One of just three examples of the handstamp is to head a rare stamp sale in the city it was issued:- Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries is to hold a Rarities of the World sale later this month, continuing an annual tradition which began in 1964.
This year, the sale includes a fantastic range of contributing collections, of which the finest include:
The Marc Weinberg-Martin Collection of France and Areas, including Maritime Mails, French Colonies and France,The Hall Family Collection of Chile, (which was mounted for exhibit in 1936 and is offered to the market for the first time),the Dr. Robert LeBow Collection of Bolivia and the Dr. Yamil H. Kouri Collection of Cuba Puerto Principe Issues.
Amongst the grand total of 343 lots, some very early American covers stand out:
Firstly, one of just six intact Humboldt Express covers from the last of seven services provided by Samuel W Langton, renowned as one of the most energetic and persevering of the numerous expressmen of the time.
Langton required an extra 25c in addition to the typical $2 per letter for letters requiring the tricky route between the Humboldt mines in Nevada and Carson City, the state capital, and issued a 25c brown stamp for the purpose in 1860 (eight years after the New York Dispatch, but before a standardised postal system).
The example is listed here at $30,000-40,000. There is also one of the 19 covers making use of the 5c Black on Buff Brattleboro provisional estimated at $35,000.
The most exciting piece however, is a stampless cover from 1842, featuring one of just three surviving uses of the 'Paid at New York' handstamp. To be precise, it is the latest use and one of just two available to collectors.
The Crown-Circle markings were applied by the British postal agent on letters carried by the British Royal Packet service. All three recorded examples of this marking were carried on the Havana and North American route, in this case to Rear Admiral Sir Charles Adam.
The exceptionally clear strike is estimated at $50,000-75,000 reflecting how rare and well preserved it is, and also its significance as being used in the year when the US used its first stamps, following Britain. The auction takes place on June 19 in New York.