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Exhibition Collections

United States
LotNo. Symbol CatNo. Lot Description
61   imageUnited States, Pony Express: Highly Important Ledger from Fort Bridger, Utah - The Only Documentation of this Kind in Private Hands. Ledger of Mail Sent and Received at Fort Bridger, Including by Pony Express, 1860-1861, Fort Bridger, Utah Territory [now Wyoming. 126 pages., 48 with text. 8.5" x 13.75". All pages clean, though there is edge wear and some wear and damage to the spine of the binding.

This ledger records mail sent and received in 1860 at Fort Bridger, Utah Territory. The first pages list letters sent from the post office at Fort Bridger from January to September 1860, to a variety of destinations, including St. Joseph, Fort Laramie, Salt Lake City, Carson City, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Camp Floyd (Utah). A small number of letters were sent free, especially to Saint Joseph and Fort Laramie, likely official military communications, reports, and orders. Mail left Fort Bridger every three or four days, and hundreds of letters went to Saint Joseph, where they would enter the U.S. postal system to be delivered to points further east. Many also went to headquarters at Camp Floyd, 35 miles south of Salt Lake City, where a detachment of more than 3,500 military and civilian employees lived. Until July 1861 when it was abandoned by the military heading east for the Civil War, Camp Floyd had the largest troop concentration in the United States, sent there by President James Buchanan in 1858 to stop an expected Mormon rebellion.

A second group of entries provides an account of mails received at Fort Bridger from January to September 1860, from many of the same locations, with the costs of unpaid letters and whether the costs of receiving the letters were paid in money, stamps, or were free. A notation indicates that September 1860 receipts were "Transferred to New Book."

The most fascinating section of the ledger are those pages that detail the letters sent and received by Pony Express from and to Fort Bridger between October 1860 and October 1861. The ledger records the date, the number of items sent (ranging from 1 to 3), the rate charged, who sent the letter, to whom, where, and "Arrival," which was likely the time of day that the Pony Express rider reached Fort Bridger. Times varied from 1:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. with many times in late morning and afternoon as well. Several of the outgoing letters were sent by William A. Carter (1818-1881). Carter had many roles, including as the civilian sutler at Fort Bridger from 1859 to 1881, the Pony Express agent in 1860-1861, and justice of the peace and judge of the probate court. As agent of the Pony Express, he could send letters to officials of the company without cost, and the ledger indicates those letters sent for free. In addition to his general store, Carter was also involved in mining, logging, cattle ranching, and operated a sawmill. His wife Mary E. Carter (1831-1904) also sent letters—to Miss Hamilton in Columbia, Missouri, on June 17, 1861, and to Mrs. Gardner at Fort Kearney, on September 17, 1861.

Frank B. Gilbert sent a letter on October 19, 1860, to his wife in Weston, Missouri, at a cost of $2.50; on the same day, Samuel Dean sent a letter to W. J. Reynolds in Salt Lake City, also at a cost of $2.50. On December 1, Dean became the clerk of the Probate Court in Green River County, over which Judge William A. Carter presided.

Several military officers sent letters as well. Such messages include several by Captain Jesse A. Gove (1824-1862) to the Adjutant General at Fort Crittenden, Utah, on June 1, 1861; to Congressman Edward H. Rollins of New Hampshire, on June 13, 1861; to Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas in Washington, D.C., on July 8, 1861, and to the New York Times on July 11, 1861. Gove later died at the Seven Days' Battles in June 1862, as colonel of the 22nd Massachusetts Volunteers.

Captain Alfred Cumming (1829-1910) of the 10th U.S. Infantry and an 1849 graduate of West Point was the commanding officer at Fort Bridger, when he sent a letter to Miss S. M. Davis in Augusta, Georgia. Cumming also sent letters to his father Henry H. Cumming in Augusta on October 30 and November 6, 1860. Alfred Cumming resigned his commission in January 1861, returned to the South, and moved through the officer ranks of the Confederate Army to become a brigadier general by late 1862. Two of Cumming's subordinate officers, Lieutenant Arthur S. Cunningham (1835-1885) and Lieutenant Franck S. Armistead (1831-1888) both sent letters via Pony Express to Cumming in Augusta, Georgia, on April 16 and May 20, respectively. Cunningham, an 1856 graduate of West Point, resigned his commission on June 25, 1861, and joined the Confederates. He rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the 10th Alabama Infantry as part of the Army of Northern Virginia. Armistead was the younger brother of General Lewis A. Armistead, who was mortally wounded in Pickett's charge at Gettysburg. The younger Armistead, also an 1856 graduate of West Point, resigned his commission on June 14, 1861, and commanded a regiment of North Carolina junior reserves as a colonel.

Captain Joseph C. Clark Jr. (1825-1906), an 1848 graduate of West Point, sent two letters to Major, then Colonel, James Henry Carleton (1814-1873), at Fort Churchill, on the Carson River in Nevada, which also served as a Pony Express station. Clark sent the letters on August 27 and September 13, 1861. They were both designated as "Govt Matter" as was Clark's letter to Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas in Washington of September 12, 1861. Clark went on to command an artillery battery in the Army of the Potomac and was wounded four times at the Battle of Antietam. After recovering, he taught at West Point from 1863 to 1870.

The register of letters received by Pony Express delivery records the time received, from what place, and by whom received, usually agent William A. Carter or the commanding officer. It also records the rate (decreasing from $2.50 to $1.00 over the period) and whether the fee was prepaid or collected from the recipient. Receiving letters was an all-day task, as the hours of arrival varied widely from 1:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Most of the letters received were from St. Joseph, but a few came from Camp Floyd (renamed Fort Crittenden on December 29, 1860), Fort Kearney, Fort Laramie, Salt Lake City, or San Francisco. Many of the "letters" from St. Joseph have the designation "news" in the final column and were likely newspapers, which kept the soldiers and civilians at this distant outpost somewhat informed of rapidly developing events in the East as the nation descended into war. Captain Clark received the last letter to Fort Bridger by Pony Express, from St. Joseph, on October 16, 1861. The eastern section of the telegraph line was completed at Fort Bridger on October 18, 1861, connecting St. Joseph to Salt Lake City. The Pony Express service terminated on October 26, two days after the completion of the western section of the transcontinental telegraph line.

Another fascinating feature of the ledger are two lists of subscribers to newspapers and periodicals at Fort Bridger. In this brief period, at least 34 officers and soldiers at Fort Bridger subscribed to more than 60 periodicals from weekly newspapers to monthly journals. Common titles like the New York Herald, New York Times, and Harper's Weekly appear alongside the St. Louis Republican, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the Louisville Journal. Private Meany of Company K subscribed to the weekly Irish American, while Privates Ressler and Warmenau, also of Company K, subscribed to German newspapers. Private Simmonds of Company K subscribed to the Illustrated London News and the London Mail. Sergeant Kelley of Company D had a subscription to the Irish American, Sergeant Dimon of the same company subscribed to the Irish News, while Private Regan subscribed to the Dublin Telegraph, and Private Mitchell held a subscription to the Canadian Freeman. Privates Jerrolman, Heauchild and Alcone of Company D all had subscriptions to the New York Ledger, and Private Anderson had subscriptions to four newspapers—the Baltimore Sun, the Terre Haute Journal, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the New York Herald.

Major Henry H. Sibley (1816-1886) was the most well-read, with subscriptions to as many as 11 periodicals, including the New York Herald; the New York Times; Harper's Weekly; Harper's Monthly; Punch (London); the London Illustrated News; the Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art; Ballou's Monthly Magazine; Ballou's Pictorial Drawing-Room Companion; Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine; The Knickerbocker, or New York-Monthly Magazine; and the New York Ledger. An 1838 graduate of the United States Military Academy, Sibley fought in the Seminole Wars in Florida, the Mexican War, the Utah War, and invented several military items, including the Sibley tent and the Sibley stove, both used by Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War. Sibley resigned his commission in May 1861, joined the Confederacy, and rose quickly to the rank of brigadier general. His attempt to invade New Mexico enjoyed initial success, but Union forces under E. R. S. Canby, who had served with him at Fort Bridger, defeated his forces at the Battle of Glorieta Pass, and Sibley never again led men in combat.

Historical Background

In 1860, telegraph lines extended from the East Coast as far west as St. Joseph, Missouri, and Omaha, Nebraska. From the West Coast, they extended from San Francisco to Carson City, Nevada. In June 1860, Congress passed the Pacific Telegraph Act, which included a government subsidy of $40,000 per year, over ten years, for the construction and operation of a telegraph line across the middle of the continent. The Pony Express bridged that gap from early 1860 to late 1861 with a series of fast horses and young riders.

The initial rate for a letter carried by the Pony Express between San Francisco and St. Joseph was $5 per half ounce or less. At the end of July 1860, the rate was reduced to $2.50 per quarter ounce or less, with additional charges for more weight. On July 1, 1861, the rate dropped again to $1 per half ounce or less. Riders traveled at an average speed of ten miles per hour, and a complete one-way trip required approximately 20 riders and 75 horses. Without interruptions caused by weather, attacks, or the Pyramid Lake War in the summer of 1860 in Nevada, the one-way trip between Sacramento and St. Joseph could be completed in ten days.

As the Pony Express moved through Utah Territory, it hired many Mormon men and boys. At least three Mormon pioneers manned isolated Pony Express relay stations and more than two dozen Mormons were among the 220-230 Pony Express riders. The Pony Express moved mail between Utah and the eastern states a week faster than stagecoach mail.

When the Civil War erupted in the East, Colonel Philip St. George Cooke (1809-1895) of the 2nd U.S. Dragoons, who was in command at Camp Floyd/Fort Crittenden in central Utah, abandoned that installation and took his men and supplies to Fort Bridger, where the supplies were sold at auction, largely to the Mormons. According to some accounts, $4 million worth of goods were sold for $100,000. Cooke then marched both garrisons to Fort Leavenworth and went on to command the 2nd U.S. Cavalry, receive a promotion to brigadier general, and leave active field service after the Peninsula Campaign of 1862. During that campaign his son-in-law, Confederate Cavalry commander J.E.B. Stuart, humiliated the Union cavalry by completely circling the Army of the Potomac in a raid.

Cooke left only a few men, whose terms of service were nearly expired, at Fort Bridger under Captain Joseph C. Clark Jr. of the 4th U.S. Artillery in command. In December 1861, Clark received orders to go east, and Orderly Sergeant Bogee and a handful of privates were left at Fort Bridger for nearly a year before a portion of the 3rd California Volunteers arrived.

The Pony Express (1860-1861) was a mail service operated by the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company, founded by William H. Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell. Between April 1860 and October 1861, messages could travel from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts of the United States in about ten days, utilizing telegraph lines and this service. It was largely replaced by the establishment of the transcontinental telegraph in October 1861. The service worked by having 184-186 stations located approximately ten miles apart along the 1,900-mile route from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Sacramento, California. The route followed the Oregon and California Trails to Fort Bridger, then the Mormon Trail to Salt Lake City, then the Central Nevada Route to Carson City, where it passed over the Sierra to Sacramento, California. A rider, who could not weigh over 125 pounds, rode day and night for approximately 70 to 100 miles, changing to a fresh horse at each station. Over his saddle was a mochila (Spanish for pouch) with four padlocked corner pockets that together held up to 20 pounds of mail. Russell, Majors, and Waddell lost $500,000 on their Pony Express venture. As a business venture, it was a failure, but it played a critical role in securing California and its gold resources for the Union at the outbreak of the Civil War.

Fort Bridger (1842-1890) was established by Jim Bridger (1804-1881) and Louis Vasquez (1798-1868) in 1843. It served as a vital supply point and stop on the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails. At Fort Bridger, the Oregon and California trails turn northwest into modern Idaho, while the Mormon Trail continued west to Salt Lake City. In 1853, Mormons tried to arrest Bridger, who fled, and in 1855, they claimed ownership of the fort. During the Utah War, the fort was burned in October 1857 on the approach of the U.S. Army. At the end of the hostilities, the U.S. government rejected the claims of both the Mormons and Bridger and rebuilt Fort Bridger with William A. Carter as post sutler. From April 1860 to October 1861, it was one of 186 Pony Express stations between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Small U.S. Army units were stationed at the fort during the Civil War and regular units occupied it from 1866 to 1878, when it was temporarily abandoned. The Army again occupied in from 1880 to 1890, when it was closed and many of its buildings sold and dismantled.

Price: $75,000; £58,825; €63,830; 750,000 SEK; HK$585,000. (Image) (Image2) (Image3) (Image4) (Image5) (Image6)

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Get Market Data for [United States Pony Express Ledger]

CLOSED
Closing..Jun-02, 09:00 PM
62   imageUnited States, 1839-68, William H. Seward. A wonderful array of material spanning nearly the entirety of Seward's political career

The collection offered here consists of a broad range of engravings, covers and letters. Three engraved portraits, one noted "320 American Bank Note Co." and sunk on card, portray Seward while Secretary of State, two formal profiles, one at his desk with papers strewn about him. There is also an early cabinet photo of the Secretary.

From his governorship, we find a letter certifying that Giles F. Yates was a Surrogate of Schenectady County (on the reverse of a probate confirmation). There is an 8-page transcript of Senator Seward's July 29, 1852, speech entitled "The Whale Fishery, and American Commerce in the Pacific Ocean"—with references to King Alfred, the Phoenicians and Nimrod! And we have a Department of State affidavit (with paper seal and ribbons) confirming that WJ Stillman was US Consul at Rome, attached to a land transfer deed executed before him.

Covers and letters consists of numerous signature free franks, as Governor (2), Senator (7) and Secretary of State (4)…plus two that cannot be dated. Highlights include a January 14, 1864, letter to Major General [Henry W.] Halleck, stating the bearer would "introduce you to Mr. Sutton [?] who has confidential revelations to make about the strength and disposition of the rebels in Texas"; a December 30, 1867, letter to J. Glancy Jones of Reading, PA, regarding the Alaska Purchase and (reading between the lines) Seward's attempt to gain British Columbia for the US as well; an 1868 letter to President Johnson regarding Department of State officials whose commissions needed confirmed; and most amazingly, a September 7, 1865, Department of State cover and enclosure, both black-edged as a national mourning cover.

Collateral material counts a US Senate free frank of Daniel Webster, plus an 1818 lettersheet from James Ross, a Royal Navy captain who attempted to discover the Northwest Passage. Also featured is a Department of State free frank from Frank W. Seward, Assistant Secretary—and William's son, appointed at the same time as his father.

This is no folly—just a remarkable collection that would be impossible to duplicate today.

* * *

Seward (1801-72) was educated as a lawyer and was elected New York State Senator in 1830. He served as Governor of New York from 1839-42 and was elected to the US Senate in 1848, serving from 1849-61. He was considered the leading contender for the Republican Presidential nomination in the 1860 race, but his outspoken views against slavery, support for immigration and Catholics, and ties to political boss Thurlow Weed worked against him. While he lost the nomination to Abraham Lincoln, he supported Lincoln in the general election and was appointed Secretary of State, in which capacity he served from 1861 to 1869, under both Lincoln and Johnson.

Most famous for the Alaska Purchase in 1867, he was also instrumental in preventing Britain and France from involving themselves in the US Civil War in support of the Confederacy, thus doing as much as Grant or any other Union general in keeping the country intact.

Price: $25,000; £19,600; €21,275; 250,000 SEK; HK$195,000. (Image)

Get Market Data for [United States Collection]

CLOSED
Closing..Jun-02, 09:00 PM
63   imageUnited States, 1860, the discovery example of an immortal coil: George K. Snow and his machine. A remarkable piece of philatelic history, being the world's earliest known coil forerunner.

Just a decade after the US' 1847 First Issue, mailers were grappling with an issue: how to affix stamps rapidly and efficiently to covers. The 1847 and 1851 Issues were imperforate, requiring each stamp to be cut from the sheet. The franking process was helped along with the 1857 Issue, which were now perforated, meaning a stamp could quickly and easily be removed from the sheet. But the work was still one stamp/one letter at a time.

Enter George K. Snow (1826/27-1885), a job printer of Watertown, Massachusetts (later of Boston). On May 18, 1858, he was granted US Patent # 20,306 for his "Postage Stamper and Labeling Machine". This device was designed to take a strip of stamps and affix them to covers, its speed limited only by the operator's urgency.

Snow's device thus represents the first concept of a coil stamp, the first privately produced coil, and the first postage-affixing machine - anywhere in the world.

Amazingly, Snow's work was unknown until the mid-1940s. Until that time, as recounted in The Stamp Machines and Coiled Stamps by George P. Howard (1943), the first US patent for "An Apparatus for Applying Stamps" was granted to Victoria I.H. Bundsen of London, England, on July 21, 1885. A similar machine had been submitted to the Patent Office by John L. Shaw of Grand Rapids, Michigan, on May 27, 1884, though patent was not issued until March 9, 1886. Both of these machines were a "hand-plunger" type, according to Howard, where a stack of individual stamps were piled face-up in a box on the plunger. With its descent, a moistener wetted the area of the envelope where the stamp would go. Upon reaching the bottom of its travel, the bottom-most stamp of the stack would be pressed against the moistened corner of the envelope and remain attached.

Between 1885 and 1906, when US Postmaster General George B. Cortelyou announced plans to test and choose the best method for both affixing and vending individual stamps, many stamp affixing machines were devised and patented. Some were of the early "stack-of-stamps" Bundsen/Shaw type, but soon some were developed to feed a strip of ten stamps (separated by the machine) one-at-a-time to a moistened envelope corner. Twenty such machines had been patented before 1906.

All these machines, however ingenious, worked with stacks or strips of stamps supplied flat—the first machine patented in the US using coiled stamps (not two-sided coils as we know them, but pasted-up strips of ten sheet stamps supplied on the machine in a roll) was granted to William R. Miller of Polo, Illinois, on January 29, 1889.

This history was overturned just a year after Howard's book was published.

In the January 29, 1944, issue of Stamps magazine appeared Allan M. Thatcher's article, "The First United States Coiled Stamp Affixing Machine Dummy Advertising Stamp" (parcel post. 151-152). There, he recounts some of Howard's work, then goes on to say:

Some months ago we acquired a remarkable cover which disproves all of the above, which bears what we believe is indisputably the first United States coiled stamp and the first dummy advertising stamp, and which also shows an illustration of what is definitely the first patented Stamp Affixing Machine. This last statement is backed up by official confirmation from Washington. And all three ante-date the previously considered "firsts" not by a year or two, but by more than a quarter of a century!

((Snow, it seems, covered Miller's design but had been forgotten; Polo's marque was beaten by Watertown.))

The cover on offer here is Thatcher's discovery item.

For all its philatelic importance, the cover is simplicity itself. Measuring 120 x 74mm, the orange envelope, addressed to a Colonel Miles of West Carleton, Orleans Co., N.Y., bears a Scott #26 tied by a solid Boston PAID strike, with a red Boston Aug 19, 1860 dater alongside, the latter tying Snow's stamp-sized advertising label at lower right. The label depicts Snow's machine with a strip of crudely-drawn stamps coiled on the spool.

The stamp shows normal perforation separations at left and right (the individual columns of stamps having been separated by hand), with perforations separated by the machine's knife at top and bottom. Given the hand-set perforating of the time, the knife would not always fall through or along the perforations, giving us the top margin of the stamp below its design. Note also the slight curve to the knife's cut (particularly noticeable at bottom), due to the slight curl imparted to the stamp under pressure.

One curiosity is the sizeable cut-out at top left. Art Groten, writing in Kelleher's Collectors Connection (2:3 [May-June 2016, World Stamp Show Edition], p. 69), suggests this is "most likely due to a misfeed corrected before completing the separation," though with Snow's knives placed top and bottom, the cut is in the wrong place entirely. Perhaps the columns of stamps were separated, as often the case, with scissors, and this is an accidental slip.

While still cumbersome, Snow's Postage Stamper and Labeling Machine seems to have achieved commercial success as it was actually produced and the patent reissued August 20, 1867. A number of other covers from the 1858-61 period have been found with the Snow cut - two of which are included here, one undated from Dedham, Massachusetts, the other from Boston dated April 2, 1858 (prior to the award of the patent!) - and more probably still remain to be recognized.

Another tell-tale sign of a Snow-affixed stamp (in addition to the arced cut already mentioned) noted by Ken Lawrence ("Are These the World’s First Coil Stamps?", The American Philatelist, Nov. 1993, pages 1020-1022) is that "the top and bottom edges of the stamp are firmly fastened down, but the sides are not." Lawrence also notes that sometimes traces of the knife's impression shows in the envelope’s paper.

A 1911 printing of Snow's patent application, complete with mechanical drawings, is included with the cover. Simply put, the coiled columns of stamps were to be wound on the spool with gum side up. To the right of the hand lever was a sponge used by the operator to wet the corner of the envelope where the stamp would go. Placing the envelope over the stamp, the operator would then depress the hand lever, causing a small platen to descend, forcing envelope against stamp, and pressing the lot with enough pressure for the blade underneath to separate the stamp from the coil. Upon raising the hand lever, the spool would advance the next stamp in the coil. In Snow’s own words, "A person after a little practice with this machine, will post-stamp letters very expeditiously."

Snow's major business was job printing, and several of his publications (Snow's Pathfinder Railway Guide and A Descriptive Guide-Book to the Railway Route between Boston and Burlington, via Lowell and Concord….) are included here, as are advertisements and directions for use of "Snow's Adhesive Letters and Figures for Show Cards, &c." ("An entirely new article", he claims!)

Snow's other philatelic-related output came during the Civil War, when he produced a number of patriotic labels. Five of these labels depict the flag (one behind a cannon, two with eagle and snake, two carried by soldier either on horseback or on foot) - all inscribed with Biblical citations (e.g., Job 39-21). Another four depict either the flag or a flag-designed shield. Examples of each are included, with even a strip of three different designs used on a patriotic cover.

Snow also produced one patriotic cover (Weiss #E-R-211), two examples of which are included in the lot, one bearing his imprint at far left used (with "Not Called For" auxiliary marking), the other unused and lacking his imprint., Provenance: ex Thatcher, Cooper, Hartmann, Groten.

Price: $15,000; £11,765; €12,765; 150,000 SEK; HK$117,000. (Image)

CLOSED
Closing..Jun-02, 09:00 PM
64 /o   imageUnited States, Opening Salvos: A Battery of 19th-Century US Patent Envelopes. This lot, consisting of well over 60 items and built over many years, highlights the development of the American envelope—in myriad forms and formats—from around 1860 to about 1913. The range of designs is fascinating, with envelopes for every use imaginable. Their ingenuity and functionality are underlined by each having been granted a US patent.

Each item is annotated, with many identified by manufacturer, ranging from the American Bank Note Company's letter sheet essay to Weaver's Mailing Envelope, with letter sheets, cabinet photo mailers, safety and sample envelopes, and more in between. That said, roughly half the items have no maker's mark on them—a ready-made research project. There are wire-pull envelopes, perforated envelopes, amazing tab or flap arrangements and more—including a not-for-the-cat-lover-in-your-life Valentine folded letter sheet with an ad for Hood's Sarsaparilla.

In addition to these privately produced envelopes, the collection contains the first two US embossed entires by Nesbitt (Scott #U1 and U2, both used, #U1 uprated by an imperforate 3-cent adhesive, being sent from New Hampshire to California) plus two used copies of the 1887 Grant letter sheet (#U293), one of which never made it into the mail and is thus complete.

Two private wafer seals, a rivet envelope (advertising D.A. Comstock, NY, in surround), plus a stock certificate for the United States Sealed Postal Card Company, ca. 1880. The latter is the copy described by Charles Fricke in The American Philatelist. (This was the company that produced and provided the Grant sheet to the Post Office Department—free of charge to the latter—and so capital had to be raised through stocks. A copy of Fricke's article is included.)

And it must be noted: beyond the technical details, many of these covers are beautifully illustrated or embellished with embossings, clever holding devices (come dancing!), etc.

After seeing these once-available envelopes, you'll rue your next bill or advertising letter all the more.

Price: $9,500; £7,450; €8,085; 95,000 SEK; HK$74,100. (Image)

Get Market Data for [United States Collection]

CLOSED
Closing..May-29, 08:50 AM
65   imageUnited States, 1932, USS Akron Coast-to-Coast Mail. Presented in five binders, each annotated to a greater or lesser degree, holding over 450 contemporary covers from the Akron's May 1932 flight from Lakehurst, NJ, to Sunnyvale, CA, plus photos, press clippings, US Post Office Department documents, along with later commemorative items, etc. Covers include picture postcards showing zeppelins, AC Roessler covers (one binder dedicated to them), Roessler's zeppelin-illustrated Air Mail labels on piece and as unused sheetlets of four (each label in a different color), etc. Present are a range of cachet types and illustrations, with frankings including commemoratives, Kansas and Nebraska overprints, a Schermack Type III coil, bisects of 2¢ Washingtons, even a few Columbians (!) used. The Washington Bicentennial is a nice tie-in, with various labels or cachets, plus one cover with the complete set (#704-715) tied—with the cover signed by Charles E. Rosendahl, Akron's first commander. Several memorial covers or cards are here as well, along with covers signed by various other postal or naval personalities with ties to the ship.

* * *

The USS Akron and her sister ship, the USS Macon, were experimental-design zeppelins commissioned by the US Navy. Custom-built to be the first flying aircraft carriers, they were envisioned as scouting ships, the airplanes onboard serving as defenses but later repurposed to expand the zeppelin's range. At 785 feet long, Akron was one of the largest flying objects ever built, and she and Macon hold the record as the largest helium-filled airships.

Commissioned by First Lady Lou Hoover on August 8, 1931, Akron was put through a set of short-range flights to test her abilities and train her crew. Her early performance was mixed—not living up to the hype generated by press and officials—but as a prototype, she was serving her purpose: finding what worked, what didn't, and giving designers and operators the data they needed for improved designs.

In part to quell official and public grumblings, a coast-to-coast publicity flight from New Jersey to California was announced for February 28, 1932. Collectors had only a week to prepare and send covers to Lakehurst for carriage aboard Akron. The Post Office Department announced on February 20 that the amount of mail to be carried "will be limited, probably to not more than 150 pounds." A ground accident on February 22, however, scuppered the flight, and it was not until April 28 that she was deemed airworthy again.

Finally, in the early morning of May 8, 1932, the ship set off for California with nearly 42,000 pieces of mail aboard. Akron's path took her down the eastern seaboard, across the gulf states, Texas and Arizona, to Camp Kearney in San Diego and on to Sunnyvale, CA. Difficulties along the way (technical and meteorological), and a mooring mishap at Camp Kearney that left two dead, marred the flight's completion. But as is often noted cheerfully in crash cover write-ups, "the mail survived" and was processed and returned to senders.

Akron continued flying, both for publicity (up the Pacific Coast to Canada) and in service (over the Atlantic in search operations, further testing her aircraft trapeze release-and-capture system, etc.). Her final flight came on April 3, 1933, along the New England coast to assist in calibrating radio detection finder stations. Encountering heavy weather (and most likely un-recalibrated barometric altitude readings), Akron's tail fin struck the ocean shortly after midnight on April 4, breaking up and sinking the ship in very short time. Only three crew members survived.

Price: $10,000; £7,850; €8,500; 100,000 SEK; HK$78,000. (Image)

CLOSED
Closing..Jun-02, 09:00 PM
66 /o/   imageUnited States, 1938-54, The Presidential Series, A Royal Collection. The Prexies, one of the longest-running US definitive series, are ubiquitous. Every childhood collection starts with them, and a complete set is a de rigueur aim of all budding philatelists.

But this does not make them easy or uninteresting, for the more you look, the more there is to find—exactly because they were everywhere for so long.

Presented exhibition-style in three large binders, the series is arranged in denomination order, with singles (many with shades), plate blocks (of many, if not most, plates used over the years), First Day Covers, varieties and oddities, plus usages (solo, single, and mixed). The collector held out for the best of each, making this a feast for the eye as well as a research project par excellence.

Stamp highlights include a striking 1¢ foldover horizontal strip of 22—the full sheet width plus gutter plus additional column at right; ½¢ and 1½¢ Canal Zone overprint complete panes; 1½¢ St. Louis MO precancels (pairs and a complete pane) showing the part-perforated and imperforate-between varieties; 1½¢ plate block #22880, the second "8" inverted; several items with blind perforations between; #830a, the 30¢ deep blue variety (with copy of Bureau of Engraving and Printing letter describing their analysis of the stamp); all three printings of the $1 (#832, 832c, 832g); part-sheets of $1 (block of 60), $2 (50) and $5 (20 and 56) values cancelled—all but $5 with plate markings in selvage; a $5 used with vignette shifted to lower right; printing varieties, and more.

Covers feature many of the great rarities of Prexie postal history and usage, a number having come from the Stephen L. Suffet Collection (last seen in the 2003 Nutmeg auction), and several of which are illustrated in Roland Rustad's The Prexies.

The usages are as wide-ranging as possible, with Registered, Censored, Airmail, Special Delivery, Certified, Insured, Return Receipt all paid Presidentially—sometimes with two or three rates on a single cover. There are perfins used on cover, parcel tags, a Permit Postage payment form, a couple two-country frankings, even several wartime covers from Alaska and Hawaii to the mainland, which have been censored (apparently Territory status didn't warrant trust). Destinations include the usual Hawaii/Alaska/Europe suspects, but we also find India, Australia, New Zealand and Mauritius among others.

Solo usages abound, including nearly all of the difficult to rare denominations. We note 4½¢ sheet, 7¢, 11¢ (2, including one to Denmark (The Prexies, p. 214), 16¢ (3!), 19¢ (to the IRS), 22¢ (2), $1 (2!!), $2 and $5 (the only known non-philatelic solo usage).

Other interesting covers include a 3¢ on White House invitation from Eleanor Roosevelt with all enclosures; a 3¢ First Day Cover with pre-Eye and both Electric Eye types; 4½¢ sidewise coil strip of six including a line pair, on Esso Touring Service First-Class Mail piece; 4½¢ plate block on Registered cover; 5¢ group of 50 on cover opened for exhibition (The Prexies, p. 174); two 13¢ solos imaged in The Prexies; 15¢ (strip of three plus 5¢) to Germany, Returned, "Service Suspended", with the rarely seen interior notice Form OC-12; a solo inter-island Hawaii 17¢ usage (ex-Suffet); 20¢ multiple (plus three 50¢) on conserved oversized envelope to Athens, returned, with British and Egyptian (?) Censor tapes and handstamps; 22¢ plus pair 24¢ to UNRRA in Canton, China, from 1946; 50¢ solo on Honolulu Advertiser corner card cover, and much, much more.

An absolute must-see, for the stamp enthusiast or the postal historian. Elect to view.

Price: $27,000; £21,175; €22,975; 270,000 SEK; HK$210,600. (Image)

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France
LotNo. Symbol CatNo. Lot Description
67   imageFrance, 1809-89, Rixheim Postal History Exhibition Collection. A thoroughly annotated single-frame (16-page) presentation showing the postal upheavals of 19th-century Franco-German enmity.

Rixheim, a small town in the Haut-Rhin Département of Upper Alsace, changed hands between France and Germany five times between 1870 and 1945, resulting in as many changes of postal administrations, issues and markings. This collection focuses on the 1800s, with 40 covers or cards. The story begins with two pre-philatelic covers (dated 1809 and 1833), with stampless covers continuing even after the issuance of France's first stamps (the Haut-Rhin not being provisioned until the early 1850s). Napoléons follow until 1871 with the use of German Occupation stamps, which continues until February 1872. At this point we find, thanks to neither country recognizing the other's postal authority, double-franked (French double affranchissement) covers until the Germans renounced this agreement in May, when solely German frankings were used.

Four French cancels were used for the town during this period, each of which is included here: Type 15 1) without stamps, 2) with small numeral "2685", 3) with large numeral "3154", and 4) Type 16 plus "3154". Special interest material is found throughout, with money letters, turned covers, rural commune box, foreign destinations, a parcel card, a third weight-band letter, Registered, Due, and more.

Rounding out the collection is a fascinating cover from Ecuador using Rixheim's "3154" canceller—one of 25-30 such covers known.

Two Occupation covers accompanied by 2016 Roumet, Schiff & Pagnoux certificates.

A fascinating look at what small-town post offices can offer the postal historian.

Price: $5,000; £3,925; €4,250; 50,000 SEK; HK$39,000. (Image)

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68   imageFrance, 1864-82, French Railway Transfer Office Exhibit. 16 pages dedicated to the French railroads and their conveyance of la poste. Created in 1864 as station sorting and forwarding facilities for mail not carried in closed sacks, the system grew to 23 offices, mainly at junctions of two or more rail lines, and all on at least one trunk line. These bureaux de passe fell into disuse from the mid-1870s and were done away with entirely in mid-December of 1882.

Each of the 23 offices operating during this relatively short time period is represented here. The markings took the form of eccentric double-circle markings using the station town's alphanumeric identifier. Three distinct types were used, differing in the size and font used for the numeral (illustrated on the title page).

As transit markings, these most commonly were struck on the back of the cover. Accordingly, most of the covers here are shown recto-verso, though several have the transits struck face-side (there are also two stamps, off cover, showing near complete strikes of the markings). And while nearly all covers reached their destination passing through just one of these transfer offices, the collector was able to find one example each of a two-transit and three-transit cover.

Come aboard for this Napoléon- and Cérès-filled journey on the rails.

Price: $2,000; £1,570; €1,700; 20,000 SEK; HK$15,600. (Image)

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69 /o/   imageFrance, 1876-1901, Exhibition Collection of the 15c Sage Stamps & Stationery. A five-frame (80-page) encyclopedic presentation of this single value of the Peace and Commerce issue.

Far and away the most common of the Sages, the 15-centime is also the most varied and complex. First issued in 1876 (in gray) to pay the domestic post card rate, it assumed new duties two years later (now in blue), meeting the postage for a domestic single-letter. The issue's complexity arises from the number of die types and subtypes found, along with the variety in its postal stationery.

The collection is exhaustive in its treatment of all aspects of the design, with each die subtype mounted sequentially. Each type is represented by a mint example, a millésime pair, and by clear examples of each subtype with legible cancels, thus illustrating the range of shades, printings and papers. It offers complete coverage of regularly issued ("over-the-counter") stationery varieties, along with numerous examples of minor varieties, commemorative and imprinted-to-order stationery as well.

Among the too-many-to-list highlights are essays, proofs (plate and trial color) and special printings; a sampling of the "15-15" essays, plus post-1879 trials, reimpressions, reproductions and commemorative printings; printings from different plate stages; shade and paper varieties; Specimens, experimental Paris precancels, perforation Errors, Freaks and Oddities; recto-verso printings, various perforation formats on letter cards (mint and used), multiples including a block of 60 of the blue Type IIG; revalued stationery, privately printed precursor coils, Chalon forgeries, even a set of proofs of a proposed set of stamps to supplant the Sage series.

A number of Behr, Drouet and Gautré certificates accompany.

A true tour de force. See it in its entirety on our website.

Price: $25,000; £19,600; €21,275; 250,000 SEK; HK$195000. (Image)

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70   imageFrance, 1876-1901, Maritime Service of the 15c Sage, from Marseilles to and from Corsica and North Africa. A single-frame (16-page) exhibit showing the Peace and Commerce issue's use on the high seas. Issued to pay the domestic single-letter rate, the 15c was also valid for Corsica, Algeria and, from 1881-83, Tunisia, as each territory was considered part of Metropolitan France. Unlike the pre-philatelic and Classics periods, the postal history of the Sage issues on these routes has been largely ignored.

This collection, focusing on the single value for the specific time period, with usage solely (or nearly so) to or from Marseilles, is a tour de force of dogged determination and the quest for scarce material. Built, as the exhibitor notes, over decades, the presentation focuses first on Corsican service and then on North African routes, with each of the 11 Mediterranean port locations represented. A total of 27 covers—eight of which are designated as particularly elusive to scarce—illustrate the markings used, many of which for only very short periods.

Beginning with legacy "Bateau à Vapeur" (in full or abbreviated) markings, the collection continues with the "Ligne de [port]" cancels. Numerous corner cards and company cachets adorn the covers, all of which are in exceptionally bright and clean condition. Most are singly franked by either gray or blue 15c, though one cover bears an additional 10c to meet the pre-1878 letter rate t Algeria, and another bears a pair of 15c to Genoa (from Philippeville, Algeria).

We note one cover (December 13, 1880) addressed to Marseilles, with two strikes of the red octagonal "Alger à Port Vendres" dater, known only outbound from Algiers and used only occasionally between August 1880 and July 1881. This is accompanied by a 2014 Roumet certificate.

There are also two incredibly difficult-to-find "Boîte Mobile" or "B.M." cancels, one on a cover to Algiers, the second to Bône, both from Marseilles. These "Moveable Boxes" were located either on the dock or at the shipping line's offices, with mail collected from them before the ship sailed. As their name states, these boxes were never stationary, making the discovery of one cover (much less two!) for a given route that much more improbable.

A very pretty compilation of difficult maritime postal history material. Available online for viewing in full.

Price: $2,500; £1,960; €2,125; 25,000 SEK; HK$19,500. (Image)

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71 /o/   imageFrance, 1907-41, Look Left: The 30c Cameo Sower. A specialized, two-volume study of the stamp in all its glory

This collection, on 113 exhibit pages, was painstakingly created over many, many years, and focuses on the 30c "cameo". Beginning with an unfinished épreuve d'atelier, without numerals of value but in the issued color, we are shown the great diversity this denomination has to offer. The longest serving value of the series (introduced in 1907, retired in 1941), the 30c shows the greatest variation in official colors (eight) and one of the greatest in die types and sub-types (seven). The stamp appeared in three colors (orange, rose and red) and in purple, black and red as postal stationery. The stamps were printed both by flat and rotary plates, and were sold in sheet format, coils, booklets and precancels—all of which are represented.

The stamps are presented with paper (normal, striated-gum "X" and wartime "CG" types) and color varieties, test prints (orange on bristol with simulated perforations, for example), imperforates, mis-perfs, millésimes, overprinted (regular, varieties and "ANNULÉ" for training school use), booklets, Specimens, printing on both sides, incredible fold-overs, etc., etc., etc., while stationery includes postal cards and letter cards.

While this breadth and depth of coverage is in itself awe-inspiring, it is enhanced by the jaw-dropping array of postal history and usages presented. From triple-rate to single-rate letters (as postage rates increased), telegrams, pneumatic post, domestic and international usages, on parcel tags, on newspaper piece, and much, much more, with numerous Airmail, Registered and Censored covers—even a couple Rural Carrier covers (one Registered). Overseas destinations range nearly as widely as the stamp varieties, and include Indochina and French Guinea, Russia and Trinidad, Egypt and New Caledonia, and Madagascar and Siam. There is a cover franked with Andorre-overprinted Sowers, several Interrupted Flight or Crash Covers, even covers addressed to Carroll Chase (at the Paris branch of the Chase Bank), AC Roessler and Georges Lamy.

Several items accompanied by Gautré or Behr certificates.

A simply stunning monographic study of a single issue that must be seen to be believed. Visit our website, where the collection is imaged in full.

* * *

La Semeuse was a beloved symbol of the French Republic long before she graced her first envelope. Created in 1897 by Oscar Roty for use on coins of the Third Republic, "The Sower" represented France planting her ideals and seeds of peace. And those seeds needed to take root as the Twentieth Century dawned.

France issued three new series of stamps in 1900—Blanc's "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity", Mouchon's "Rights of Man" and Merson's high values—none of which proved popular. The Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, looking for a new motif, turned to Roty and his numismatic design for salvation.

Introduced in 1903, the Sower was an immediate success with the public. She served the French on their definitives for the next 38 years, appearing in three design varieties, on multiple denominations, with numerous color changes and in every format possible.

Price: $20,000; £15,685; €17,000; 200,000 SEK; HK$156,000. (Image)

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72   imageFrance, 1915-23, Army of the Orient (Armée d'orient). These 48 exhibit pages, well-designed and fully annotated, present the history of the French forces sent to face not the Germans, but the Turks, in WWI. The Balkan Front has received much less attention—both historically and philatelically—than the Western Front. But its range, variety and importance are no less, as the covers and cards in this collection—over 100 of them—show.

The majority of covers are stampless, as military personnel received free franking privileges from 1914 through the time peace treaties took effect. Various unit cachets are present, along with Trésor et Postes datestamps bearing postal-sector numbers analogous to FPO and APO markings of the British and Americans. Of those covers that are franked, we note stamps of Egypt, France, Greece and Turkey (the latter a civilian letter bearing both Turkish and French adhesives)—along with a Russian military card used at Salonica.

Born of a single French corps—sent to support the British in their ill-conceived Gallipolis campaign, and later withdrawn to "neutral" Greece—the French Armée d'orient (AO) was tasked with supporting the Serbian and Greek armies against mainly Bulgar forces. The war would see them in Italy and Greece, the Balkans, and Turkey itself.

The collection covers the original Expeditionary Corps of 1915, the Occupation of Castellorizo (1915-20), supply line bases, plus the AO's campaigns in Greek Macedonia, Corfu (French-franked cover with Serbian Censor handstamp), Suez and Palestine, Syria, Greece Albania, and Bulgaria. Post from the Légion d'orient (Armenian volunteers raised in Port Said to fight against the Turks) is present as well, as are covers from aviation squadrons, artillery units, automobile convoys, medical units, and naval forces. Post-war occupations of Rouad, Epirus, Bulgaria (the Armée du Danube), Hungary, Constantinople, Cilicia and Smyrna are all illustrated as well.

We note Registered and Airmail usages, with destinations of France, the US, Egypt and Switzerland. One card bears the blue cachet of the AO's Bacteriology Laboratory (!), a mail wagon fire cover (the result of a German airplane raid), a picture post card sent via submarine (!!), plus a ribboned bronze medal of the AO soldiery.

Uncommon material from a lesser-known theater of the Great War.

Price: $5,000; £3,925; €4,250; 50,000 SEK; HK$39,000. (Image)

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73   imageFrance, 1925-48, The Postal History of Alsace-Lorraine. A whopping 170+ pages of covers, cards and forms from the much-contested Franco-German border area, following its postal reintegration into France after WWI, plus its loss to and liberation from Germany in WWII. Each page of this 10-frame exhibit (plus additional material) bears from one to four covers, each fully annotated as to date and location, plus rate details. Covering the postal services and markings, along with inflation-induced rates, the collection is divided into five main headings, with sub-topics detailed within each: French Administration to 1940, the Fall of France (1939-40), German Administration (1940-44), Liberation (1944-45) and post-1945 French Administration.

The several hundred covers presented here represent a major accomplishment, as much mail from the period failed to survive the destruction wrought by the war. Beyond this, a considerable amount of material was intentionally destroyed by both sides for fear of recrimination. The time, effort (and, yes, expense) required to locate and bring together a display of this size is almost incomprehensible.

Nearly every usage imaginable is represented by both French and German covers. We note Registered, Express, Insured, Postage Due and Air covers (even a couple Zeppelins); railway station and car mail, "Suspended" markings; both French and German POW, Official and Military mail (at least one German Feldpost piece with stamps rather than free franked); postal receipts and money orders; mail from main and branch post offices, military hospitals, even a 1927 Strasbourg Philatelic Exposition official post card. German material also includes provisional retention and use of French cancellers, provisional rubber-stamped town cancels, meter strips, etc. Most destinations are regional French or German, but we find French covers addressed to Switzerland, Senegal, Thailand and Indo-China as well.

The preceding is just a taste of what you'll find in this collection—a full description of this holding would be unreadable, but you can view everything online.

A major accomplishment in its own right, and a once-in-a-lifetime boon for the French, German or WWII postal historian.

Price: $9,500; £7,450; €8,085; 95,000 SEK; HK$74,100. (Image)

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74 /o/   imageFrance, 1960-68, The Decaris Marianne: Production and Use. This collection, presented as a five-frame exhibit, is a specialist's delight. Over 90 covers illustrate the stamp's usage, with single, solo and mixed frankings throughout. Covers originate not just from France, but from various Départments and (former) Colonies as well, including Algeria (both pre- and post-independence, the latter with varieties and errors), French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Madagascar and Martinique.

The majority of the holding, however, consists of a study of the stamp in its various formats and their printings. It begins with two imperforate deluxe essays in unadopted colors (each with a 2010 Drouet certificate), and continues with trial color essays in blocks of four (we're particularly fond of the brown-and-black) and a final-design, issued-colors deluxe proof. We're then treated to a wealth of production, printing and plate flaws, color varieties, imperforates, dated corners, paper varieties, positionals and multiples used, and much more-including a booklet wrapper for a trial printing of the stamps with anise-flavored gum (only the French!).

Usages include single- and multiple-rate letters, Special Delivery, Airmail, Pneumatic, Acknowledgement of Receipt, even unaccepted and illegal mail!
Designed by noted artist and engraver Albert Decaris and engraved by Jules Piel, the 25c Marianne was surface-printed by three-color rotary press. Issued in sheet, coil, booklet and vending machine formats (the design also used on postal cards), the stamp served for most of its lifetime to pay the domestic single-letter rate (along with rates to several other countries), though the 1965 tariff reduction saw it used mainly for domestic postcards.

Immaculately arrayed and exquisitely annotated, this is an exhibit sure to thrill the most ardent of Marianne fans. Imaged in full online.

Price: $3,000; £2,350; €2,550; 30,000 SEK; HK$23,400. (Image)

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Germany
LotNo. Symbol CatNo. Lot Description
75   imageGermany, 1929-38, Zeppelin Flight Cachets, Proofs, Specimens & Forgeries. A small-format cover album holding 76 examples of Zeppelin-related cachets—covering the airships' decade of popularity—mostly from Graf Zeppelin flights. The cachets illustrate the global reach of the airships…and the excitement they aroused among collectors (whose covers largely underwrote the ships). Among the material here are:

Around-the-World Flight: 1929 "Tokio C.P.O." cancel on postal card corner, two strikes of "This article made the complete round trip/via/Graf/Zeppelin" in purple, Lakehurst (N.J.) Aug. 29 cachets on cards (2, green)

Egypt Flight 1931 in red (2)

Mediterranean Flight 1929

Orient Flight 1929 in black (pair on piece)

North America Flights: 1929 blue (First Flight of season), proofs of 1936 First Flight of Year Lakehurst to Frankfurt-am-Main (2) plus copies on cover

South America Flights: 1930 red, 1931 First Flight green, plus covers from Argentina and Paraguay

Condor-Zeppelin Flights: two red cachets (without date), 1932 (2) cachets on unaddressed/unflown envelope, 1934 Argentina-Europe black on "Por Zeppelin - 'Via Condor'" unaddressed/unfranked envelope, "Condor/Zeppelin/Lufthansa" cachets (2; one dated 1935)

Brazil 1934 "Autograph book"—booklet of sheets with variously dated or designed handstamps, a trio of handstamps (including for Philatelic Expos) on sheet (unflown?), fancy triangular "America do nord/Europa/Brasil Condor" Zeppelin handstamps (magenta, brownish, pink, blue)

Germany Flights: Magdeburg 1931 in red, Schwaben 10.Aug. cancel on Germania postal card (missing year slug), Schwaben 1931, Sudetenland on piece (no date)

European Flights: Italy 1933, Ostseejahr round-trip flight 1931, Pomerania 1931 (four strikes, three colors), Upper Silesia 1931, plus Austria, Hungary, Iceland Flight (5 items), Netherlands (Venlo 1930 cachet in violet)

Miscellany: Görlitz 17 Oct. 1929 mail drop cancel, Hamburg Mophila '31 Expo handstamp featuring the Zeppelin, Karlsruhe Reichspostdirektion form with black Zeppelin-Post Exhibit handstamp and 12 7 38 Konstanz dater, Stuttgart postal form with 16.10.32 Luftschiff/Graf Zeppelin double-ring bridge cancel, two copies of forged on-board 8 Aug 1929 cancels, interesting and scarce Graf Zeppelin- and DZR-themed meter cancels from 1928 and 1938 (one of the latter touting the LZ-130 [Graf Zeppelin II]), and much, much more.

Non-German material features an "R-100 - Montreal - 1930" handstamp on Canada 1¢ Jubilee postal card plus two USS Macon items (Feb 9, 1934, First Mooring at Camp Kearney card and Feb 10, 1934, "U.S.S. Macon/Passed/This Way/Again" cachet signed by George Fortier), along with what appears to be the original artwork for the Dexter City, OH, National Air Mail Week cachet commemorating the crash of the Shenandoah.

The final item in the binder is a thermographed image-and-text cachet, "Hindenburg explodes" (identified R.C.D. No. 1-4-4) with "Brooklyn, N.Y./6/May/1937/U.S. Receiving Ship" three thick bar Doane "HINDENBURG/EXPLODES" cancel (no postage or address).

An incredible gathering of beautiful material: an exhibition-quality collection in its own right, or a wealth of impossible-to-find collateral material.

Price: $4,000; £3,135; €3,400; 40,000 SEK; HK$31,200. (Image)

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76   imageGermany, 1937, LZ-129 Hindenburg, May Day (non-)Flight Collection. Five binders presenting over 370 covers, plus additional related materials, from the aborted May 1 National Flight of the Hindenburg. Unable to repeat her Germany Flight of the previous year due to weather, the mail intended for the May 1 flight was added to that on her May 3 flight to North America, and parachuted over Cologne for delivery. This lot contains a great range of frankings (including Hitler and other souvenir sheets complete), flight cachets in various colors (including black and the very scarce blue in addition to normal shades of red), photos, a passenger list, etc., etc.—along with a copy of Charles Jacob's Ausfalls: LZ 129 Hindenburg May Day Flight 1937.

* * *

Zeppelins. They were sleek, silent and sensational. During WWI, they were deadly, being used for bombing raids over England and the Continent. But during the inter-war years, Germany looked to "rebrand" her airships as passenger liners and symbols of German modernity and know-how. The most famous of her inter-war ships, the Graf Zeppelin, made numerous well-known intercontinental and trans-oceanic flights—North and South America, the Middle East, the Arctic, 1929's Around-the-World Flight, and to the 1933 Chicago World's Fair (all of which spawned sought-after philatelic mementos)—as well as less well-known flights within and around Germany, including a 1936 propaganda flight to the Rhineland demilitarized zone.

On that latter flight, Graf Zeppelin was accompanied by the newly launched Hindenburg. Whereas there had been an air of the "goodwill flight" with its international journeys (in addition to being tests of the machines, passenger trips plus money-makers for the company), the March 1936 Deutschlandfahrt was organized by the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. The re-militarization of the Rhineland in direct contradiction of the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Pact was backed by an after-the-fact plebiscite, with the two airships meant to inspire German pride (and, thanks to leaflets dropped and speeches broadcast, sway votes) during their flights in the week leading to the referendum.

Hindenburg's 1937 season began in late March with a South America flight. This was bracketed (mid-March and late April) by a series of unsuccessful experimental hook-ons and take-offs from the undercarriage trapeze (pioneered on the USS Akron) by Ernst Udet (pilot of the Kent Greenland Airmail label cover offered elsewhere in the sale).

Hindenburg's next flight was to be a reprise of her 1936 Deutschlandfahrt, this time a one-day return trip running from Frankfurt's newly opened airport north to Berlin and back. Mail-carrying fees were always a major source of income for the Zeppelin company, and this flight was no different: following postal officials' announcement of the flight, over 100 kg of covers were aboard for servicing.

The flight, however, was not to be—all thanks to the weather. The winds had been high the previous year, and Hindenburg's tail fin was damaged as her captain tried to take off despite the conditions. Mindful of the damage (physical and reputational) from 1936, officials unhappily agreed to scrap the 1937 flight. The question then remained: What to do with the mail?

An elegant solution was found in an extra handstamp and Hindenburg's flight schedule. May 3 was her first North America flight of the season, so all mail intended for the National Flight was added to the covers and cards intended for Lakehurst. A special rectangular four-line handstamp reading "Due to cancelled/Germany Flight/mail drop from/North America Flight" was applied, and a parachute drop made over the center of Cologne around 9:30 p.m. The ship then turned west en route toward the Atlantic, New Jersey, and her still not fully explained fiery end.

Price: $10,000; £7,850; €8,500; 100,000 SEK; HK$78,000. (Image)

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Great Britain
LotNo. Symbol CatNo. Lot Description
77 o/   imageGreat Britain, 1837-40, The Wyon Medal and the Penny Black. This extensive collection illuminates the prehistory of the Penny Black and its iconic portrait of a young Queen Victoria. The bust, based on an engraving by William Wyon, was most famous prior to 1840 as the obverse of "The Wyon Medal", produced to celebrate Victoria's attendance of the annual Mayoralty banquet at Guildhall in the City of London. Encompassing both numismatics and philately, the collection here offered documents the full scope of the Wyon Victoria. Beginning with contemporary medals (close to 50, including two Guildhall medals), coins and decorative objects, along with Penny Black usages (39 covers), the holdings also include the centenary and sesquicentenary celebrations of the Black, with other modern philatelic items as well.

There are nearly 50 contemporary medals utilizing the Wyon bust, including two Guildhall medals (one copper, one silver), plus British National Stamp Show/Stampex mementos or awards (various medals) from the 1980s-90s. Also featured are two large bois durci cameos, one of Victoria, the matching Albert, along with a 1985-86 National Postal Museum Wedgwood Sweets Dish (white on black; #80 of 1000 issued) and a Crimea campaign medal set into bottom of a silver finger bowl(?). A fun, and unexpected, item is a letterpress metal plate (mounted and ready for printing) of four oversized "Penny Blacks" in denominations of 5p, 10p, 15p and 50p, all with a "Postal Strike" banner across the lower right corner (when printed).

The stamps include 39 Penny Black covers (one a horizontal pair, one alongside a 1d Red) plus five singles off-piece. These show a range of cancels (from devilish to Pollock-esque) and usages (including a turned letter and several stamps severely cut down, perhaps as a means of reusing the "mint" portion of a stamp to defraud the Post Office).

A "VR"-lettered example is included as well (whose printing looks slightly metallic), along with three Penny Red covers—including one addressed to Rowland Hill in Bayswater—and four 2d Blue singles in shades plus a cover. You'll also find an imitation copper printing plate, a Penny Black Albert (possibly the work of François Fournier), a Penny Red on (perhaps) Penny Black printer's waste (in need of further research!), etc., etc. Many of the Penny Black covers are to well-known persons of the time, and come with biographical information. There are also several examples of pre-adhesive postal markings, including a forged 1808 "Crown Free" cover (charged 4d postage).

The Classics are accompanied by a binder of material from the 1940 and 1990 celebrations of the Penny Black with a wide array of covers—UK mostly, but Canada and US noted as well. Certainly the most eye-catching is a multi-franked 1940 Centenary Registered cover, including a Penny Black, a perforated Penny Red, plus two later surface-printed Queen Victorias, a King Edward VII, four King George Vs, a King Edward VIII plus three King George VIs—many in red and all bearing the red Exhibition cancel honoring the Red Cross.

Two stunning items are plate proofs on card of the Penny Black, sans corner letters, both signed Robson Lowe. One is inscribed in pencil "1st Proof—upper lip too heavily shaded./1.11.39"; the second "2nd proof. November 16th, 1939."

Bringing us up to the modern era, there is a Fleetwood "Best of the Penny Black Sesquicentennial Stamps" by Charity Boxall (Jeffery Matthews, designer), with virtually all the singles and souvenir sheets issued around the world on the 150th, plus material from the Smithsonian Postal Museum's "The Queen's Own" Exhibit.

And if all that weren't enough…may we introduce you to the stamp snake? This tempting serpent, housed safely in its own display box, measures 25 inches overall, with its 21 5/8-inch body composed of hundreds of stamps (most Penny Reds from a cautious peek—though we see some blue in there as well) removed from envelopes, their corners cropped to varying degrees to produce the taper of the snake's body from head to tail, and strung together on a central line of cotton. Among the clippings and reprints in this lot are several pieces on stamp snakes (one 11 feet long and seven years in the making!). So for all you wondering what to do with those duplicates and space-fillers….

* * *

On 9 November 1837, Queen Victoria traveled from Buckingham Palace to the City of London. The young Queen, not yet enthroned five months, continued the royal tradition of attending the annual Mayoralty banquet at Guildhall at the invitation of the Lord Mayor, the Right Hon. John Cowan, and the Corporation. Her entourage departed the Palace at 2:00 p.m., making its way across town along rapturous crowd-lined streets, arriving at Temple Bar to be greeted by the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs, and Aldermen, along with a deputation of six members of the Court of Common Council. The entire party proceeded thence to Guildhall where, following a ceremony of speeches, dinner was announced at 5:20 p.m., and, having dined and toasted, the Queen set off on her return to Buckingham Palace at 8:30 p.m.

To commemorate this visit, William Wyon, R.A., an engraver of the Royal Mint, sculpted a commemorative medal, whose obverse featured the head of Her Majesty, with a tiara, to the left, with VICTORIA REGINA the legend. The reverse portrayed the front of the Guildhall, surmounted by the royal standard; the exergue below reading IN HONOUR OF HER MAJESTY'S VISIT TO THE CORPORATION OF LONDON 9th NOV: 1837. The medal measures 2.15 inches in diameter. Officials record three struck in gold, 120 in silver and 350 in bronze.

As proud as Wyon was of his work (he distributed specimens to prospective clients, including other European royals), perhaps even he would be surprised at the latitude and longevity of his 1834 likeness of a then-15-year-old Princess Victoria. For beyond the event-specific medal, his likeness of the queen was used on military decorations for service in the Crimea, the Baltic, China and South Africa, among other theaters; on exposition and diplomatic medals, student prizes, awards for excellence in various fields; and further on book bindings, wall plaques, perfume bottles, jewelry, Wedgwood…any decorative piece imaginable.

But it is as the basis of the Penny Black that it saw its most widespread and popular usage. Rowland Hill, instigator of British postal reforms, felt it a "foregone conclusion" that the first stamp portray the queen, whose portrait should have the added benefit of instilling in the public "a taste for fine art." Wyon's sculpted bust was taken by Edward Henry Corbould and turned into a watercolor drawing for Perkins Bacon & Co. in mid-October 1837, already working with Hill. Corbould's drawing was then transcribed by engravers Charles and Frederick Heath into the stamp we all know and crave today.

Perhaps the greatest fan of the bust was Victoria herself, who never allowed another portrait of herself to appear on stamps or stationery during her long reign. (In the Post, at least, the queen never aged.).

Price: $17,000; £13,335; €14,500; 170,000 SEK; HK$132,600. (Image)

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78   imageGreat Britain, 1842, First Afghan War Correspondence from Maj. William Brydon and Captain William Riddell. First-hand accounts from Britain's first, disastrous move in the Great Game.

Included here are three pieces from Brydon, plus an additional letter from Riddell.

Brydon's material begins with an autograph letter signed, dated Jellabad June 14, 1842. Addressed to a Mrs. Coni at Simla, he regretfully informs her that he has heard nothing about her husband, and fears he was killed in the retreat from Kabul. The letter is accompanied by its original outer lettersheet, charged 1 anna at Loodhana, with partial boxed handstamp on reverse with framed "L.P.O." Also included is a contemporary copy of Dr. Brydon's letter written January 20, 1842, to his brother Tom, headed "The Disaster in Afghanistan/Dr. Brydon's Narrative of his Escape/(From the Times)", on five pages with mourning borders. The final bit of Brydon is a photo of the man himself in uniform in later years.

Riddell's letter, headed "Major General Pollock's Camp at Jellabad 7th August 1842" and addressed to his wife at Malwah, Indore. In it, he expresses hope for the release of prisoners taken during the January retreat, but observes that "Muhumed Uckbar is still playing us false and only temporising until the season is too far advanced for us to attempt an advance on Cabool." Four-page letter in all (with cross-writing), the face with choice strike of "FEROZEPORE/Bearing 10 as" boxed handstamp, with manuscript "Bearing" and "Via Loodianah".

Remarkable eye-witness accounts, with all material expertly written up and or transcribed. Perfect for the historian or the exhibitor.

* * *

Brydon was an Assistant Surgeon in the British East India Company Army, and believed at the time to be the sole survivor of Major-General Elphinstone's January 1842 retreat from Kabul. Following the British decision to abandon their cantonment outside the Afghan capital, Elphinstone's forces—4,500 military personnel and over 12,000 camp followers (including women and children)—set out for the British garrison at Jalalabad, under promise of safe passage. This promise was immediately broken, with decimating ambushes, desertions and freezing temperatures. Riddell was a Surgeon in Major General Pollock's "Army of Retribution", sent to avenge the massacres between April and September.

Price: $3,500; £2,750; €2,975; 35,000 SEK; HK$27,300. (Image)

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Greenland
LotNo. Symbol CatNo. Lot Description
79   imageGreenland, Airmail, 1932, Rockwell Kent 10 øre essay, used on a 1933 cover.

To date, only about 8 covers are recorded.

In 1932, Dr. Fanck led an expedition to Greenland to make a film for Universal Pictures called "S.O.S. Iceberg", starring Leni Reifenstahl. WWI German ace pilot, Ernst Udet, accompanied them and flew supplies in and out of their base camp.

Rockwell Kent was living and working in Greenland at the time. He and Udet met and, it is said, during an evening of drink, hit upon the idea of making a stamp to raise money for the local community center, charging 10 ore per stamp. He hand-cut the woodblock and made between 50 and 75 impressions. Only 8 or so are known on cover.

Upon Kent's return to the U.S., the stamp was reprinted by Pynson Press in New York for sale to print collectors. There are conflicting reports that either 200 or 275 of the reprints were made; an unknown number were signed by Kent. The reprints were never flown.

Included are the following items:

1) The flown cover

2) 1934 letter from Kent to Alton Blank talking of his recollections, with a copy of the reprint tipped on.

3) The film company issued a large poster stamp to promote the film. It is known in greenish grey and brownish grey, included are in German (3 colors) and French (rare). There is an English one as well that we have never seen.

4) Two reproductions have recently appeared on eBay: black on greenish or cream paper, gummed. It is clearly not meant to fool anyone.

5) We have seen obvious forgeries offered at least twice on eBay. One is present for archival purposes. Without looking any further, the inclusion of the portion of a second stamp to the left is evidence enough. These stamps were produced one at a time.

6) To complete the story: a first edition of Dr. Fanck's book, a DVD of the film and a contemporary pictorial news report.

Price: $9,000; £7,060; €7,660; 90,000 SEK; HK$70,200. (Image)

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Mexico
LotNo. Symbol CatNo. Lot Description
80 /o/   imageMexico, 1913-62, Sunburst Registry Seals, the finest collection ever formed. An exhibition-quality holding, created through the amalgamation of the three best collections ever formed, those of Nick Follansbee, Richard Saillant and Shel Beigel. Neatly arranged and annotated on stockpages in two 3-inch binders—one binder dedicated to the Full Eagle Types, the second to the Profile Eagles—the collection consists of individual seals off-cover, plus a wealth of covers displaying a wide range of usages (e.g., advertising, commercial and mourning), markings (e.g., "AR", censored, officially sealed), frankings (including dual Swiss and Mexican stamps) and destinations both domestic and foreign.

The seals are present in all three issued colors (blue, green and red), with a wide array of shades present. They display 24 different Types, with a number of sub-types noted throughout. Given the astute eyes of the three original collectors, their combined collections here include all the known rarities and a number of Earliest Known Dates.

The holding comprises 507 seals and 353 covers, a number of which bear the rare combination of two Types. Numerous constant varieties—some not previously recorded—are found, both on- and off-cover. Printing errors, including double prints and end-of-paper splices, are scattered throughout.

There are too many highlights and items of interest to note them all here, but key items include:

•     All four sub-types of the red Type 3, three on covers.
•     Likely unique mint Type 3 and Type 6.
•     A Type 1 cover with double impression.
•     Type 1 and Type 4 seals postmarked in October 1913-most likely the earliest known usage.
•     Several difficult Type 4 and Type 5 color varieties.
•     Type 7 covers showing difficult-to-find die varieties.
•     A rare Type 9 on enameled paper.
•     An excessively rare Type 12.
•     The unique Type 13.
•     The late "Servicio Postal Mexicano" (Type 23) both on- and off-cover.

If all this weren't enough, there is also a box of duplicates and registry cancels from both small towns and from Mexico City.

Also included are a number of reference works: photocopies of Charles W. Brock's 1962 articles from Mexicana, which served as the foundation for the serious study of these seals; and Follansbee's "Sunburst" Registry Seals of Mexico, The Stamps of the Mexican Revolution 1913-1916, and the bilingual History of the Austrian and Belgian Legions during the Second Empire/Gems of the Mexican Revolution—all of which are indispensable to the Mexico collector.

Mexican postal authorities decreed in 1899 that Registered (or Certified) mail would receive a wax seal across the backflap as a security device. As Registry volume increased, though, the Post Office realized the time-consuming wax seal was no longer practical and, on August 28, 1913, officially authorized the use of the die-cut adhesive labels, called "marbetes especiales".

The seals, originally printed in blue (and later in green or red), were produced much as embossed envelopes are: from the master die a transfer hub die is made, which is then transferred to working dies for the actual printing and embossing. Some of the minor varieties are most likely due to recuttings before the working dies were hardened, but some differences are so great that it is likely numerous master dies were created over the years or in different locations.

The varieties—not just among dies, but of paper color, texture and thickness—can be attributed in part to these seals being introduced just as the country was beginning its revolution. It makes sense in such surroundings that various printers, using locally produced dies on various presses, would create finished products of varying designs and quality.

The collection at hand serves as a remarkable introduction to this specialized field, simultaneously opening the door to further study and expansion.

Price: $14,000; £10,980; €11,925; 140,000 SEK; HK$109,200. (Image)

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