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The Brandon Collection of Confederate States, Part 2 continued...

Across-the-Lines Express Mail and First Day Postal System
Lot Sym. Lot Description  
55 c ImageAdams Express Co. N.Y. Blue double-circle handstamp without date, matching "Paid" in oval handstamp on folded letter from Paris, France, to New Orleans, datelined "Paris, 10th May 1861", docketed with May 28 receipt date, uncancelled 3c Dull Red, Ty. III (26) tied by filing crease at lower left, letter mentions possibility of letters being detained at New York, backflap patched and small mended hole to the right of stamp, Fine appearance, extremely scarce transatlantic letter sent from New York City to New Orleans by Adams Express during the precursor period when disruptions in mail routes prompted correspondents to use Adams to forward letters, Special Routes Census No. S-PRE-8 (Image)

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E. $ 750-1,000

SOLD for $800.00
Will close during Public Auction
56 c ImageFrom the Adams Express Company, Louisville, Ky. Perfect strike of large double-line double-circle handstamp on 3c Red on Buff Nesbitt entire (U10) to Daniel Kingsbury in Cincinnati O., pencil "Pd 25 Deliver at once/Important" express agent's notation, sealed tear at upper right corner thru embossed stamp (barely noticeable), otherwise Very Fine, a remarkably clear strike of this rare Adams Express marking, only three examples are recorded, it was used briefly in June 1861 just before Adams began advertising its North-to-South express service, the cover probably originated south of Louisville, unlisted in Special Routes census, with 1973 C.S.A. certificate (Image)

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E. $ 1,000-1,500

SOLD for $1,200.00
Will close during Public Auction
57 c ImageAdams Express Co., Nashville, Jun. 15 (1861). Mostly clear strike of oval datestamp in black (unusual -- struck in blue on later covers) on 3c Red on Buff Star Die entire (U27) to Warner N.H., from the Hannah L. Warren correspondence, manuscript "Paid 2/-" express charge (two bits, or 25c), blue "Nashville Ten. Jun. 15" (1861) circular datestamp with matching "Paid" and "5" handstamps for C.S.A. postage, large "Dead Letter Office P.O. Dept., No. July 16, 1861" oval datestamp and "DUE 3cts" straightline handstamp, with two original enclosures (information regarding content provided below)

VERY FINE. AN IMPORTANT ADAMS EXPRESS COMPANY COVER SENT DURING THE TRANSITION FROM THE PRECURSOR PERIOD TO ADVERTISED ACROSS-THE-LINES SERVICE IN MID-JUNE 1861. THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF CIVIL WAR EXPRESS MAIL DIVERTED TO THE UNITED STATES DEAD LETTER OFFICE.

On June 15, 1861, the American Letter Express Co. was the first to advertise its across-the-lines service. On June 22 the Adams Express Co. and M. D. Whiteside advertised their competing express services. Express covers carried across the lines by Adams prior to the first advertisements are evidence that service pre-dated the announced commencement date. These are known as Precursor express covers (see Special Route, Chapter 3).

This cover is a remarkable use of Adams across-the-lines service right at the transition from the Precursor period to advertised service. It was mailed from Nashville on June 15 and datestamped by the Nashville post office and by Adams Nashville office on the same day. This is one full week before the June 22 commencement date advertised by Adams. Obviously, Adams was moving letters between Louisville and Nashville earlier than announced in their North-South express ads, and one of the letter enclosures in this cover mentions using Adams due to the interruption of regular mails. Another example from this transitional period is the cover addressed to Louisville with the Adams Vicksburgh, Mississippi, office oval dated June 11 (lot 58 in this sale).

On the cover offered here, the 5c C.S.A. postage was paid in Nashville, but the U.S. 3c entire was considered invalid by the U.S. post office once it entered the mails (at Louisville or possibly further north). At this early date, there must have been some confusion about how to prepay U.S. postage once the letter crossed the lines. In this case, it was determined to be unpaid and sent to the U.S. Dead Letter Office. It was marked "Due 3 cts" and released July 16 (the date of the U.S. Dead Letter Office oval). The Special Routes book describes this cover as the only recorded example of an express cover that was diverted to the U.S. Dead Letter office (pages 36-37).

The enclosures in this cover were written by a Mr. E. Holcomb and Ginie Warren (daughter of the addressee, Hannah L. Warren). Holcomb states "If you do not get any further letters from our dear Ginie shortly, don't be uneasy. So much information is sent to our enemies by private letters to friends, falling into the hands of treacherous agents & postmasters, that our government has resolved to stop mails between here & the North altogether, untill we shall have given Lincolns Hessians two or three more whippings..." Ginie, who decided to remain in the South, mentions that "all letters coming from the South are sent to the dead letter office" and informs her mother that "We must take advantage of Adams Express and send them through with an increase of twenty five cents postage on the original three..." In closing Ginie proclaims, "I would rather remain in the South and take the fate of the South... I love my home too, my native state is the dearest spot on earth, but the South is the land of my adoption."

Illustrated in Special Routes (page 36), Census No. N-AD-1. Ex Boshwit (Image)

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E. $ 5,000-7,500

SOLD for $16,500.00
Will close during Public Auction
58 c ImageAdams Express Co. Vicksburgh, Miss. Jun. 11 (1861). Red oval datestamp lightly inked but clearly struck on 3c Red on Buff Star Die entire (U27), bold strikes of Vicksburgh "Paid" straightline and "10" in circle handstamps, manuscript "Paid 2/- F. N. Hammett (?) PM" over embossed stamp, addressed to J. Watson Barr in Louisville Ky., Barr was a pro-Union abolitionist who later served as a U.S. federal judge

VERY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF THE ADAMS EXPRESS COMPANY VICKSBURG OFFICE DATESTAMP AND A REMARKABLE SOUTH-TO-NORTH EXPRESS COVER WITH AN ENDORSEMENT OF THE VICKSBURG POSTAL CLERK.

Frank N. Hammett is listed in the 1860 Vicksburg city directory as a clerk in the post office. He later served as a sergeant in the Army of Northern Virginia, 48th Mississippi Regiment, Company G, and was among the officers who surrendered at Appomattox Court House in April 1865. This cover appears to be addressed and endorsed entirely in Hammett's hand, including the "Paid 2/-" (2 bits, or 25c) express rate notation. It is not known if Hammett was employed by the Adams Express Company.

This is the only Adams Vicksburg express office cover recorded in the Special Routes census (N-PRE-22). Because it pre-dates the first Adams advertisements for across-the-lines service, it is classified as a Precursor period cover. However, the elements present in this cover -- the Adams datestamp, C.S.A. and U.S. postage, and use across the lines from Nashville to Louisville -- are no different than any of the covers dated onward from June 15.

Ex Shenfield and Judd (Image)

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E. $ 4,000-5,000

SOLD for $3,750.00
Will close during Public Auction
59 c ImageAdams Ex. Co. * Louisville, Ky. * Aug. 6, 1861. Clearly struck circular datestamp on brown cover from Chaplain Hiram Eddy of the 2nd Connecticut Volunteer Infantry, a prisoner at Ligon's Tobacco Warehouse in Richmond to his wife in West Winstead Conn., sender's directive "Per Adams Express", partly clear "Richmond Va. Aug. 3, 1861" circular datestamp and "Paid 10" in circle C.S.A. rate handstamp, given to Adams Express and carried to Louisville where it entered the U.S. mails, 3c Dull Red, Ty. III (26), affixed at Louisville and tied by blue grid cancel with matching "Louisville Ky. Aug. 7, 1861" double-circle datestamp, family's notation "Libby Prison Richmond Va. April 30 - May 2, 1862" presumably referring to letters once stored in the envelope

VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE EARLY PRISONER-OF-WAR COVER FROM A CHAPLAIN IN THE UNION ARMY CAPTURED AT THE FIRST BATTLE OF BULL RUN AND HELD AT LIGON'S TOBACCO WAREHOUSE IN RICHMOND. ONLY THREE ACROSS-THE-LINES EXPRESS COVERS FROM PRISONERS ARE RECORDED -- ALL NORTHBOUND FROM UNION CAPTIVES IN THE CONFEDERATE PRISON AT RICHMOND.

This and two other covers are the earliest examples of mail sent from Ligon's Tobacco Warehouse in Richmond, where Union captives from First Manassas were held by Confederates. The three covers are Special Routes Census Nos. N-AD-53 (the cover offered here -- Richmond Aug. 3, Adams Louisville Aug. 6, Louisville post office Aug. 7), N-AD-55 (letter dated July 24, Richmond date unclear, Adams Louisville and post office Aug. 7), and N-AD-56 (Richmond Aug. 4, Adams Louisville and post office Aug. 7). The three covers were datestamped at the Adams Louisville office on two different days, but placed into the mails on the same day, August 7.

Special Routes Census No. N-AD-53 (Image)

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E. $ 5,000-7,500

SOLD for $5,250.00
Will close during Public Auction
60 c ImageAdams Express Co. Nashville, Jul. 18 (1861). Blue oval datestamp and matching "POSTAGE/PAID" rimless handstamp on buff cover with "The Adams Express Company" imprint, addressed to Miss Annie Knowles at the Young Ladies Seminary in Warren R.I., manuscript "2/" express charge (two bits, or 25c), black "Adams Ex. Co. * Louisville, Ky. * Jul. 20, 1861" circular datestamp, 3c Dull Red, Ty. III (26) applied by Adams Louisville office (slightly overlapping the datestamp) and tied by blue grid cancel with duplex "Louisville Ky. Jul. 22" double-circle datestamp, stamp has a few nibbed perfs, cover slightly reduced at left

VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE SOUTH-TO-NORTH ACROSS-THE-LINES ADAMS EXPRESS COVER SENT FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, ONE DAY PRIOR TO THE RELEASE OF THE POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL STAMPS.

Nashville is one of the few Confederate towns or cities from which Adams Express across-the-lines covers with adhesive Postmasters' Provisional stamps are known (Memphis, Mobile, Nashville and New Orleans). Eight are recorded with the 5c or 10c Nashville adhesive provisional and U.S. stamps used together (a ninth Adams cover has the 10c stamp used alone). Two of the 5c combination covers, as well as the cover offered here, are from the Knowles correspondence to Rhode Island. This cover is interesting, because it was datestamped by the Adams office on July 18, one day prior to the issuance of Postmaster McNish's 5c and 10c provisional stamps. Since the stamps were not yet available, the cover was simply handstamped "Postage Paid."

Special Routes Census No. N-AD-26. (Image)

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E. $ 4,000-5,000

SOLD for $5,250.00
Will close during Public Auction
61 c ImageAdams Ex. Co. * Louisville, Ky. * Jul. 31, 1861. Boldly struck circular datestamp on cover to George D. B. Keim in Pottsville Pa., "Richmond Va. Jul. 25, 1861" circular datestamp, Richmond "Paid 10" in circle C.S.A. rate handstamp at right, given to Adams Express and carried to Louisville where it entered the U.S. mails, 3c Dull Red, Ty. III (26), affixed at Adams office in Louisville (over their datestamp) and tied by blue "Louisville Ky. Aug. 1, 1861" double-circle datestamp and matching blue grid cancel, Adams Express instruction label on back in black on blue-gray with rates for sending letters to the Confederate States, affixed at Louisville, receipt docketing "Mit Robinson, 21 July /61, 10 Aug. /61 recd", there is a small manuscript "40c" notation upside down at the bottom of the cover, which is presumably 25c for express charge plus 10c C.S.A. postage and 5c for the U.S. stamp, opened on three sides for display

VERY FINE. ONE OF FIVE RECORDED ADAMS EXPRESS COVERS WITH THE INSTRUCTION LABEL FOR MAILING LETTERS TO THE CONFEDERATE STATES. ESPECIALLY DESIRABLE WITH THE 3-CENT 1857 STAMP.

Special Routes Census No. N-AD-41 (Image)

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E. $ 4,000-5,000

SOLD for $3,500.00
Will close during Public Auction
62 c ImageAdams Ex. Co. * Louisville, Ky. * Jul. 6, 1861. Bold circular datestamp on blue folded letter datelined "New Orleans 1st July 1861" from P. A. Giraud & Co. to Robert & Williams in New York City, horizontal pair of 3c Dull Red, Ty. III (26) tied by two strikes of blue "Louisville Ky. Jul. 7, 1861" double-circle datestamp and duplex grid cancel, also tied by bold "Due 6" straightline evidently applied in New York City on the assumption that the 3c stamps were applied in one of the disloyal states -- they were actually applied by the Adams office in Louisville -- file fold clear of stamps

EXTREMELY FINE. AN OUTSTANDING AND RARE DOUBLE-RATE ADAMS EXPRESS ACROSS-THE-LINES COVER WITH UNITED STATES POSTAGE NOT RECOGNIZED ON ARRIVAL AT THE NEW YORK CITY POST OFFICE.

Adams made extensive use of its own distribution network and relied less on the postal systems for delivery. Initially, Adams' southbound mails were collected at New York, Baltimore or Boston and bagged for delivery to the major distributing offices in the C.S.A. at Augusta, Memphis or Knoxville. Northbound mails were apparently handled similarly in the reverse direction. These bags were not opened in transit through Louisville or Nashville, so surviving letters carry no express markings from either city unless they originate from them. On July 4, 1861, the C.S.A. seized all of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad rolling stock in Tennessee, so the trains no longer crossed the lines. From this point forward, couriers carried the mail across the lines on horseback. This also entailed a change in how Adams handled its express mail, as Louisville increasingly became the major distributing office for both northbound and southbound mail. Accordingly, Adams' Louisville express markings begin to appear on all southbound mail starting around July 17 and on all northbound mail starting around July 4.

As this letter shows, Adams would affix U.S. stamps at Louisville before placing them into the U.S. post office. In this case, the stamps were postmarked at Louisville, but on arrival in New York they were not recognized, and the letter was marked 6c postage due. The writer mentions an enclosure to be forwarded to Havana, which explains the double rate for weight.

Ex Brown, Brooks and Hall (Image)

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E. $ 3,000-4,000

SOLD for $3,000.00
Will close during Public Auction
63 c Image12c Black, Plate 3 (36B). Tied by blue grid cancel, matching "Louisville Ky. Jul. 12, 1861" double-circle datestamp on folded cover from Puig Brothers in New Orleans to Gallway, Casado & Teller in New York City, clear strike of "Adams Ex. Co. * Louisville, Ky. * Jul. 12, 1861" circular datestamp, minor edgewear, so-called "archival" tape reinforcement along top fold slightly stains paper (we recommend having a professional paper conservator remove the tape)

VERY FINE. ONE OF THREE RECORDED QUADRUPLE-RATE ADAMS EXPRESS COMPANY COVERS WITH THE 12-CENT 1859 ISSUE.

The Special Routes census lists three across-the-lines express covers with the 12c 1859 Issue. Two are quadruple 3c rates with a single 12c stamp (N-AD-17 and N-AD-32). The third is addressed to France with the 12c used with other 1857 Issue values (N-AD-65), which realized $185,000 hammer in our Sale 981 (lot 4123).

Special Routes Census No. N-AD-17. Ex Sevenoaks. With 1989 P.F. certificate (Image)

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E. $ 4,000-5,000

SOLD for $3,000.00
Will close during Public Auction
64   ImageAdams Ex. Co. * Louisville, Ky. * Aug. 12, 1861. Clearly struck circular datestamp ties 30c Orange (38), few scissors-blunted perfs, vivid color, on piece of cover sent to France, pencil "55/ Through" (55c paid, including 30c postage and 25c express fee), re-franked with horizontal strip of three 5c Brown, Ty. II (30A), tied by blue grid cancels and "Louisville Ky. Aug. 13, 1861" double-circle datestamp, part of Havre transit at bottom of piece, strip lifted to show markings, Extremely Fine, a very rare use -- bearing in mind a similar franking on full cover brought nearly $200,000 in one of our sales, this is certainly an affordable alternative -- ex Birkinbine and Walske (Image)

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E. $ 1,000-1,500

SOLD for $650.00
Will close during Public Auction
65 c ImageAdams Express Co. New-Orleans Jun. ? (1861). Circular datestamp on 3c Red on White Star Die entire (U26) to Stonington Conn., "New-York/Jun/1861/13" circular datestamp and grid cancel, pencil "2/" (two bits, or 25c) express company charge, the Adams marking has an odd appearance which we assume is due to strengthening of letters with non-contemporary ink, otherwise Very Fine, a rare Adams use from New Orleans to New York just prior to closing of routes (Image)

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E. $ 500-750

SOLD for $275.00
Will close during Public Auction

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