Part 10 of Erivan U.S., Confederate States collection in April 30 H.R. Harmer sale

Apr 11, 2024, 8 AM

By Charles Snee

On April 30, H.R. Harmer will offer the 10th and final part of the massive Erivan collection of United States and Confederate States postal history.

The 280-lot auction will take place at 10 a.m. Eastern Time at the firm’s gallery in New York City.

Erivan Haub (1932-2018) was a billionaire and retail businessman whose prodigious collecting interests spanned the globe.

“Several of the most coveted rarities of the Erivan Collection are offered in this catalogue, many of which have not been seen on the market in decades,” write Chris Green and Dieter Michelson in the preface to the sale catalog.

“These iconic pieces, reflecting a range of collecting interests including Carriers and Locals, the Pony Express, Confederate States, Hawaii, and more, are offered here alongside missed opportunities from prior sales and a powerful selection of balance lots,” Green and Michelson said.

“Together they provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity for collectors to acquire long-awaited gems before they yet again disappear from the market.”

“With this sale, the last of the United States treasures of the Erivan Collection will find appreciative homes with new collectors.”

One of those treasures, which will come up for bid during the first third of the sale, is a spectacular 1861 Wells, Fargo & Co. cover franked with a $1 red Pony Express stamp (Scott 143L3) used in combination with a 1855 10¢ green Nesbitt stamped envelope (Scott U15), two 1859 10¢ Washington stamps (Scott 35) and two 1857 3¢ dull red Washington stamps (Scott 26).

According to H.R. Harmer, the 10¢ envelope, two 10¢ stamps and two 3¢ stamps combined to overpay by 1¢ the 35¢ Prussian closed mail rate.

Both the $1 Pony Express and 3¢ Washington stamps are tied by a faint strike of a Sept. 7 (1861) oval blue Running Pony handstamp at upper left, which was applied in San Francisco, Calif. In addition, the four Washington stamps are canceled with New York Foreign Mail Office grid markings.

This Wells, Fargo Pony Express cover was mailed to the addressee in Maggia, Ticino, Switzerland. Postmarks on the back (not shown) indicate that the cover transited through New York City on Sept. 25 and Basel, Switzerland on Oct. 9 before arriving in Lucerne on Oct. 10.

According to H.R. Harmer, “The exhaustive Frajola – Kramer – Walske Census records six covers to destinations outside of the United States, with one example recorded to each of England, France, Germany, Prince Edward Island, Scotland, and Switzerland.”

After transport on the eastbound Pony Express, the letter “was carried from New York via British Packet, then onwards through Aachen and conveyed via Prussian Closed Mail, traveling south from Basel to its eventual recipient, Pietro Martinelli in Maggia,” H.R. Harmer said.

“At this time Australia and the United States, particularly California, became popular destinations for Swiss immigrants from the Maggia Valley,” H.R. Harmer explained. “A period of economic hardship in the region combined with the promise of riches that could be had from gold rushes in both countries encouraged many to leave the Ticino area to seek their fortune abroad.”

An accompanying 2003 Philatelic Foundation certificate states the letter had been “cleaned to remove staining.”

H.R. Harmer is offering this impressive 1861 Wells, Fargo Pony Express cover with a starting bid of $200,000.

Also available to tempt bidders are various eye-catching fancy cancels on cover. Among the 20 or so from Waterbury, Conn., is an 1864 3¢ Washington stamped envelope mailed April 27, 1866, to Saugatuck, Conn.

The indicium (stamp imprint) at upper right is almost totally obscured by a perfect strike of the Waterbury Woman in Bonnet Facing Left. Intricate details in the woman’s face and bonnet are clearly visible.

This cover is pictured in The Waterbury Cancellations 1865-1890 by Paul C. Rohloff. The Woman in Bonnet Facing Left fancy cancel is listed as No. E-11 in the Rohloff book.

According to H.R. Harmer, the cover represents the only recorded example of the Woman in Bonnet Facing Left fancy cancel from Waterbury, Conn.

H.R. Harmer lists this important Waterbury fancy cancel cover with a starting bid of $8,000.

The catalog for the sale of part 10 of the Erivan U.S. and Confederate States collection is posted on the H.R. Harmer website. The Erivan catalog is downloadable, and online bidding options are available for the sale.

Additional information is also available from H.R. Harmer, 45 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 2607, New York, NY 10111.

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