Complete set of Columbian Issue stamps used on five covers to New York City with World's Fair Station registry datestamps--a spectacular group
1¢-$5.00 Columbian (230-245), complete set of 16 values arranged on four legal-size covers and one letter-size cover sent by registered mail from the Columbian World's Fair post office, addressed in the same hand to Paul Weidnor, in care of J. Marsching & Co. in New York City, the four legal-size covers with stamps tied by "World's Fair Sta., Chicago Ill. Sep. 22 12:30PM, 1893" duplex datestamp and oval grid cancels, blue and purple registry numbers 52638-52641 and 46495-46498, letter-size cover with $2.00 and $4.00 tied by World's Fair Station September 28 machine cancels, blue registry number 55298 and purple number 52359, all have the red "REGISTERED/ [DATE] /World's Fair Station/CHICAGO, ILL." four-line datestamp (legal-size dated September 22 and letter-size September 28), all have "RECEIVED/ [DATE] 1893/CHICAGO, ILL." three-line backstamp in blue-green (September 22 and 28 dates), "C" in circle backstamps (September 24 and 30 dates)
Jack Rosenthal (sold privately)
CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES
USPCS census nos. 97, 102, 103 and 106 for dollar-values only
The Philatelic Foundation (1980) issued to Dr. Werner R. Fleischer
Fine-Very Fine centered stamps on attractive covers; each cover has a vertical fold at center which does not affect stamps; 3¢/4¢/$3 cover with 4¢ and $3.00 stamps slightly toned; 1¢/2¢/$5.00 cover has few toned perfs on all three stamps and the $5.00 is faulty at bottom left
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
The Columbian World's Fair Dollar Values
The World's Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago in 1893 to promote industry, commerce, technology, the arts and social causes. Over 183 days, from May 1 to October 30, the Columbian Exposition attracted nearly 27 million visitors to the specially constructed "White City," to see exhibits, amusements and demonstrations, and to ride the original Ferris Wheel.
The Columbian Exposition also provided the Post Office Department with its first opportunity to capitalize on the increasingly popular hobby of stamp collecting with the country's first commemorative postage stamps. Postmaster General John Wanamaker, a successful businessman and department store owner, sensed an opportunity to profit from stamp collectors by creating a special Columbian commemorative set. The sixteen Columbian stamps, commemorating the 400th anniversary of Columbus's voyage to America, were issued in denominations ranging from 1¢ to $5.00, for a total face value of $16.34--about $411 in today's dollars. Postmaster General Wanamaker's own words make it clear that the Columbian stamps were issued to find a place in collectors' albums, but contrary to contemporary criticism in the lay and philatelic press, the dollar-value stamps did pay legitimate postage rates on heavy packages.
Stamp collectors were by far the most prolific users of Columbian stamps above the 2¢ denomination. The first commemorative stamps also inspired philatelic-minded correspondents to create covers with complete or part sets, affixed together on one large envelope or on a series of envelopes. These covers are characterized as "philatelic," meaning that the colorful frankings and other unusual features were deliberately prepared for collectors. Philatelic covers survive as artifacts of the Gilded Age, when collectors such as Ayer, Deats, Ferrary, Tapling and others were investing extraordinary sums of money in building the world's first monumental collections of stamps.
The most desirable Columbian philatelic covers are those with dollar values. An outstanding study of the Columbian dollar-value stamps and covers was published by Dr. Richard M. Searing in the Chronicle and updated by Mike Ludeman (available online at www.uspcs.org).
This set of covers was addressed to an individual in care of J. Marsching & Co., located at 27 Park Place in lower Manhattan. This firm was one of the largest importers of oxides and chemicals used by potters and glass manufacturers. The handwriting style indicates the sender was someone of European origin and education.(Image)
A remarkable use of the 30¢ Columbian on an entire with an advertising collar
30¢ Columbian (239), tied by "World's Fair Station, Chicago Oct. 21 4-PM 1893" machine cancel on 3¢ Green on Amber entire (U164) with "Bates & Coates, 209 Church St. Philadelphia" advertising collar and "World's Columbian Exposition" printed design, to a street address in Chicago, fresh and Very Fine, a remarkable use of the 30¢ Columbian on an illustrated exposition entire with an advertising collar and cancelled at the exposition--Bates & Coates were cotton merchants; according to Thorpe, in 1864 Nesbitt submitted to the government specimens of envelopes with advertising collars printed around the stamps for the suggested use by the U. S. Senate and the House of Representatives; they were rejected and by law were declared illegal; however, these essays inspired others to use advertising collars on their government stamped envelopes (fourteen firms are known to have used advertising collars) (Image)
50¢ Trans-Mississippi tied by U.S.-German Sea Post datestamp on small-format cover to France
50¢ Trans-Mississippi (291), tied by neat strike of "U.S. German Sta. P.O. Nov. 7 98" duplex datestamp and oval grid on cover to Paris, France, blue illustrated handstamp on top flap depicting key and anchor, Very Fine and beautiful cover, ex Gruys (Image)
Spectacular $1.00 Trans-Mississippi registered cover to Germany
$1.00 Trans-Mississippi (292), used with block of four, pair and four singles of 1¢ Trans-Mississippi (285), tied by "Heron Mont. Jan. 9, 1899" circular datestamps on registered cover to Nuremberg, Germany, New York registry label, New York registry oval datestamp on back (January 16), receiving backstamp (January 28), one 1¢ stamp at bottom with flaw, Very Fine, a rare and colorful franking with the $1.00 Trans-Mississippi, perhaps 20 covers are known with this beautiful 19th century commemorative stamp, including approximately 14 with single frankings--we are aware of a similar franking, with nine 1¢ stamps and two 50¢ stamps, which was offered in our 2013 World's Fair Collection (Sale 1056, lot 430), the cover offered here is illustrated in Neil, The Trans-Mississippi Issue of 1898 (p. 150), ex Rosenthal (Image)
Second earliest recorded use of the $1.00 Trans-Mississippi
$1.00 Trans-Mississippi (292), tied by "Detroit Mich. Transit Jun. 22 1PM 98" circular datestamp on cover to Windsor, Canada, neat "Windsor Ont. PM JU 22 98" receiving datestamp on back, stamp with long sealed horizontal tear, otherwise Very Fine, the only recorded use of the $1.00 on cover to Canada, dated just five days after the stamp was issued on June 17, ex Dr. Jerome Motto ("Vanguard" collection, Rumsey Sale 11, 4/26-29/2001, lot 3629, where acquired by William H. Gross), illustrated in Neil, The Trans-Mississippi Issue of 1898 (p. 152) (Image)
The earliest documented use of the $2.00 Trans-Mississippi issue--an outstanding cover from the classic era of United States commemorative issues
$2.00 Trans-Mississippi (293), rich color, tied by clear "Philadelphia Pa. Jun. 24 3-30PM 1898" wavy-line machine cancel on immaculate cover to Mr. E. J. Clinton in Ocean City, New Jersey, clear "Ocean City N.J., Rec'd Jun. 26, 1898" receiving datestamp on back
Very Fine. This is the earliest recorded use of the $2.00 Trans-Mississippi--one of the most important cover rarities of the early United States commemorative issues.
The Trans-Mississippi Exposition was open to the public from June 1 to November 1, 1898. The stamps were not ready in time for the opening, and the official First Day of Issue was June 17.
First Day covers with the Trans-Mississippi Issue are rare. The following quantities are recorded or estimated by Henry Scheuer: 1¢: 4-5 used alone (plus 4 in combination); 2¢: 12+ used alone (plus 3 in combination); 4¢: One used alone (plus 3 in combination); 5¢: One used alone (plus 3 in combination); 8¢: Two used alone (plus one in combination); 10¢: One used alone (plus one in combination); 50¢: One (used alone); $1.00: One (used alone); $2.00: None known. In the absence of a $2.00 First Day Cover after 121 years, this June 22 cover is of paramount importance and likely to remain the earliest documented use.
Ex Dr. Jerome Motto ("Vanguard" collection, Rumsey Sale 11, 4/26-29/2001, lot 3633, where acquired by William H. Gross). With 2001 P.S.E. certificate. (Image)
Spectacular registered cover to France with three-color Trans-Mississippi franking, including the $2.00 Eads Bridge
$2.00 Trans-Mississippi (293), choice centering with well-proportioned margins, used with two 1¢ Trans-Mississippi (285) and 4¢ Trans-Mississippi (287), latter straight edge at right, tied by "New York" oval cancels, purple "Registered Oct. 31, 1898, Branch P.O. Station S, New York, N.Y." boxed datestamp on large blue linen-lined cover to Paris, France, New York registry label, "New York, N.Y. Reg'y Div. 10-31 1898" oval datestamps on back, Paris (November 9) receiving backstamps, slightly reduced at left, missing 1.5 inches of back at left
Very Fine--the $2.00 Trans-Mississippi stamp is Extremely Fine. A colorful and rare franking. This is the only recorded use of the $2.00 Trans-Mississippi issue to France.
Illustrated in Neil, The Trans-Mississippi Issue of 1898 (p. 161). (Image)