkins (elkman3)

s & bf rr postmark

I recently picked up a cover with an "S. & B.F. R.R." postmark.  It's on an embossed envelope with a 3c Banknote, possibly grilled stamp.  I can't find any references to the marking.  Can anyone help?  Thanks in advance.


Posted Mar 14, 19 17:34 by Len McMaster (pegnlen)

3rd class mail from E. Deutsch & Co. with unknown

I recently obtained a 3rd class mail cover with what was suggested to be a “security mark” tying the stamp to the cover, the likes of which I have never seen before. The mail is from E. Deutsch & Co. in New York with a receiving backstamp dated Jul 19, 1899 (photo uploaded). Tying the stamp, in addition to the double oval New York 3rd class mail cancel, is a handstamp with lettering in a 15 mm diameter circle—the lettering, in mirror image, appears to be “LIGHTNING” around the top, “PAT. xxxxxxx78” around the bottom, and a “3” in the middle. Has anyone ever seen anything like this?


Posted Mar 14, 19 17:16 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

The Passing of Dr. Robert Chandler

It is with great sadness I have to post the passing last night of my good friend Bob Chandler ..... one of the finest historians, philatelists and for many decades the historian of the Wells Fargo collection and museum in San Francisco. Bob had gallantly fought an 18 month battle with cancer.

Exactly two weeks ago, knowing the time was near, I called Bob and had a wonderful 15-minute conversation with him. We spoke of a number of things ...... he was sharp with clear memories and still exhibiting his keen sense of humor. It was evident he was at peace with what was to come. I thanked him for having made such a positive impact on so many people ..... something to be very proud of.

His expertise spans many aspects of the history of the West and specifically early California. The vast number of writings that he leaves behind speak to the extent of that knowledge. Closer to home, Bob was a monumental figure in the Western Cover Society and philately in general.

Death is inevitable but knowing that does not make it easier to accept that so many people will be deprived of Bob's humor and contributions to understanding the history of our country.

You will be missed by so many of us..................... myself especially. RIP.

Posted Mar 14, 19 15:33 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

While the board was down this wrapper sold for $6,056 plus shipping. Not a rival to the Rush cover, but pushing up mid-20th century air mail postal history.


Posted Mar 14, 19 14:32 by Michael Gutman (mikeg94)

Stapleton, Staten Island, New York

I am trying to determine the period of usage for this single line dated handstamp. I have covers that range from May 10, (1847) to September 22, (1847), total of 8 covers. If you have one or more would appreciate info on date and year and any other markings on the cover. Please respond off board. Thanks in advance.


Posted Mar 14, 19 13:37 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Board Functions Operative Now

Reported back today: "issues that you reported with your web site,, have been addressed and resolved."

Both census and board can now load images again. The time stamp will hopefully get sorted out today so it will show EST again.

Below Revolutionary War letter Lisbon, CT to Norwich CT in 1778 from Asa Waterman (Capt and Asst. Commissary of Purchases) sending instructions for rum delivery and payment. Newspaper reports from earlier in June mention that a shipment of rum from Jamaica had recently been brought into New London from a privateer capture made by CT whalemen.


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