Frajola World Covers


Walske Pioneer California

Offered by Richard Frajola

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Oct 1, 2013 update: the few remaining unsold lots have been moved to regular inventory - here. Thank you.

Ordering Information - Items that have grayed-out stock numbers and prices have been sold but prices will remain online as a value guide and reference. Please email me to confirm availability and order by stock number.

If you have fine Western Express material you wish to sell, please contact me.

Post Office Mail


Sacramento Cal Feb 28 (1850) oval datestamp and bold "12 1/2" internal California rate handstamp on folded cover to San Francisco, cover has been cleaned, ex Walske


(stock #9217, $300, sold)

San Francisco Cal Apr 19 red postmark, "Paid" handstamp and "25" double California rate on 1850 folded cover addressed to Governor Bennett at San Jose, ex Walske


(stock #9218, $350)

Sacramento City Cal Sep 30 (1851) red postmark used only in 1851 ties pair 3c Orange Brown (#10, pos 79-80 L5E, full margins including sheet margin at right) to cover to Connecticut, additional manuscript cancels, the earliest reported use of 3c 1851 issue adhesives from California, ex Pearce and Walske


(stock #9219, $1,500)

San Francisco Cal Oct 1 orange red postmark on 1851 folded letter to Baltimore, pair 3c Orange Brown (#10) tied by black grid cancels, filing crease away from stamps, an early use from California carried on same trip East as previous, ex Walske


(stock #9220, $1,250)

Alvarado Cal Mar double circle forwarding postmark, and manuscript "Ford 3 cts" on cover that originated with 10c green (#35) tied by Grass Lake, Michigan postmark, addressed first to Centerville, Alameda County, then to Dutch Flat with their postmark, 3c dull red (#26) with manuscript cancel for forwarding postage, final address to Forest Hill, California, cover reduced at left, ex Pearce and Walske

(stock #9221, $800, sold)

Adams & Co's Express (Nov 1849 - Feb 1855)

D.W. Haskell was sent by Adams & Co's Express to organize a California operation for banking and the safe transmission of gold between California and New York. He arrived in San Francisco on October 31, 1849. The new branch of the nationwide Adams Express company quickly became the leading express throughout California by expanding routes and purchasing smaller express companies. On February 23, 1855 Adams & Co's Express closed their California operations as a result of a financial and banking crisis.

Adams & Co. Paid "over our California and Coast Routes" first type printed frank, horizontally, on non government entire to Union Town, Alabama, pair 3c dull red (#11A) tied by Jul 16 (1854) postmark, PF cert, ex Dale - Lichtenstein and Walske


(stock #9201, $8,000, sold)

Adams & Co San - Francisco blue double circle Oct 28 (1854) datestamp on cover to Manuel Castro care of Ant. M. Pico at "Pueblo de San Jose," apparently held for U.S. postage as another datestamp of the following day ties a 3c dull red (#11) to left, ex Walske


(stock #9202, $1,500, sold)


Berford  & Co's Express (1849 - Feb 1855)

Berford & Co's Letter & Package Express was founded by Richard G. Berford in the fall of 1849 after his arrival in San Francisco on May 8. The express operated between coasts and advertised agents on all Pacific and Atlantic steamers. A December 1849 advertisement listed offices in San Francisco, Sacramento City (T. J. Bayless), San Jose (Plitt), and Stockton. In December 1850 they began advertising as the only express operating to San Jose. The last California advertisement for his ocean to ocean service appeared on February 26, 1855.


Berford & Co's Californian Express orange red oval "Paid" handstamp on folded cover from New York to San Francisco, their "Office" label at left with "3 Broad St, Cor Wall St" line crossed through, docket as having originated on June 4, 1852, two reported examples of this label (both with same correction, the other torn in half), ex Walske


(stock #9203, $6,000) (sold)

Berford & Co's Californian Express dark greenish black oval on November 2, 1853 folded letter from San Jose to San Francisco, endorsed "Please Deliver" at top, "Berford & Co's Express San Francisco Cal" blue double oval arrival handstamp at right and "Collect" handstamp, the finest of three reported examples of the large oval used in San Jose, ex Dale - Lichtenstein and Walske


(stock #9204, $5,000, sold)

(California) Penny Post Company (Jun 1855 - May 1856)

The California Penny Post was established by Henry L. Goodwin in San Francisco on June 25, 1855. The latest advertisement found appeared in the October 4, 1855 issue of Prices Current & Shipping List although the firm continued to operate. Exceptionally, this company operated only as a letter express and did not carry express matter. They provided city delivery via their local post. Goodwin ran afoul of the San Francisco postmaster as he usually used government mails for carriage between cities. The latest newspaper notice found, not related to lawsuits, appeared in the May 26, 1856 Sacramento Daily Union thanking the Penny Post for delivery of San Francisco news.

To The Post Office Care of the Penny Post Co. Paid 2, black frank (#34LU1) on white envelope used to Marysville, bold "Detained for Postage" handstamp on reverse and 'San Francisco 3 Paid Aug 30" postmark, 3c dull red (#11) tied by "San Francisco Aug 30" postmark and their "Paid" handstamp, 1855 filing notation docket, the finest of four reported examples of this denomination which prepaid service to the post office only, ex Walske


(stock #9214, $10,000)(sold)

To The Penny Post Co., Penny Postage Paid 7, black frank (#34LU11) on 3c red Nesbitt entire used to San Francisco, entered the mails with Mokelumne Hill, California Nov 12 postmark, ex Walske


(stock #9213, $2,000)(sold)

California Penny Postage Paid 7, ornate boxed frank (#34LU14) on buff cover with imprinted address to the Agent of the Penny-Post Company and printed address of recipient Collins, instructional imprint to left, advertising handstamp of Collins, General Merchandise, Stockton on reverse, 3c dull red (#11) tied by "Stockton Feb 27" postmark, the finer of two reported example of this style imprinted address, Piller, Kuphal and Walske


(stock #9215, $9,500)(sold)

To The Penny Post Co., Penny Postage Paid 5, black frank (#34LU9 variety, unlisted with 3c adhesive) on buff envelope to San Francisco, prepaid penny post delivery, 3c dull red (#11, left margin copy) tied at right by Stockton, California Apr 19 postmark, signed "J. N. Luff, 9/11/06," ex Worthington, Caspary and Walske


(stock #9216, $7,500)(sold)

Copley's & Co's Miners' Express (1855 - 1856)

This express operated from Marysville to the Gibsonville Ridge and the Feather River mines. It operated in 1855 and 1856.

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 and Walske


(stock #9205, $7,000, sold)

Crawford's Middle Fork Express

Crawford's Middle Fork Express operated briefly in the fall of 1855 serving the mines along the Middle Fork of the American River from their headquarters at Greenwood. They connected at Greenwood with Wells Fargo.

Crawford's Middle Fork Express Paid, ornate printed frank on 3c red Nesbitt entire used to San Francisco, red "Crawford's Middle Fork Express Oct 9" (1855) oval company datestamp, conjunctive use with Wells Fargo Express Greenwood handstamp at right, three reported examples, ex Dale - Lichtenstein and Walske


(stock #9207, $12,000) (sold)

Ford & Co's Express (Aug 1850 - Sep 1851)

Little is known about Ford & Co's Express and no advertisements have been found. The few known covers are addressed to, or from, Sacramento and Mormon Gulch and date between August 1850 and September 1851. It has been suggested that the express operated between Sacramento City and Greenwood.

Ford & Cos Express, ornate handstamp in green on inbound cover to Mormon Island, manuscript "150 pp" at top right, red "New York Jul 17" (1850) origin postmark with internal "40 cts" and attached "paid" below, endorsed per steamer 'Georgia July 13" at lower left, ex Dale - Lichtenstein and Walske


(stock #9222, $15,000) (sold)

Grammer & Co's Express Express (1849 - 1851)

Joseph Grammer, a recent arrival from Pike County, Illinois, formed his small express in late 1849 to operate from a base in Sacramento City to and from the nearby mining areas along the American River and camps as far east as Georgetown. His name appears in delinquent Sacramento City tax lists published in early 1852 and is presumed to have stopped operating, or sold out.


Forwarded By Grammer & Cos Express, black oval handstamp and manuscript "Paid 40" on May 14, 1850 folded letetr dated "California Mountains" to Rushville, New York, entered the mails with orange red "San Francisco July 1 40" postmark with internal rate, also with their "Paid" handstamp and "40" rate handstamp, PF cert, ex Vogel and Walske


(stock #9223, $7,500) (sold)

Gray's California Express (1850 - before May 1851)

Grays Express operated between Sacramento City and San Francisco. Uses are reported from 1851 and 1852. Their offices were vacated before May 1, 1852.


Gray's Cal. Express, shield handstamp clearly struck on inbound cover, manuscript "1.10" express rate, cover originated with red Oswego New York postmark, "Paid" handstamp and manuscript "40" rate, an 1850 use, cover minor discoloration spots and wrinkles, fine strike, four reported examples, ex Walske


(stock #9208, $4,000)

Jones Express (Dec 1851 - Jan 1853)

J. W. Jones operated his express primarily to the mining camps on the "North Fork of the Feather River, via Marysville, Wyandotte, and Bidwell's Bar, connecting at Sacramento with Adams & Co.'s Express. He later took in as a partner an individual by the name of A. B. Haskin, running for a brief period of time as "Jones & Haskin's Weekly Express." His last ad appeared in January 1851.


Forwarded By Jones & Co Express, blue roped oval handstamp on inbound cover to Sacramento, express endorsement to Spanish River with "$150" rate, original 1852 letter, entered mails with red "Farmington, Iowa July 26 origin postmark and manuscript "10" rate, ex Dale - Lichtenstein and Walske


(stock #9200, $6,000) (sold)


Langton's Pioneer Express (1855 - 1865)

Samuel W. Langton and N. W. Williams formed Langton's Pioneer Express in March 1855 following the collapse of Adams Express in February. Langton had already been in the express business on his own or with partners since 1850. When started his extensive routes from the mining areas included steamboat service from Marysville and Sacramento to San Francisco. He began connecting with Wells, Fargo at Marysville in 1857 and quit the steamboat route. In early 1865, after the death of Sam Langton in 1864, the firm was sold to Lamping & Co's Express.


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


(stock #9206, $20,000) (sold)

Peterson's Lower California Express (Spring 1861 - Summer 1863)

Operated between San Francisco, San Diego and Baja California by steamer.


Peterson's Lower California Express From San Lucas, black on white label with manuscript origin town on cover to San Francsico, orange "Estafeta De Baja California" oval cancel, manuscript "Capo St Lucas Apl 11, 1863" docket at left, two reported examples of this label, one used from San Francisco to Baja California and this example used in opposite direction, ex Dale - Lichtenstein and Walske


(stock #9209, $30,000) (sold)

Todd & Bryan's Express (1850 - Jul 1850)

Alexander Todd was one of the first express men in California. After being on his own in 1849 he took Benjamin L. Bryan as a partner in 1850. In July 1850 Bryan left and E. W. Colt joined as a partner under the Todd & Co's Express name. They operated between San Francisco and Stockton mines until Todd joined with Reynolds to form Reynolds, Todd & Co's Express in October 1851.

Todd & Bryans Express shield handstamp with manuscript "2" in center on inbound January 31, 1850 folded letter from East Thomaston, Maine to San Francisco, black origin postmark and manuscript "40" rate, fewer than five reported examples, ex Vogel and Walske


(stock #9210, $4,500)



Wells, Fargo & Co.  (Jul 1852 - Apr 1895)

The famous bank and nationwide express was formed by Henry Wells and William Fargo on March 18, 1852 when other directors of American Express did not wish to open offices in California. Agents of the new firm arrived in California in July 1852 and after a long series of acquisitions, including Gregory's Express, Todd's Express, and Hunter's Express, they had 24 branch offices in operation by January 1855. With the collapse of Adams & Company in February 1855, and after surviving the financial panic of that year, Wells Fargo emerged as the dominant banking force and leader in the express business. The abandoned their domestic letter carrying activities as announced in April 20, 1895 newspaper article here.

Wells, Fargo & Cos Paid, printed frank on 3c red Nesbitt entire used from San Francisco to San Jose, Wells Fargo Express S. Frco Mar 26 double circle datestamp, additional postage required and 3c dull red (#11) tied at left with their blue "Collect" handstamp, ex Walske


(stock #9211, $1,000)


G. H. Wines & Co's Express  (1855 - 1857)

G. H. Wines express was founded in 1855 by G.H. Wines. They provided service from San Francisco to Sacramento where they connected with Rhodes & Whitney's Express to serve the mines. In addition to service to mining areas, the company developed a transatlantic service. They were the primary transport for Walker's filibuster troops to Nicaragua and evidently hoped to gain had Walker been successful in his take-over attempt. They were out of business by mid 1857.

Wines & Co's Express, straight line handstamp on folded cover from Nicaragua to San Francisco, black "Republica De Nicaragua Admon De Correos De Granada" double oval postal handstamp before being turned over to Wines for carriage to San Francisco, addressed to Christian Russ to the care of his brother, A family member accompanied Walker Expedition and this likely originated with him, ex Walske


(stock #9212, $6,000, sold)

Richard Frajola (May 2013)