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Posted Oct 24, 14 23:04 by Charles E. Cwiakala ([email protected])

U.S. Covers at a Japanese Auction ...

One of the largest of the Japanese public philatelic auctioneers, JAPAN STAMP COMPANY, Osaka (Michiharu Tai, a long-term ASDA member) is conducting their 158th Sale (84th Public Auction) on 4th November.

Lot 1804 in that sale is a large mixed lot of mostly better U.S. covers, to include an 1861 5¢+10¢+30¢ Cover ==> China (via Southampton), a 12¢ 1869 Cover ==> England, a ‘Mount Sterling OH’ Patriotic, a single-usage 2¢ ‘Blackjack’ ==> London, a ‘Glen Allen {Star}’ precancel Cover, etc.

The entire lot is illustrated on their WebSite: Although all in the Japanese language, their WebSite can be navigated with relative ease.

The cover illustrations can be viewed by downloading their HomePage. On the HomePage’s navigation bar, click the first button (it has 6 Japanese characters configured as XXXXX-X). This will lead you to their ‘Exhibits’ (sic) WebPage, which has 5 vertical columns of Japanese characters. Go to the last column, which has 10 HyperLinks, and click on the last entry, as denoted by: "(10) (583KB)". Scroll down to view the lot.

Auction agent services are not be available for this auction. Questions, bids, etc., can be directed to their E-Mail Address: [email protected] (their staff is fluent in the English language).

Chuck Cwiakala

Posted Oct 24, 14 17:43 by Alexander Haimann (bastamps)

Postal History from David Straight's Collection

Hello All,

David was known to many PhilaMercury Board members so I thought the following would be of interest here.

James Weigant and I are selling some covers from David Straight's postal history collection on eBay over the next several weeks - if you're interested in taking a look at what David picked out over the years - Click Here

As many of us know, David had an eye for special/unusual/esoteric material and that is definitely on display through these covers.

A portion of each sale will benefit the APS Youth Fellowship program.

Have a great weekend!


Posted Oct 24, 14 13:28 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Washington DC

Yes, "W. City Octo. 8th" rated "8"

I understand there are some early dates in Maryland archives.

Posted Oct 24, 14 12:14 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Washington DC postmark

Scott, Grover Hinds' work on the Stampless Postal History of the District of Columbia 1790-1855 puts the earliest known in July 1796 "Washington Way" but it is not in private hands Is yours a "W. City" mspt? I could not find that date in Hinds.

Posted Oct 24, 14 11:58 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Washington DC Question

Does anyone know the earliest recorded date for a Washington DC manuscript postmark?

ASCC states 2/27/1797, but I'm looking at a 10/8/1796 date.

Posted Oct 23, 14 9:35 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Richard B

The ten-cent rate included all charges for full payment to destination: 6 cents was the single rate between the US and UK, 4 cents was the single rate between the UK and France.

You are probably referring to the red "6" in crayon. This is a US credit to the UK, applied at the New York exchange office. So of the 10 cents prepaid, the US retained 4 cents: 2 cents inland postage, 2 cents sea postage.

The US retained 2 cents sea postage despite conveyance on a Cunarder, because on this sailing the Cunarder carried US contract mails.

You can see why the world needed the GPU - it eliminated a lot of accounting complexity. But for postal historians, the complexity is part of the fun.

Posted Oct 22, 14 20:43 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Richard B

Ten cent rate paid to destination by British open mail, per the US-UK 1869 Convention.

Cunard "Samaria" from Boston 14 May, ar. Queenstown 24 May, London 25 May.

Posted Oct 22, 14 19:04 by richard babcock (babcock)

Munroe cover

Can someone tell me more about this cover. Thank you


Posted Oct 22, 14 17:36 by John Barwis (jbarwis)


I may well be mistaken, but I have been unable to use Kenton & Parsons to get Gordon's letter to Scotland in a timely fashion - IF it is assumed that the PANAMA cds was applied in Panama.

The only way I could honor the UK arrival dates was if RMSP "Magdalena" carried the letter from Chagres to Southampton via St Thomas.

K&P have "Magdalena" departing St. Thomas on 17 September. whereas the PANAMA cds is 21 September. "Departure" dates can be misleading, because they may mean cleared to sail versus actually departing from the harbor. In either case it would mean that the PANAMA postmark was applied in St. Thomas.

Sounds weird, but DeVoss established that at least one PANAMA cds was applied in Kingston.

Posted Oct 22, 14 17:23 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Bob B

The manuscript "24" was possibly applied in Schenectady, since the New York exchange office had a hand stamp 24 devise that would have been used.

The "5" debit to GB for U.S. inland is a New York postmark. See Hubbard & Winter, page 369. This book, and many others, are available for viewing at

Posted Oct 22, 14 15:29 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Backof Gordon's Cover

From left to right:

Linlithgow OC 19 1854 arrival CDS
Edinburgh OC 19 1854 transit
Panama SP 21 1854 CDS (British PO)
London transit OC 18 1854

Very nice!

Posted Oct 22, 14 15:21 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

Transatlantic markings

The Jan 21 1850 cover bears 24 and 5 markings related to transatlantic carriage by Cunarder "Canada" in this case.  There is no New York transit marking on the piece, so would/could the two marks have been applied in Schenectady?
The third rate marking (1 shilling?) - is that appropriate British inland Liverpool to London in 1850?

Thanks for help,


Posted Oct 22, 14 15:12 by Don Hedger (kurlmaster)

Scotland to California Covers 1853-55

Thanks all for info on Forres (Scotland) covers ~ particularly Andrew Reid & John Barmis. Now reviewing the newspapers ( this takes some time) to find out who John C. Ross was & what he did to generate so much mail ~ have 4 covers but no enclosures Looks like Andrew has at least 1 from John C. Ross ~ back to more research Fine information again thanks

Posted Oct 22, 14 14:22 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

For info reverse of my cover


Posted Oct 22, 14 9:23 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

Thanks for all the info on and off the board re: my cover to Scotland. Much appreciated!

Posted Oct 21, 14 20:44 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

For Gordon (Reverse)

Reverse of cover to Linlithgow.


Posted Oct 21, 14 20:43 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

For Gordon (Front)


Here is another cover to the same addressee in Linlithgow, Scotland from 1857. This one went via Panama and New York.



Posted Oct 21, 14 10:32 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Gordon's cover


There is a British Agency in Panama. Note the faint Panama CDS on the October 1849 from William Nelson that I posted earlier. 

John is correct, would have gone to St.Thomas, then on to Southampton. Southampton to London, then onward to Edinburgh, thence to Linlithgow.

I have another CA to Linlithgow, would bet it is to the same addressee. Talks about how much capital needed to acquire the Sacramento Valley Railroad (then heading to Folsom) and approaches to sourcing rail more effectively if it is acquired.


Posted Oct 20, 14 23:12 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

Thanks John. I had thought that the British PO was on the East coast and it crossed Panama and then handed over?

I do not have a scan of the back the the frame is packed for the NY ASDA show. Hope to see many of you in NY!!

Posted Oct 20, 14 22:18 by John Barwis (jbarwis)


Probably handed in at the British postal agency in Panama, then via canoe and mule to Chagres, then Royal Mail Steam Packet to Southampton via St. Thomas.

Then to Edinburgh by rail via London. Linlithgow is just west of Edinburgh.

Is there a date on the back?

Posted Oct 20, 14 21:49 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

San Francisco to Panama to Scotland 1854

From San Francisco 1 Sept 1854 to Panama City on the Uncle Sam. Crossed the Isthmus to Aspinwall where it was turned over to the British post office. This letter was carried by the Independent Line but did not enter the United States Postal System. Stamps were however required.

I am not really sure of the route from Panama to Scotland. Any help is appreciated.


Posted Oct 20, 14 20:10 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

California / Panama / Scotland 1849

Opened out Panama-Scotland cover October 24, 1849 via West Indies Packet (arrived in Scotland December 4, 1849)


Posted Oct 20, 14 20:08 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

California / Panama 1849


That's what makes this material so interesting. Did you see the October 1849 cover I posted a few weeks back from Agent William Nelson in Panama sent via West Indies Steamer to Scotland. The contents were most fascinating referring to him being busy on "Packet Days" making up the mails... If not, am attaching it again.



Posted Oct 20, 14 18:26 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

1848 Circular Rate

Richard -
Johnny on the spot as always.  I stopped reading too soon.

Posted Oct 20, 14 17:18 by David Williams (dewilliams)

Cooperstown, NY to Key West via NY and Havana

I just added this cover to the census. Mailed from Cooperstown, NY with "F" grilled 3 cent issue tied by fancy negative star cancel. Because it is an "F" grill, it was most likely mailed in either 1868 or 1869. Has notation at upper left "Via New York/and Havana. Assuming this left New York City on ship to Havana and was then delivered to Key West on the return trip either via same ship or transferred to a different ship in Havana for delivery.

If 1868, two ships left NYC in July. The Missouri left July 16th, while the Eagle departed on July 23rd per the July 15th and 20th New York Times.

If 1869, the same two ships again left NYC in July. The Eagle departed on July 15th, while the Missouri departed on the 22nd.

Since the letter left Cooperstown on the 14th of July, would it have made it to the docks by the earlier of the above dates, or would it more likely gone on the later ship? Also, are there any other ship records that would indicate additional ships not listed in the NY Times, as well as ships leaving Havana in this time period?

Any thoughts appreciated!


Posted Oct 20, 14 15:30 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

1847 ACT

Bob - see page 202 that set new rates at 3 cents. PDF file here.

Posted Oct 20, 14 15:18 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

1848 Circular Rate

The circular


Posted Oct 20, 14 15:17 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

1848 Circular Rate

Need help.

Why was this circular rated 3¢?  All I can find in the 1845 rates, Section 3, states:
"That all printed ... circulars ... printed on quarto post or single cap paper, or paper not larger than single cap, folded, directed and unsealed, shall be charged with postage at the rate of two cents for each sheet, and not more, whatever be the distance the same may be sent".  And I see nothing in the 1847 and 1848 Acts to amend this language.

The printed sheet, when unfolded, is 9 3/4 by 15 1/2" (after folding, printing is on 9 3/4 by 7 3/4").  Anyone know what size a single cap sheet was?  A quarto sheet?



Posted Oct 20, 14 11:22 by Steven Chiknas (chiknas)

One that didn't get by

Here's an example where an attempt at using a bisect didn't work out as planned


Posted Oct 20, 14 10:30 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Mexico stamp


I think you misunderstand me.  But, probably because I didn't give much detail to my thoughts.

First, a more detailed scan would help others to look at the item in question.  It is not sufficient to really see.

I do not know the details of the printing of this particular stamp.  However, in the 1860's paper was wetted down and inks were mixed.  There were variables that include the wiping of the plate, dampness of the paper, consistency of the dampness of the paper, wetness/dryness of the ink, etc.  What I am saying is that it looks more like a variable with respect to the condition of the paper or ink or a combination thereof. 

Given the scan that I see, I wouldn't think it is a plate variety.  If you can show two copies that are EXACTLY identical, then you may have a point.

Probably others are better to talk about this than I am.  I just didn't want your inquiry to go without comment.


Posted Oct 20, 14 9:45 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Rob Faux - Mexican Stamp


Thanks for the response, but it's not the paper. Two of the values in this issue commonly have these blank horizontal areas, often (but not always) identical in location from stamp to stamp. Other values, printed on the same paper do not have the defects. I'm thinking its incomplete transfers where the pressure was too light to put down the image in full depth.

But are there any stamps from other countries with a similar pattern?

Farley Katz

Posted Oct 20, 14 8:55 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

re: How about from California mail

Morning all.

Between about 1846 and 1862 a family in my home town was sending letters to family members in the California gold field area.  Over the years I have seen a couple dozen envelopes sent from Rising Sun, Indiana and have been fortunate to acquire three with contents.  They carry Clarke family news sent by a sister or sister in law to a brother.  I have never seen a letter mailed in Californaia back to Rising Sun; however, they must have existed.  Has anyone seen, or better yet, have one?

Best regards,  Russ Ryle

Posted Oct 19, 14 22:06 by Steve Walske (steve w)

My Mistake


You are quite right. Both the First and Second Contracts (1842-50) had a stop at Madeira. This was also pointed out to me privately by the sage of Michigan...

It does raise a question - can anyone tell me how mail got from England to Madeira in the 1775-85 period?

Posted Oct 19, 14 21:34 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

California & RMSP


I think it depends upon which of the RMSP contracts. I believe the Second Contract from July 1846 - December 1850 had a different routing than the Third Contract that went into effect on January 1, 1851 (which initiated St. Thomas as the first stop). The January 16, 1850 cover would have stopped at Madeira and the Barbadoes. The August 14, 1851 cover would have gone to St. Thomas.

Here's an earlier example from December 31, 1845 from Glasgow to Valparaiso, Chile via West Indies Packet. This would have been under the Amended Contract of October 1842. Note the addressee is Daniel Gibb, who later headed up to San Francisco.



Posted Oct 19, 14 19:28 by Steve Walske (steve w)

West Indies Route


According to Kenton and Parsons, the RMSP steamers went directly to St Thomas (or Jamaica) from Southampton, without an intermediate stop at Madeira.

Posted Oct 19, 14 19:26 by Steve Walske (steve w)

To California, 1850

From France via Southampton to West Indies and California. 21 decimes prepaid and 30 cents due.


Posted Oct 19, 14 12:37 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

To California 1851 - Via West Indies Packet

Here is an early example of the Two Shillings and Four Pence rate that came into effect in mid-1851 for mails sent from Great Britain via West Indies Packet. The rate had been reduced Five Pence from Two Shillings and Nine Pence, but was still significantly more expensive than the rate via New York (56 Cents vs. 29 Cents.)


Posted Oct 19, 14 12:32 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

To California 1850

Here is an example from July 1850 that was sent after the "Via the United States" route was initiated in April 1850. This cover is a double-rate paying 2x the Two Shillings Five and One-Half Pence (59 Cents) rate for Four Shillings and Eleven Pence ($1.18) total. The rate was reduced significantly, to One Shilling Two and One-Half Pence (29 Cents) in 1851.


Posted Oct 19, 14 12:27 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

To California - 1850

Here is another example that was sent before it was possible to prepay mails from Great Britain to California, from January 16, 1850. The overall rate was 2 x One Shilling to Panama, then 2 x 30 cents to SF (it is a double-rate cover). Total postage was $1.08 equivalent.


Posted Oct 19, 14 11:00 by Rick Mingee (ramingee)

to California, early 1850s


One more similar example, but not to Ross. Into SF.

Those straightline PAID markings were applied at the San Francisco PO.

You asked about routing, Andrew answered most of it, but this was all Steamer mail at this time, no railroads (overland mail as a default did not start until the end of the 1850s). Steamer to Panama, Steamer to SF, manual labor and/or horses/donkeys to haul across Isthmus. Offloaded and sorted at SF, then sent to gold rush area (depending where, that was river steamer or stage, but not a long ways compared to the total route).


Posted Oct 19, 14 8:37 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

John Ross


Local newspapers published lists of letters being held to the post office for pick up. Some of these papers can be read on line for free. See for example:

Posted Oct 18, 14 23:18 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Forres, Scotland to California (1853-56)

I have several other covers from this correspondence. The addressee apparently moved around quite a lot.

From top to bottom: Covers #1, 3, and 4 sent at the 29 cent (One Shilling, Two and One-Half Pence) rate via New York and Panama. Would have gone from Forres via Liverpool and then on to New York, then on to CA via Panama.

Cover #2 went via the West Indies Packet route which cost 56 Cents (Two Shillings and Four Pence) via Southampton and Chagres. Rate is much harder to find as it is almost twice as expensive. The route would have gone via Madeira, Cape Verde, then west across the Atlantic.

Interesting group of covers. I have attached one of mine, to Georgetown, El Dorado County.

Andrew Reid


Posted Oct 18, 14 22:12 by Don Hedger (kurlmaster)

Postal Covers ~ Forres (Scotland) to Calavaras County CA

A conundrum ~ attached stampless covers were sent 1853 - 1856 to a John C. Ross or so it would appear to me. These were sent to " Murphys" which from what I know is the #5 PO est. 1851 in Calavaras County CA. ~ one indicates Sacramento City Two questions ~ who was John C. Ross? More important how did they get to this chap? From my research there were two possible ways ~ overland via stage possibly Arkansa, Texas, N.Mexico, Arizona to possibly San Francisco. This route would be most best as a northern route would possibly go through Utah & there would adverse weather on this route. The other route would be through isthmus of Panama via rail to Pacific. There doesn't appear to have any indication of who would have handled this mail but one might suspect that the gold rush was on (1848-50) and there just might have been bags of mail for those in California Can any one shed some light on these covers for me