By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller
Wells Fargo and Co. was founded March 18, 1852, in New York City. In July of that year, it opened offices in California. Headquartered in San Francisco and acquiring and absorbing other companies, it quickly became the dominant express company in the western United States. Eventually banking became its most important service, and today it is the world’s second largest bank by market capitalization and the third largest bank in the United States by asset value.
Wells Fargo and Co. began issuing stamps for prepayment of express delivery charges in 1861. The company’s Pony Express stamps are among the most famous and eye-catching U.S. local post stamps.
Less well known, but equally collectible are the company’s newspaper stamps. The nondenominated stamps prepaid shipment of single newspapers over Wells Fargo’s established routes.
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Many of the newspaper stamps are pricey, but some are quite affordable, especially in unused condition. Look for the 1883-1888 blue U.S. Routes newspaper stamp (Scott 143LP9). The 2017 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the stamp at just $3.50 in unused condition and just $5 in used condition. It is an excellent buy at those prices.