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    San Francisco to Canton, China

    1852, May 16, San Francisco to Canton, China. Folded Prices Current published by forwarding agent George N. Shaw & Co., postmarked San Francisco c.d.s., "PAID" and "5", all in red, light strike red Geo. N. Shaw forwarding oval at upper left, fresh and Very Fine.

    Estimate $5,000-$7,500

    It appears that Shaw's representative took the circular to the post office and paid the private ship rate of 5¢, which was also the inland rate for a circular over 3500 miles. The post office was obligated to send the circular by the quickest means available - in this case, apparently, a private ship, which is confirmed by the absence of any other postal markings. Had the circular gone through British or French mails, there would be at least one transit mark and likely a receiving mark somewhere on it, which there is not.

    One of the most obscure and least understood of any of the overseas rates from the U.S. is that by private ship from San Francisco. It is important to understand certain regulations and rates that were in effect at the time this circular was mailed.

    First, the
    1843 Postal Laws & Regulations states, in Chapter 25, Paid Letters, Newspapers, and Pamphlets, Section 179, "If the writer of a paid letter (sic, newspapers and pamphlets) wishes the deputy postmaster at the nearest office to forward the letter by a private opportunity, to a place where there is no post office, it is to be duly forwarded in that manner, when a proper opportunity occurs." The publisher of this Prices Current being involved in trade with China, knew he would benefit from a quicker delivery by private ship than through the "normal" route through England or France.

    Second, the
    1852 Regulations for the Government of the Post Office Department, in Chapter 18, Section 151, "Ship Letters...sent from the United States to foreign countries by private vessels, are chargeable with inland postage, which must be prepaid from the mailing office to the port of sailing. The Postmaster of San Francisco is specifically instructed to make up and despatch such mails to the Sandwich Islands, China and New South Wales."

    United States Letter Rates to Foreign Destinations 1847 to GPU - UPU (Starnes, 1982), page 12, Table of Rates, China, All Destinations: "Priv. ship v. SF" is charged the inland postage.

    From the Ron Cipolla Collection

    View all of [The Ron Cipolla Collection of Printed Matter ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2009
    11th-14th Friday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 735

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