Rumsey Dec. 11-14 auction series features specialized collections of machine cancels, post office seals, Pacific Mail Steamship Co., Nepal; gems of philately

Nov 23, 2023, 9 AM

By Charles Snee

Schuyler Rumsey Philatelic Auctions will conduct three separate sales Dec. 11-14 at the firm’s office in San Francisco, Calif.

Leading off the four-day series is Rumsey’s Dec. 11-13 sale of Great Britain, British Commonwealth and general foreign; zeppelin flights; United States stamps, postal history and possessions; and collections and philatelic literature. Also included are specialized collections of U.S. machine cancellations and post office seals formed by William “Bill” Barlow.

One of the centerpieces of the Barlow collection of U.S. machine cancels is a postcard bearing a marvelous strike of the Seattle, Wash., Exposition Station cancel featuring a stylized U.S. flag and “Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition” on the flag’s stripes.

The exposition was held June 1-Oct. 16, 1909, in Seattle to celebrate the development of the Pacific Northwest.

The card was postmarked June 23, just three weeks after the exposition opened, and was mailed to Sedro-Woolley, Wash. A 1¢ blue green Franklin stamp (Scott 300) paid the required 1¢ postage for a domestic postcard.

Rumsey said the postcard is “one of three recorded examples of the Alaska-Yukon Exposition flag machine cancel,” making it “one of the key exposition postmarks.”

Other than mentioning some light toning, Rumsey described the card as being “very fine and rare.”

Rumsey is offering this postcard, which once resided in the Irving Heimburger collection, with an estimate of $3,000 to $4,000.

The final day of the auction series, Dec. 14, will showcase the Gems of Philately and Asia sales.

One of the great rarities of France’s postal history will cross the auction block during the Gems of Philately auction.

That item is a folded letter franked with an 1849 1-franc bright vermilion Ceres (unlisted color variety of Scott 8) and an 1849 20-centime black Ceres (3) that was mailed Oct. 16, 1849, from Moissey, France, to Rome.

Both stamps are neatly tied to the cover by bold strikes of a diamond lozenge cancel.

“Three covers are recorded with this franking, of which this is the finest of the three known,” Rumsey said.

According to Rumsey, the black “Franco Sarzana” straight-line marking struck upside down at lower left indicates that the letter was paid to the Sardinian border. The 1.20fr postage paid the rate to Italy.

The cover has been signed by Bernard and Pascal Behr, J.F. Brun, Calves, E. Diena and Goebel, and is accompanied by 2003 Behr, Brun and Goebel expertizing certificates.

Rumsey lists this attractive and highly regarded item of France’s postal history with an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.

Featured in the Dec. 14 Asia sale is the Catalina collection of the Pacific Mail Steamship Co.

A particularly desirable cover from that holding is a letter mailed Nov. 26, 1867, from Hong Kong to Hamilton, N.Y., with a mixed franking consisting of a Hong Kong 1863 8¢ bright orange Queen Victoria (Scott 13a) and a U.S. 1861 10¢ green Washington (68).

Rumsey described the letter as bearing a full, clear strike of a red “China and Japan, Steam Service” oval handstamp and having a manuscript “per ‘China’ ” and “Pacific Mail Steamship Co.” endorsements at left. According to Rumsey, the latter denotes “the contact between the U.S. Post Office and P.M.S.S. Co. for monthly mail service.”

Rumsey also pointed out that the cover is illustrated in The United States Post Offices in China and Japan 1867 to 1874 by Richard C. Frajola, Michael O. Perlman and Lee C. Scamp, published in 2006.

“This cover was sent on 5th Pacific Mail Steamship Co. [contract] sailing and was the maiden voyage of the steamship ‘China’ which departed Hong Kong on November 26 transiting Yokohama (December 6th) and Honolulu [and] arriving in San Francisco on December 31st,” Rumsey said.

“Prior to the 1867 treaty, the only way to prepay mail from Hong Kong to the U.S. was to prepay both the 8¢ Hong Kong postage and the U.S. 10¢ steamship rate,” Rumsey explained. “The 1867 treaty between Hong Kong and the United States was to take effect on November 1, 1867 but was not fully executed by the U.S. until November 12th. The news of this new treaty agreement could not have reached Hong Kong prior to the sending of this cover.”

Accompanying the cover are 1981 and 2003 Philatelic Foundation certificates.

Rumsey estimates this important 1867 Pacific Mail Steam Ship Co. cover at $50,000 to $75,000.

The three catalogs prepared for Rumsey’s Dec. 11-14 auction series are available for viewing on the Rumsey website, or they can be downloaded from the same site as PDF files. Online bidding is available through Stamp Auction Network.

For additional information, contact Schuyler J. Rumsey Philatelic Auctions, 47 Kearny St., Suite 500, San Francisco, CA 94108.

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