The "Baja California" Collection
February 26, 2015

Update March 13, 2015, remaining unsold items have
been placed with RA Siegel for auction

Offered by Richard Frajola

Click cover images to see larger view.

Ordering Information - Items that have grayed-our stock number and prices have been sold. Please email me to confirm availability and order by stock number.


Additional California related covers may be found in stock here.


California Illustrated Letters

#3044, [View of Nevada City from Prospect Hill], Published by C.W. Mulford, Nevada (from a sketch by E.G. Whithington), with original miner's letter dated Wolf Creek, May 4, 1851, with original cover (front only) to Reynoldsburg, Ohio, entered the mails with San Francisco Cal May 15 postmark and "40" rate handstamp, PDF file of letter is here

Unlisted in Baird

ex Harrison


#3060, [Sundry Amusements In The Mines], illustrated letter sheet with Britton & Rey with original letter and envelope, good content three page miner's letter of L. R. Bingham, dated at Nevada (City), March 22, 1853 used to Ohio, entered mails with pair 3c dull red (#11, oxidized) tied by Nevada City Cal Apr 9 postmark, manuscript "Due" and "10" rate handstamp for overweight letter, transcript of letter here

these sheets are rare with original envelopes



#3061, [The Miner's Ten Commandments], large illustrated lettersheet with original miner's illustrated cover used to Canada, letter of Archibald McAlpin written to his brother dated Ophir, July 8, 1855, Miner's Coat of Arms cover with Hutchings imprint with manuscript Oroville Cal July 15 1855 postmark and matching "15c Paid" rate, red "U. States Paid" exchange handstamp and "9" (d) rate, red Port Robinson C.W. transit backstamp, cover missing one back side flap and edge repairs, only one other such use to Canada is reported (same correspondence)


#3047, [The San Francisco News Letter, No. 16], "A Summary if Events from Feb 20th to March 5th, 1857, Per Steamer Golden Age," complete issue of four pages, original letter dated Chinese Camp, March 14, 1857, this issue contains the important illustrated notice of Snowshoe Thompson of Carson Valley, (Nevada) folded to display on single page


$1,250 (sold)

#3048, [1854 Via Panama Route Illustrated Sheet], three page printed circular and letter from the Boston Agent of U.S. Mail Steamship Company, and Pacific Mail Steamship Company, first page here, second page shown at left, third page here is dated Dec 26, 1854

an attractive item


#3044, [John A. Sutter], three line Autograph Note Signed "J.A. Sutter,"  dated Hock Farms, March 1 1862, note authorizes bearer "to receive my letters and newspapers from the Post and Express Offices," with bold signature, a later clip is glued below stating that the order was given to a William B. Latham, an unusual association piece with postal interest


#3058, [Gold Poke used from Murphys Cal], small hide pouch used as an envelope and used to a Jas. W. Taylor, at Yellow Spring, Ohio, Murphys Cal Jul 3 postmark on front and "90" at top right corner in manuscript, reverse was originally franked with an irregular block of nine 10c Green imperf adhesives that was pen canceled, block damaged with pieces missing, still remarkably well preserved and quite pliable, a most evocative piece from the gold mining era


California Illustrated Mining Covers

Ken Kutz included a census of these attractive covers in his 1987, self-published, book "Gold Fever." He recorded and illustrated 32 different designs existing in a total of only 132 examples.

#3001, [Letters from Home] design cover with JM Hutchings printer imprint at left, Downieville Cal Nov 10 postmark and "10" due rate handstamp, used to Illinois, ex Jessup, Pearce, Haas and Kutz, illustrated in Gold Fever

$2,500 (sold)

#3002, [Prospectors] design cover with JM Hutchings printer imprint at left, manuscript Forbestown Cal Feby 8 1855 postmark and "Paid 6" rate, used to Nox Corner, New York, ex Knapp and Jessup

$2,750 (sold)

#3006, [Rocking The Cradle] design cover with JM Hutchings printer imprint at left, blue "J. Doman Agt, Sac City" handstamp at bottom, Greenwood Cal Mar 3 postmark, "Paid" handstamp and manuscript "10" rate, used to Ohio, closed vertical tear at right

$2,000 (sold)

#3009, [Rocking The Cradle] variant design cover with JM Hutchings printer imprint at left inverted (reading top down), manuscript "Moons Ranch, Cal Feb 8, 1855 postmark and "Paid 6" rate, ex Knapp


#3016, [Mining Scene] design cover with JM Hutchings printer imprint at left, Trinity Cal postmark with manuscript "April 13 1857" date and "Paid 10" rate, used to Indiana, ex Hal Vincent

$1,750 (sold)

#3004, [Mining Scene] design cover with JM Hutchings printer imprint at left, Murphy's Cal Aug 28 postmark and oval "paid 6" rate handstamp, used to New York, edge faults


#3013, [Proceeds of the Day] design cover with Wide West Offices, San Francisco printer imprint at left, partially clear Yreka, Cal postmark and "10" rate handstamp, cover sealed vertical tear at left into design, three known to Kutz, ex Jessup, Haas, and illustrated in Gold Fever

$2,500 (sold)

#3011, [Writing Home] design cover with Wide West Offices, San Francisco printer imprint at left, pair 3c dull red (#11) tied by Sacramento City Cal postmark, used to Philadelphia, cover repaired edge faults

ex Kutz and illustrated in Gold Fever

$2,500 (sold)

#3012, [Traveling Miner] design cover with Wide West Offices, San Francisco printer imprint at left, Ophirville Cal crude postmark and "10" rate handstamp, manuscript "Oct 28" date, used to Ohio, cover scrapes affect design slightly, scarce design (only two reported by Kutz who did not record this example)

$1,750 (sold)

#3015, [Traveling Miner] design cover with Wide West Offices, San Francisco printer imprint at left, Crescent City Cal Apr 24 double circle postmark and manuscript "Paid 10" rate, cover repaired faults but scarce design (only two reported by Kutz who did not record this example)


#3010, [Miner's Coat of Arms] design cover with Barber & Baker, Sacramento publisher's imprint at left, manuscript Iowa City Cal Jany 15 postmark and "10" due arte, used to Michigan

$2,000 (sold)
#3003, [What Will You Take For A Share] design cover with Noisy Carrier's, San Francisco publisher's imprint below, manuscript Don Pedros Bar Cal Jan 11 postmark and "10" due rate, used to Ohio, cover faults, scarce design (only one reported by Kutz who did not record this example), ex Polland

$2,500 (sold)
#3056, [I Have Got Most Enough] design cover with Noisy Carrier's, San Francisco publisher's imprint below, boxed text inked through, used to Indiana with 10c rate prepaid with strip 3c dull red (#11) and single 1c blue (#9), manuscript Santa Clara Cal Oct 19 postmark and cancels, cover small edge tear at left and edge wear, ex Salzer


#3007, [Long Tom] design cover, no printer imprint, 3c dull red (#11) tied by San Francisco postmark, used to Nevada City, Cal, Kutz reported three examples, this one illustrated in Gold Fever, ex Knapp, Jessup, Haas, Kutz and Jarrett

#3005, [Prospecting Miners] blue cameo design on white, used from Downieville California, pair 3c dull red (#11) remained uncanceled until arrival in New York, blue ink "N.Y. Oct 11" postmark and matching ink "artistic" cancels, used to Ansonia, Conn. and forwarded with postmark and due "5" rate to Bridgeport


#3014, [Prospecting Miners] blue cameo design on amber cover, Sacramento City postmark and "10" due handstamp, cover wrinkles and repaired nick, ex Salzer

#3055, [Prospecting Miners] blue cameo design on white cover, manuscript Oregon House Jun 16 origin postmark, 10c rate paid with 1857 issue stamps (pair 1c blue, 5c red brown and 3c dull red) all with manuscript cancels, short paid double weight with "Due 10" struck in transit at San Francisco, stamps with trimmed perfs, cover aged, ex Wiltsee


#3008, [The Grizley] red cameo design cover used to Sacramento, 3c dull red with manuscript cancel, red "Goodyears Bar Cal" postmark, cover edge faults and reduced slightly, scarce design, illustrated in color in Letters of Gold

$1750 (sold)

Propaganda and Directive Covers

#3019, [Overland Via Los Angeles, The Star of the Union - California], four horse stage illustrated, blue on buff envelope with 10c green (#35) tied by San Francisco Cal May 5 1860 postmark, ex Jessup and Salzer


#3018, [Per Overland Mail Via Los Angeles], four horse stage illustrated cover with George H. Bell imprint, 10c green (#35, straight edge) tied by San Francisco Cal May 1860 postmark, ex Knapp and Walske


#3017, [Overland Mail, Via Los Angeles], (in hope of the) train illustrated cover used to Maine with  10c green (#35) tied by San Francisco Cal Oct 23 1859 postmark, restored edge faults at top, ex Dale - Lichtenstein and Walske


#3021, [By The Overland Mail Stage Via Los Angeles], Hurrah! But we must have the train, train illustrated cover used to Piedmont, Virginia with  10c green (#35) tied by blue Petaluma Cal Aug 11, ex Salzer

 $3,000 (Sold)

#3020, [Putts Overland Envelope], Stage illustrated comic envelope with song to The Pacific Railroad text on reverse, used to Brooklyn with 10c Green (#35, straight edge at left) tied by Sacramento City Feb 3 1860 postmark, address partially inked out, cover opened out for display




#3022, [Via Panama] Steamer illustrated envelope incorporating a directive, Published by Randal & Co, Marysville imprint, used to Almont, Michigan, Timbuctoo May 17 (1860) postmark and 10c green (#35) tied

#3057, [San Francisco News Letter], folded illustrated sheet used as a letter to New York, printed "P.M.S.S. Golden Age Jun 20" directive in box at left, 10c Green (#15) tied by San Francisco Jun 20" (1857) postmark, ex Beane and Walske


Patriotic Covers

#3024, Flag Patriotic, all  over design cover in colors, without imprint but likely printed in California, used to San Francisco with manuscript Jenny Lind Sep 27 postmark and matching "Paid 3" rate, a late stampless use well after stamps required

#3025, Sailor and Flag Patriotic design cover used to same addressee as previous to San Francisco with manuscript Ukiah Cal Oct 18 1861 postmark and matching "Paid 3" rate, a late stampless use well after stamps required

#3023, Canon and Flag Patriotic design envelope, probably a California design, prepared and franked with 10c green (#68, unused, repaired with patch added at foot) and red Robert Francis Express & News Agency Gibsonville handstamp, there is one California design patriotic cover that is similarly franked by Francis that was used


Building Illustrated Covers

#3026, Russ House, San Francisco magenta, building illustrated cover used to Ohio, endorsed "Via Panama" and with double circle San Francisco Cal Oct 1 1862 postmark, "10" due rate handstamp


Telegraph Covers

#3028, Alta Telegraph Company, San Francisco, Montgomery St office cover in magenta with Zeus illustration, a delivery envelope used to 16 Court Building, circa 1858

$425 (sold)
#3027, California State Telegraph Sacramento office cover, red on yellow, with Zeus illustration, a delivery envelope endorsed "Paid" and with original message ticker, dated May 30 (1861) requesting Sec of State to forward a commission to H (Henry) A. Cobb (became Brig. Genl. of Cal. state militia)


Via Panama - Contract Mail

#3041, [12c Bisect Accepted], 12c Black 1851 Issue bisect (#17a) prepaying 6˘ postage tied to 1853 folded letter to Boston by "San Francisco, Cal Aug 16" postmarks, by PMSS Winfield Scott to Panama, by USMSC Illinois from Aspinwall arriving New York on September 10 letter of T.R. & J.S. Bacon (with their firm's oval backstamp), mentions: We notice the arrival of the Clippers "Flying Cloud" & "Hornet" which vessels are said to have sailed together the "Flying Cloud" beating the "Hornet" only 1 hour in a passage of 105 days.

ex Jessup, Pearce and Walske
PF cert, Walske exhibit page here (top cover)


#3040, [12c Bisect Not Accepted], 12c Black 1851 Issue bisect (#17a) tied to 1853 cover to Hudson, NY by "San Francisco, Cal Sep 16" postmark, by PMSS John L. Stephens to Panama, by USMSC Illinois from Aspinwall arriving New York on October 10 where it was marked 10c postage due, ex Walske
PF cert

$3,000 (sold)

#3039, [Wreck of the PMSS Steamer Winfield Scott], red two line purser handstamp "Steamer Winfield Scott" on cover to Ellisburgh, New York, originated with "Mokelumne Hill Cal Nov 23 (1853)" postmark and red "Paid 6" rate handstamp, carried on last trip of the steamer that was lost in fog off Anacapa Island and wrecked on December 1, 1853, this cover recovered from the wreck of the steamer without the usual water soaking, the finest reported example, illustrated in Letters of Gold, page 95, ex Jarrett, Walske and Schaefer


#3037, Copley & Co's Miners' Express red ornamented oval handstamp on 10c Green Nesbitt entire used to Sempronius, New York, entered the mails with blue Marysville, California Feb 4 "Paid By Stamps" postmark and with matching grid cancel tying indicia, six recorded examples of this red handstamp, ex Dale - Lichtenstein, Schaefer (page image) and Walske



#3051,[Noisy Carriers, Letter Bag Operator], "By The Mail Steamer From Noisy Carrier's" fancy scroll handstamp on cover to Pennsylvania, 1c Blue (#9) tied with 3c Dull Red strip (#11) by San Francisco, Cal Dec 5 (1857) postmark, carried by the PMSS Golden Age to Panama, carried by USMSC Northern Light from Aspinwall to New York, PF cert

ex Knapp, Jessup, Haas, Grunin, Pearce Jarrett and Walske


#3053, [California Penny Post], 5c adhesive on cover (July 16, 1855) from San Francisco to Caroline Center, New York, carried on PMSS steamer J.L. Stephens departing the same day, carried from Aspinwall by USMSC steamer Empire City arriving August 11, 1855, PF cert, ex Walske

for an extensive treatment of this company, please see my discussion here



Via Tehuantepec - Contract Mail

The Louisiana Tehuantepec Company (LTC) obtained a twice-monthly mail contract between New Orleans and Acapulco via the Mexican isthmus between Minatitlan and Tehuantepec.  The first westbound steamer departed New Orleans on October 27, 1858 and the first eastbound trip departed San Francisco on November 5, 1858. The last eastbound trip arrived in New Orleans on October 10, 1859. 

Letters had to be inscribed “Via Tehuantepec” for carriage over this route. Surviving eastbound letters outnumber westbound letters by a ratio of three to one. There are fewer than thirty covers reported that were carried over this route.

#3035, Via Tehuantepec manuscript sender's directive on 10c Green Nesbitt entire to Mrs. Edwin Stanton at Washington, D.C., San Francisco Cal Dec 20 1858 origin postmark, PMSS steamer J.L. Stephens to Acapulco departed December 28, 1860, by LTC steamer Quaker City to New Orleans, addressed in the hand of Edwin Stanton, five reported 10c entires used eastbound on this route, ex Walske

$3,000 (sold)

#3030, Via Tehuantepec manuscript sender's directive on cover to Missouri with 10c Green (#32) tied by Sonora, Cal Jan 4 (1859) origin postmark, carried by PMSS steamer Golden Age to Acapulco Jan 5 and by LTC steamer Quaker City to New Orleans arriving Jan 22, 1859, illustrated in Letters of Gold

$2,500 (sold)

#3052, Westbound Via Tehuantepec manuscript sender's directive on scarce East to West use, quadruple rate folded cover addressed to San Francisco, pair and two singles 10c Green (#33, scissors separated) tied by New Orleans, Louisiana March 11 1859 postmarks, carried by LTC steamer Quaker City that departed March 12 and arrived March 15 in Minatitlan - overland to Tehuantepec and by PMSS steamer Oregon to Acapulco on March 21, by PMSS steamer Golden Age to San Francisco on March 29, the finest of only three westbound uses that were carried on the full route

ex Kramer and Walske


Via Nicaragua - Non Contract Mail

On July 14, 1851, the Vanderbilt Independent Line began a twice-monthly service between New York and San Francisco via the isthmus of Nicaragua. It had no mail contract, so letters carried by the line were posted in the arrival ports. The Walker military expedition to Nicaragua closed all traffic across the isthmus in March 1856, and ended this steamship route via Nicaragua.


#3036, Leland - Via Nicaragua Ahead of the Mails, greenish boxed handstamp on cover to Clinton, New York, pair 3c dull red (#11) tied by New York Ship Oct 10" postmark, cover carried outside the mails from San Francisco by Vanderbilt steamer Brother Jonathan that departed September 1, 1853, arrived San Juan del Sur on September 15 and after carriage across Nicaragua to San Juan del Norte, departed on Vanderbilt steamer Star of the West on October 1 and arrived in New York on October 9, 1853, fewer than five of the Leland markings are reported, ex Grunin and Walske


Express Uses

#3038, Hunter & Co's Express, horseman illustrated double oval handstamp on cover inbound to the mines, manuscript Spencersburg, Missouri Nov 25 (1851) postmark and "10" due, carried by Hunter's from the Sacramento City post office to the addressee in Spanish B(ar) Mill with manuscript express notation of location and "$1.35" express rate due, original letter, one of the finest examples, PF cert


#3054, Langton's Pioneer Express Downieville, large circular handstamp, "Apr 25" datestamp and double oval "Paid" handstamp on green "Long Tom" illustrated cameo cover used to San Francisco, conjunctive use with green "Pacific Express Marysville" large double oval for onward carriage to San Francisco, the cameo design with "Published By The Downieville Book Store" text is signed "W. Eaves" at left, an iconic California Express cover, ex Dale - Lichtenstein and Walske

$32,500 (sold)

#3050, Peterson's Lower California Express From San Lucas, black on white label with pencil "San Francisco" origin town on cover to La Paz, Lower California, orange "Estafeta De Baja California" oval cancel tying the label, large part strike Wells Fargo San Francisco double circle datestamp of Apr 25, their blue "Paid" in oval under the label, two reported examples of this label, this one used from San Francisco to Baja California and a second used in opposite direction, ex Knapp, Grant, Hass and Forster

$32,500 (sold)

#3034, Wells Fargo Express, franked 3c pink entire with their blue San Jose Oct 3 (1869) datestamp and was carried by them to the western terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad where it entered the US mails to Philadelphia with Union Pacific RR Nov 1 postmark, cover endorsed "Overland" by sender, docketed as containing a receipt from the Supt. of the Passyunk Mining Company, ex Schaefer


#3045, Whiting & Co Feather River Express, franked 3c pink entire used to San Francisco, conjunctive use with Wells Fargo Oroville Dec 24 datestamp, clipped dateline of letter from Illinois Ranch Dec 21, 1866, accompanied by an illustration from Hutching's magazine of an expressman on a dog sled, cover reduced at right

Fenton Whiting operated a dog-sled express in the winter months



#3033, [Central Overland Route], 10c green entire  used to New York endorsed "By Salt lake" at left, Placerville Cal Dec 11 (1858) origin postmark and docketed by recipient as received Feb 1859, with original miner's letter from George Greene, uses by central overland route at this date are scarce


Canada Related Routes

Additional Canada and Provinces related covers may be found in stock here.

#3059, [Canada 1852 Issue 9d rate to California] three singles Canada 1852 issue 3d red on thin wove paper (SG #6) used on mourning cover to Texas Hill, California, Toronto Feb 5 1856 postmark, Montreal transit backstamp, manuscript "15" cents exchange, the only reported example of this use, BPS and Vincent Green certs, a world class rarity

ex Wilkinson, Kramer, Walske and California

$75,000 (sold)

#3032, [New Brunswick to California], 6d green and 3d red used on 1856 cover to Ophir, California and forwarded, light Shediac origin postmark and St John transit backstamp, three reported examples of this rate, ex Argenti, Koh and Robertson

$4,000 (sold)

#3042, British Columbia & Victoria Island, Westminster, B.C. double circle "General Post Office Mar 4" origin backstamp and black barred numeral "1" cancel on 2 1/2d rose (#2, faults) used on cover to Bowmansville, Canada, matching "Paid" at lower left and red crayon "15" rate, strip of five 3c rose (#65, left stamp faulty) tied by cog cancels, San Francisco Cal MAR 10 1863 transit, Bowmanville, Canada AP 6 arrival backstamp, ex Wellburn, Mitchell and Wilkinson


#3043, British Columbia & Victoria Island, Westminster, B.C. General Post Office 20-Jan-64 origin backstamp on cover to Virden, Illinois, 2 1/2d rose (#2) tied by oval "Paid" handstamp, red crayon "10" rate, U.S. 3c rose (#65) at left with cog cancel, matching San Francisco JAN 28 1864 postmark, docket as originating on December 6, 1863, ex Wilkinson, PF cert


    Frajola February 2015