Details For Cover ID# 26167

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Cover Type: USA domestic stampless
Entered by: dwsnow
Added on:Sep 5, 17
Edited on:Sep 6, 17
Postmark: Jan 6, 1791
Origin: New York, New York, UNITED STATES
Destination: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, UNITED STATES

"NEW - YORK. Jan 6" 38 x 5mm straight line postmark on folded letter datelined "New York 6th Jany 1791" to Philadelphia, with manuscript ""2.16" (2 dwt, 16 gr) rating. Manuscript directive "Post".

Rates set by Congress in 1788, 60 to 100 miles miles inland rate, 1 pennyweight, 8 grains per letter sheet. Since the contents mention that two Bills of Lading were enclosed, this must be a double rate. The dwt gr. (pennyweight and grains) system of weights was not actually used to pay the rates - that was "money of account" and mostly paper currency was used with fluctuating discounts.

At upper left is manuscript "1/4" as payment due. The colonial currency traded at a discount to British sterling, in this case the Pennsylvania multiplier was 5/3. For example, 5 Pa. pence were worth 3 British pence (sterling). This is a double rate letter rated at 2 dwt. 16 grains = 8 pence x 5/3 = 13.33, rounded up to 14 pence local currency. Equal to 1 shilling and 2 pence to which is added the local carrier fee of 2 pence, and thus the total is 1 shilling and 4 pence (Pa.). Information courtesy of Tom Mazza and Bernard Biales.

Transcript of letter: "Gentlemen/ Enclosed you have Two Bills of loading for Three hundred & thirty-three half joannes shipped by your order on Board the ship Peggey Captain Rbt. Allardice to Geo. Dawson Esq. St. Georges Grenada. which I wish safe to his _____, the Peggey will leave this port tomorrow morning; We debit you with 10 Pounds, 13 (shillings), 1 (pence) New York currency  which we paid for freight. The draft was on Mrs. Morris the actress. I am sorry you had so much trouble about it, but I hope you have got the money from her, I wrote you yesterday to which please refer. I have sectioned (?) part of the vessels bound to Britain and Ireland . . ."

The "half joannes" referred to in the shipment are gold coins of Portugal and Brazil, each piece worth 6,400 Reis. This coin was heavier than a Spanish gold half doubloon (4 escudos), and worth 4 shillings more. Evidently it was quite a valuable shipment of gold specie.

Owner's ID: 1628
Certificate? No
For Sale? No
Stampless? Yes