Frajola World Covers

Steve Whitington Collection of Western Express Covers

Offered by Richard Frajola (Table of Contents and Ordering Instructions)

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 San Francisco, red oval "Adams & Co. Placerville Dec 4" (1854) datestamp, fewer than five examples recorded, ex Dale - Lichtenstein

(stock #102, $6,000)

Adams & Co's Express Vallejo red lined double oval handstamp and matching boxed "Paid" handstamp on 3c red Nesbitt entire to San Francisco, with Nesbitt seal on flap, very fine, ex Bartels and Dale - Lichtenstein

(stock #101, $1,500)


Alta Express Co. (Jul 1857 - Nov 1858)

Alta Express Company was formed after the failure of Pacific Express in Apr 1857 by Alex Badlam, Jr., C. L. Farrington, and James A. Frost. The express operated throughout the northern and central part of the state of California and into Nevada. Alta Express Company connected with Freeman Express for British Columbia and with Berford & Co. for the Atlantic States.

Alta Express Co. Paid first type printed frank with mountains in background behind bridge on 3c red Nesbitt entire to San Francisco, red "Alta Express Company Oroville" handstamp, minor edge discoloration at top left, ex Parker and Haas

(stock #103, $500)

Alta Express Co. Paid first type printed frank with mountains in background behind bridge, in blue, on 3c red Nesbitt entire to Georgetown, California, one recorded example of used frank in blue ex Dale - Lichtenstein

(stock #104, $1,250)


Alta Express Co. Paid second type printed frank with only the bridge in background on 3c red Nesbitt entire to Downieville, red "Alta Express Sacramento Sep 6" blue ornamented double oval datestamp, partial flap, illustrated in Letters of Gold, page 173, ex Haas

(stock #105, $350)

Alta Express Co. Paid second type printed frank with only the bridge in background on 3c red Nesbitt entire to Tuttletown, docketed vertically as being opened Nov 19, 1858, cover somewhat aged

(stock #106, $100)

American Express Co. (Jan 1857 - Mar 1857)

The American Express Company in California was not related to he Eastern express company of the same name. Their first ad appears in the January 19, 1857 San Francisco Bulletin with "McCombe & Co., 124 Montgomery St" listed as proprietors. Daily expresses were advertised from San Francisco by steam and stage to San Jose, Santa Clara, Alveso, Redwood City, Woodside, San Mateo, Mountain View, and San Quentin.  The text of the ad is identical to one that appeared January 16, 1857 under heading of "M'Combe's Express" - the predecessor firm. The last ad for American Express appeared on March 17, 1857 and the following issue included news of a lawsuit filed by an employee alleging non payment of salary.

American Express Paid printed frank with illustration including steamboat, safe, dog and train crossing bridge on 3c red Nesbitt entire addressed to San Francisco, vertical file fold through indicia, four reported used examples of this frank, ex Jessup and Pearce

(stock #107, $850)

(Eastern) American Express Co. (Mar 1850 - present)

The now famous American Express was formed in Albany, New York, in March 1850. It was a joint stock corporation formed by the merger of the express companies owned by Henry Wells (Wells & Company), William Fargo (Livingston, Fargo & Company), and John Warren Butterfield (Wells, Butterfield & Company). The same founders also started Wells Fargo & Co. in 1852 when Butterfield and other directors objected to the proposal that American Express extend its operations to California.

Livingston Fargo & Co by the American Express, Paid, blue company frank on 3c red Nesbitt entire to Logansport, Indiana, manuscript "Camb City/Mch 3rd" (Cambridge City, Indiana) agent endorsement on frank and "G. & C" handstamp, docketed at left received  March 10, 1857, cover aged at right, fewer than five reported examples of this eastern frank

(stock #208)

American Express Com'y Paid (to and from their offices in the states of ....) red printed frank on 3c pink 1861 issue entire, printed terms on flap, used to Winona (Minnesota), origin line at bottom left endorsed from "Rochester (Minnesota) 1864" and docket on reverse dated April 19, 1864, minor stain and minor edge tears, ex Barkhausen, Jessup and Pearce

(stock #108, $250)

Angiers' North San Juan and Humbug Express (ca 1864)

Little information is known about this company but the few known examples were all transferred to Wells Fargo at North San Juan or entered the post office there for onward transmission.

Angiers' North San Juan and Humbug Express, Connecting with Wells, Fargo & Co., Paid, printed frank on 3c pink 1864 issue entire to Sacramento, conjunctive use with blue "Wells Fargo & Co North San Juan Jul 3" datestamp, the finest of the four reported examples, ex Dale- Lichtenstein

(stock #109, $3500)

Arizona & New Mexico Express Co. (1874 - 1876)

This express was founded by Henry Wells in 1874 and provided stagecoach service between points in Arizona and the eastern terminus of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The express failed in 1876.

Arizona & New Mexico Express Co, Paid frank which has been crossed out with light pen strokes on 3c green entire to San Francisco, entered the mails with "Prescott, Ariz." postmark, a convenience use of the envelope, fewer than ten examples reported

(stock #110, $400)

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Richard Frajola (July 2012)