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Posted Jan 22, 19 20:40 by Matthew Kewriga (mkewriga)

St. Thomas Postage Due


Cover is Steamship "Allianca" of the Third Brazil and US Steamship Line that departed St. Thomas Oct. 11th to New York. See Dubois article on the USBMSS lines (APC).

The "T" in circle is probably of period for St. Thomas, I must have notes somewhere on it. I do not actively collect post-1880, but have some 1879-80 "T" in circle uses and the attached possible EKU.


Posted Jan 22, 19 16:22 by Chip Gliedman (cgliedman)

And another one

This one used as a receiver (?) for a cover that came into San Francisco from Mexico and likely not sent further, as Chips would have likely received his mail through the San Francisco office or by WF courier to wherever he was stationed at the time.


Posted Jan 22, 19 16:17 by Chip Gliedman (cgliedman)

Wells Fargo Double Ring Datestamp

Here's an example on a cover with an 1860 docketing. And another without a year date, but likely within a year or so.




Posted Jan 22, 19 15:22 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

Danish West Indies?

second post

This is my transcript of first page of enclosed letter

On steamer All...  near St Thomas
Sunday Oct 10th

My dear wife

This is over 5th day out and
my first effort at writing I ...
keeping a daily record of trip seen
but as I have spent a greater part of
my time so far in my berth too sick
to move a hand or open my eyes.

This everlasting roll of the sea
is enough to drive one crazy a never
ceasing ... ... sea is a thing to be
enjoyed at a distance & not experienced
and yet our voige [sic] has been just
began. We arrive at St Thomas in ...
this island is held by the Dains [sic]
it is the place where all the Bay Rum
is made ... island is 16 miles wide
by 20 miles long. We have seen no ...
for 5 days so the little spat alluded
to will be a treet. Tom is stil seek and
a little house  ... with all  ...
My dear Allie there are some ....

I was unable to transcribe name of steamer. He states he was near St Thomas and writes of arriving at St Thomas and describes St Thomas Island.

Should I conclude this was mailed from St Thomas?


Posted Jan 22, 19 15:20 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

Danish West Indies?

While working on scanning accumulated covers, I have this one which may be from DWI.

The only thing on back is Minneapolis receiver. There is a very weak circular hand stamp in addressee names and the UPU "T". I bought this several years ago for the precancel and have just now started to process. So there are a couple of questions regarding determination. Is the "T" consistent with same period related DWI hand stamps?

Now why do I think it may have come from DWI? See second post.


Posted Jan 22, 19 14:46 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

USS Constitution


Thank you.

Posted Jan 22, 19 13:13 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

USS Constitution

I enclose some stamps.

Posted Jan 22, 19 13:12 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

Constitution letter

Greetings all, Is anyone able to read the first sentence of this letter?

"Monday Afternoon, Feb 20th

Dear George,

{something something something} Stamps.

Forgot to send them in my last. Father leaves for Chicago tonight. All well.

Yours in haste John"


Posted Jan 22, 19 1:38 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Wells Fargo San Francisco datestamps

Mark Metkin,

Thank you for your kind words - glad you enjoy my postings. It is fun to research my covers and share my findings.

From my collection here is the latest use that I have of that Wells Fargo San Francisco large blue double circle datestamp - from 3 June 1864. See Cover ID 20475 for details.

The transcontinental rate was reduced to 3c from 10c effective July 1, 1863. So this double rate cover must be from 1864 or later. Most likely from 1864, if later it probably would have used the next issue of 3c postal entire, which replaced it in September 1864.

Note that it took only 23 days transit to travel by steamer from San Francisco to New York via Panama.

For an earlier example of this WF SF marking (and from the same correspondence to Cold Spring Harbor, NY) when the transcontinental rate was 10c see Cover ID 20753.


Posted Jan 21, 19 19:51 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Way penalty charge

    The documentation is -- Ta! Ta! -- the PL&R. 
    A related story is the rare two cent SB fee c1860 that mystified Brer Roth.  These are hard to analyze because they are scarce and ones with content (indicating actual origin) are very rare.  But the PL&R plainly (well, actually you have to read the thing carefully) provides for the charge in the case of steamers Not plying regular postal routes.   A variant of the ship charge.

Posted Jan 21, 19 19:43 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Way fee

    The way fee (with very rare mysterious exceptions plus the Southern Anomaly) never applied to steam carriage (note there is no obvious statutory basis for this).  Calvet Hahn and Ken de Lisle realized this was going on from the beginning of contract mail on the Hudson (and the Steamboat or similar was the normal marking on such, rather than way).
But the fact that, beginning in 1842, Mobile and later New Orleans, But Not St. Louis, began charging the  one cent confused other students.  (The PMG straightened this out at the end of 1852 --  soon Mobile reverted to Steamboat for contract letters).  The NO story was, fairly well described in the New Orleans book.  Note that Ashbrook and Chase thought that the use of the two markings was indescriminate -- which was not entirely right, but closer to the truth.  I figured the correct, evolutionary explanation and spread it around -- I think that explains why Dick Graham (via Tom Alexander) was coming around.  Recently Jim Baird has published the story, basically correctly, though I disagree on a few points and he doesn't mention the pioneering studies of Hahn and de Lisle.
    So no -- the 3 cent penalty has nothing to do with the one cent way fee for horse powered carriage. 
    Note the logic of using Steamboat markings indescriminately for contract and non contract letters.  Neither of these were charged extra.  The pony letters were charged.  So it was a bit confusing to charge or not charge one cent on Way marked letters depending.  (I do have an example from Baltimore where that happened). (Letters on the Nantucket--New Bedford ferry route can be found with the extra charge -- I forget if this was in both directions -- but Nantucket called them way and New Bedford called them steam.  These are very scarce.)

Posted Jan 21, 19 19:15 by Steven M. Roth (inland waterways)

Way Fee Penalty


To clarify, isn't the penalty a postage penalty (double the unpaid postage) not a penalty affecting the WAY fee which remained 1 cent?

Posted Jan 21, 19 18:08 by Larry Bustillo (suburban)

Way Penalty


Thank You. Had never heard of such a thing. Where did you find the documentation ?

Posted Jan 21, 19 17:55 by Mark Metkin (metkin)

Wells Fargo San Francisco Handstamps

David Snow, your posts and cover descriptions are always a joy to read. I believe the San Francisco big double circle handstamp went out of use in 1863 rather than 1868. The Levy records may reflect somebody reading a year date incorrectly.

Add on: For anyone who might care, my exhibit collection of Wells Fargo transcontinental covers was sold in Schuyler Rumsey auction 6. The catalog is not available online, sadly, but it should be because the concise descriptions by the late Austin Miller are brilliant. The Wells Fargo cover on Schuyler's masthead is from my collection, you know.

Posted Jan 21, 19 17:39 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Campo Americano, and thoughts on research

Farley Katz,

Thanks for the information on Campo Americano. That book is an excellent resource.

It is refreshing that so many rare old books, otherwise unobtainable, have been scanned and available on the internet. In pre-computer days one would have to locate such a rare book in a distant library and travel there to examine it.

I recall back in the early 1980s, while doing some historical research, I wrote a polite request to a far-away library that had a copy of a certain rare book essential for my task. I offered to pay that library to make a few xerox copies of some of the appropriate pages. The unfeeling library director wrote back (with my SASE) saying forget it, that I needed to go there in person instead. Which meant a costly plane trip, so I dropped the idea. How times have changed for the better.

Posted Jan 21, 19 16:50 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Way penalty charge

As of 1 April 1855, prepayment of letter mail became requisite.  On 1 Jan 1856, this was narrowed to prepayment by postage stamps.  This was to include (Contract boat in this case) non route agent letters.  But an exception was made to non delivery without payment.  Such letters were to be delivered, but at double the three cent (or ten cent) domestic rate.
   Note that normally, fully unpaid letters were to be held for postage, which made sense for PO deposited letters where the sender was local and had a chance of learning about the defect.  This was impractical for way letters, and a concession was made.
   As an aside, Non contract steamboat letters were to be placed in stamped envelopes, like, for example, the Wells-Fargo uses.

Posted Jan 21, 19 16:32 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Campo Americano

From History of Stanislaus County, California (San Francisco: Elliott & Moore 1881), pp. 94 & 95. Available here


Posted Jan 21, 19 15:48 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Wells Fargo cont'd

Here is another use of that Wells Fargo SF double circle datestamp on a Nesbitt entire. I can make out 3 Nov in the marking, but again the year cannot be determined.

This one intrigues me because of the interesting address: Senor Don Guadelopa (?), Corona, Campo Americano, near Sonora. And the Chinese Camp WF marking.

Sonora is only 10 miles north of Chinese Camp, in Tuolumne County, in California's Mother Lode. Sonora was founded by Mexican miners—reminiscent of the state of Sonora, Mexico.

I am not sure if "Corona" was the name of the town or part of the man's name, just as I am at a loss to identify "Campo Americano", I supppose some long-forgotten mining camp, evidently near Sonora, or Chinese Camp.

I suspect that the cover was posted in San Francisco, sent to Chinese Camp, and then was routed to "Campo Americano". Thank you in advance for any comments.


Posted Jan 21, 19 15:04 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Wells Fargo San Francisco datestamps, continued

Here is the back of that Nesbitt entire. It is ex-Walske and Shaefer, and is signed by Richard Frajola. There is a "1857" written in pencil, but lacking docketing or contents, the year cannot be verified.


Posted Jan 21, 19 15:00 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Wells Fargo San Francisco datestamps

I have read with interest the recent postings on dating the large blue double circle Wells Fargo San Francisco datestamp (Leutzinger type 11-4).

This is what Richard Frajola had posted:

In my Levi records of Wells Fargo covers, I see firmly dated examples of the SFC double circle datestamp used between 1859 and 1868. Most examples can not be year dated.

So I decided to look through my collection for examples of that marking, starting with the Nesbitts, which would be the earliest such uses. Just as Richard had stated, my examples cannot be precisely year dated, since they are lacking docketing or contents.

However, this double-rate cover must be a rather early use of that SF datestamp, since it bears an imperf. 1851 3c dull red. According to the Thomas book, that particular Well Fargo printed frank (second series, type WFE-020) first came into use in early 1856.

So this possibly could be a 1856 or 1857 use based on the 3c imperf. stamp. Next post will show the back with notations.


Posted Jan 21, 19 12:36 by Larry Bustillo (suburban)



What is a penalty way letter and how can you tell ?

Posted Jan 20, 19 23:10 by Richard Taschenberg (coverzz)

Wells Fargo San Francisco Handstamps

Mark M,
Thanks. More good information. The timing of the SF Double Circles and Ovals had never registered. Looking through the post California 10c Rate envelopes in my collection, I find no SF Double Circles, only New York's. 

Posted Jan 20, 19 21:38 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

NO Way

A few months back I showed an example of the super rare penalty stampless way letter charge of 1855-63.  I had been looking for one for twenty five years or more.  Amazingly,
I just picked up another.  I think I have seen about two Baltimores and one or two New Oleans in thirty years.


Posted Jan 20, 19 18:06 by Mark Metkin (metkin)

Wells Fargo San Francisco Handstamps

Richard Taschenberg, Wells Fargo oval handstamps came into use after the big double circle handstamp in San Francisco. I presume the receiving handstamp on your cover corresponds to a ship arrival date. Possibly even an overland stage arrival date given the time frame. Either way, the company did not waste time distributing incoming letters. In New York, period newspaper accounts tell us they had a boat pull up alongside the arriving mail steamers to receive the company's letter bag, which was tossed overboard by the messenger. The company boasted that their letters were delivered before the mail steamers even docked. They might have done something similar in San Francisco.

Posted Jan 19, 19 23:46 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Carried by Favor


Thank you for your response and explanation. Now it makes sense.

Posted Jan 19, 19 21:31 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


David, That is Favrd Brother Cox

Posted Jan 19, 19 20:25 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Deciphering a directive

I am trying to decipher the directive written at lower left on this 1796 privately-carried letter. It looks something like "Hon'rd (honored) by Brother Cox", which doesn't make sense. See Cover ID 27995 for details.

I would instead expect to see wording to the effect of "Politeness of Mr. such-and-such" (whomever carried the letter), sometimes seen on other privately carried letters. For examples, see: Cover ID 2668226683, 26689 and 27991

Happily, short summaries of other letters from this Nathaniel Cushing correspondence are found on this library's website. Which explains what sort of business Cushing was involved in, and lists his correspondents. My letter is presumably from one of his brothers.

If anyone can decipher that cryptic notation at lower left on my cover, that would be great.  Thank you in advance.


Posted Jan 19, 19 19:52 by John Barwis (jbarwis)


I have an unbound North Atlantic Mail Sailings, by R.F. Winter, and will ship it at my expense to any collector with a U.S. address, provided the recipient sends a $50 donation to the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society.

For a foreign address, you pay postage in addition to the donation.

Posted Jan 19, 19 19:16 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

"The Postage-Stamp Problem"

In a long New York Times feature here


As one contributor to Bedford’s forum observed, archaeologists had told the ni-Vanuatu for decades that they were the descendants of the Lapita voyagers; now they had to go back and advise them to alter the commemorative postage stamps to feature not black people but Taiwanese aboriginals. A national self-image was not something to take lightly. “One can only feel,” one forum contributor wrote, “a collective sense of betrayal in all of this.”

Posted Jan 19, 19 18:26 by Chip Gliedman (cgliedman)


Free in the USPCS Electronic Library electronic library

Posted Jan 19, 19 18:26 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)


On Skiner Eno as far as i know there are no un-bound, we have the book in stock at $85.00

On the Cole we have the bound at $87.50 and the unbound at $60.00

[email protected]

Posted Jan 19, 19 16:17 by TOM BANE (tombane)

Skinner-Eno Postmarks-unbound version.

Can anyone tell me where I might find a copy and a ballpark figure on price?

Posted Jan 19, 19 13:39 by CJ White (cjwhite)

Postage Due

Great detective work from everyone here on the board!

I don’t think the cover is without value - there are lots of covers that have been modified in the past, and that’s out of our control. They can still tell a good postal history story. As long as you are honest about the stamps being switched.

Posted Jan 19, 19 11:22 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

Postage Due

Note that below the 3c Due there's a light pencil "J15 + J17" suggesting the J15 was lost and replaced with a J1. If it was my cover, I'd remove the J1 and find a J15 with a light smudge cancel (shouldn't be hard) to replace it. For exhibiting, a note that the J15 was replaced would be appropriate. The cover would look better with the correct stamp.

Posted Jan 19, 19 10:59 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

Postage Due

Thanks, I missed the outline.

So the simpliest explanation is someone replaced a missing stamp with a St Louis precancel for whatever reason.

So now a reverse question, should I remove the St Louis precancel stamp and note there is a missing stamp, or remove and replace with note, a missing stamp has been replaced by an equivalent stamp from same period? or do you guys relegate these kind of covers to trash?

Posted Jan 19, 19 9:43 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Postage Due

The gauge on the stamp and shadows of the stamp it evidently replaced do not match.

Posted Jan 18, 19 23:49 by Farley Katz (navalon)

Postage due

It looks like there is a "shadow" where a stamp was, just above the one cent due stamp. See attached. If so, something was moved.


Posted Jan 18, 19 21:35 by Ray Porter (rporter314)

Postage Due

I can come up with all kind of speculations how and why a 1 cent St Louis precancel (and including the possibility Shelbyville had such a precancel) would end up on a letter, but none are very satisfying. Just doesn't look right.

Thanks for looking and commenting


Posted Jan 18, 19 19:26 by CJ White (cjwhite)

Postage Due

I hesitate to say that the dues added later.  The cancel not being tied isn't an issue, since it was precanceled.  The 3¢ does appear to be tied... but I can't think of any reason this cover would be due only 3¢?  I feel like it's more likely that the 3¢ and 1¢ stamps were used together.

Postage rate for this time period should be 2¢ an ounce.  The cover is paid 16¢ - cost of an 18 ounce package.  If the cover is due 4¢ (as marked by manuscript) then it would have been a 20 ounce package, unpaid for the remaining two ounces.  That doesn't seem out of the ordinary.

The strange thing, as Ray said, the dues should have been applied at the reviecing post office (Shelbyville) - so why are they (pre)cancelled in the manner of the sending office?  Did the St. Louis office affixed the 1¢, and the Shelbyville office affixed the 3¢ on arrival?

Of course, both stamps could have been added after the fact, but that seems strange, too.  (To me, from the picture, the 3¢ due seems to be tied? Although that can be faked.)

I'd really like to see the reverse, if there are any additional postmarks/manuscript.

Posted Jan 18, 19 17:29 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

Postage Due

Ray - The one cent postage due looks like a roller precancel used in St. Louis on J1-J5. The stamp was almost certainly added, IMO.

Posted Jan 18, 19 16:54 by Ken Stach (kenstach)

Postage Due

Ray - The one cent postage due looks to have almost certainly been added. The cancel in no way ties an otherwise heavily canceled stamp.

Posted Jan 18, 19 15:59 by CJ White (cjwhite)

Re: Opinions


Your postage due cover is very interesting!  Any chance you could show a scan or picture of the back?  That might provide some more clues.

Posted Jan 18, 19 7:31 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

5¢ red error

This is Scott 505 used. A 1982 PF certificate added "red cancel." Current Scott catalog value is $600 in italics (seldom traded). My asking price is $450. SOLD


Posted Jan 18, 19 7:14 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

America-Japan 1915


The stamp appears to have gauge 12 perforations, which means it is probably Scott 378 (single-line watermark, issued in 1911), but it could be Scott 335 (double-line watermark, issued 1908). The only way to be sure would be to lift the stamp and dip it, but no postal history collector would care. Describing it as Scott 378 would be adequate. In 1913 it had already been superseded by stamps with gauge 10 perforations, the 5¢ being Scott 428.

Posted Jan 18, 19 4:07 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

America-Japan 1915

Hi-Res image of stamp.


Posted Jan 18, 19 4:06 by John Wilson (vladivohaken)

America-Japan 1915

Good morning gentlemen,
I am disposing of my "German POW in Japan" material and need your help. Knowing little about US stamp issues, how should I describe the 5c stamp on this cover? Scott ??
I am happy with the Kurume cachet and know that Bruno Rawengel was a German Marine Paymaster, but the US stamp??
Thanks for any help. I will post a 600dpi image of the stamp next.
John W.


Posted Jan 17, 19 23:15 by Thomas Lera (petitgrapon)



Been away from my computer for a couple of days. Thanks for the response.


Posted Jan 17, 19 20:12 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)


Of course, I meant to say: NOT hearing back from...

As 19th century songwriter James Bland wrote: Oh, dem golden years.

Posted Jan 17, 19 19:43 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)


Hearing back from show committee representatives is a common occurrence. A couple of years ago, the Napex website included a large-size notice that Regency would hold an auction there. By then, it was already well known that the company had gone bad and anyone consigning material to this auction might never see it again. I sent an email to the Napex 'point' person to alert them but never heard back, and the Regency announcement remained on their website almost up to the show date.

Went to Springpex several years ago and thought it was an underrated show. Numerous show circuit regulars were set up. May yet get there this year, as it could easily be tied in with Garfield-Perry the previous weekend, with a stop at APS Bellefonte in between.

Posted Jan 17, 19 19:05 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)


John B,

Thanks for the link - have already been there.

Unfortunately emails are not been answered. It's been a week.

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