Barwis Philadelphia collection in Rumsey’s Oct. 4-6 Sescal auction

Sep 12, 2019, 2 PM
A 1748 folded letter mailed from Philadelphia to London, England, with the postage rating written by Postmaster Benjamin Franklin. The ship letter is being offered during Schuyler Rumsey’s Oct. 4-6 auction at the Sescal stamp exhibition.

By Michael Baadke

The Oct. 4-6 Schuyler Rumsey auction at the Sescal 2019 stamp exhibition in California includes material from the John Barwis collection of Philadelphia postal history, plus United States and worldwide stamps and postal history.

The auction will take place at the show venue in Room 100AB at the Ontario Convention Center, 2000 E. Convention Center Way, in Ontario, Calif.

Barwis is a respected philatelic researcher whose collection of Philadelphia foreign mails won large gold medals at World Stamp Show-NY 2016 and Stockholmia 2019.

He also was named the 2011 American Philatelic Society Champion of Champions with his collection of “The Half-Lengths of Victoria, 1850-59.”

The material in the upcoming auction represents “the rich history of Philadelphia clearly evident from colonial times through the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and into the UPU [Universal Postal Union] period,” according to Rumsey.

The large number of stampless covers in the sale includes dozens that date from the 18th century.

Among these is a 1748 ship letter mailed from Philadelphia to London, England. According to the catalog description, the rating on the front of the folded cover, “Phi. paid dwt 3:8” is in the hand of Benjamin Franklin, then Philadelphia’s postmaster. The rating is confirmed by a 2019 Philatelic Foundation certificate.

The cover is one of only two prepaid ship letters from Philadelphia recorded, according to Rumsey. It is listed with an estimate of $7,500 to $10,000.

The Rumsey general sale includes Mexico stamps and postal history, with a large number of U.S. covers, Western Express covers and more.

The collector of modern U.S. stamp errors will find a “never hinged, fresh and well centered” example of the 1979 $1 Candleholder with the engraved brown inverted (Scott 1610c), a stamp known to collectors as the CIA Invert because of the circumstances surrounding its discovery.

The auction catalogs are found on the Rumsey website, with online bidding options available. Information is also available from Schuyler Rumsey Philatelic Auctions, 47 Kearny St, Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94108.

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