3c Orange Brown, Ty. II (10A), Position 58R1E,
ample margins to touched at top, affixed with additional red sealing wax to secure the stamp and tied by grid cancel, blue "Baltimore Jul. 1" (1851) First Day of Issue circular datestamp on blue folded letter to New York, manuscript
"Paid" at lower left, letter clearly datelined July 1, 1851 and relates to a deposit of silver dollars, stamp with some slight puckering from the sealing wax
VERY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE FIRST DAY COVER OF THE 1851 3-CENT ORANGE BROWN
USED FROM BALTIMORE, MARYLAND. THIS IS THE ONLY CONFIRMED FIRST DAY USE FROM BALTIMORE.
Three new stamps--1c, 3c and 12c denominations-- were necessary after postage rates were revised by Congress during the Fillmore administration. Effective
July 1, 1851, the basic rates became 1c for newspapers and circulars (with a distance escalation until 1852), 1c for drop letters and carrier fees, 3c for domestic letters sent up to 3,000 miles, and 6c for letters sent over 3,000 miles. Prepayment
by stamps or stamped envelopes was not made compulsory until 1855, but for the first time there were higher rates for letters sent unpaid -- 5c instead of 3c, and 10c instead of 6c. The combination of convenience and the financial incentive to prepay
postage led to a rapid increase in stamp use and popularity.
Under Postmaster General Nathan K. Hall, the contract to print the 1851 Issue was awarded to the Philadelphia firm of Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co. (Casilear retired in October
1854, but his name was included in plate imprints as late as 1857). To start, only the 1c, 3c and 12c (and the General Issue Carrier stamps) were produced. A 10c stamp was added in 1855 to meet the new transcontinental rate, and a 5c stamp was added
in 1856 for use on transatlantic mail. The firm's original six-year contract was extended to 1861, during which time stamps were perforated and three new denominations were issued (24c, 30c and 90c), for a total of eight different stamps under Toppan
All three 1851 Issue stamps were supplied to certain post offices on or before July 1, 1851, the first day of the new rates. The census of 1851 First Day Covers published by Wilson Hulme in 2006 (The 1851 Issue of United
States Stamps: A Sesquicentennial Retrospective, USPCS) tallied 45 covers from 23 cities in 11 states (one in the count was postmarked by the Louisville & Cincinnati Mail Line route agent). Only two of the 45 covers have 1c stamps and the other
43 have 3c stamps. There are currently are no 12c July 1 covers known.
The Hulme census illustrates five covers from Baltimore, but four of these are either printed circulars dated July 1, 1851 (which were frequently mailed at a later date) or
have no confirming evidence of 1851 usage other than an Orange Brown stamp from Plate 1E. This is the only Baltimore cover that can be definitively identified as a First Day use.
After the 1851 stamps were released, problems with the adhesive
quality of the gum were reported. An editorial in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, Wednesday, July 16, 1851, states: "The Three Cents Postage Stamps are in many cases nearly useless for the want of sufficient gum to make them stick. Some of
them will not adhere, and all of them cause an unnecessary consumption of time to make them do so. This is a matter of complaint with many of our men of business, and one which could easily be removed by the manufacturer."
With March 31, 1947
note of authenticity from Dr. Carroll Chase on back (Image)
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