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U. S. Possessions (#1)

Item # Description Price Picture
7971 Post Office Department, New York, intact penalty cover, mailed from Havana, Cuba to Germany. Not having separate penalty envelopes for the U.S. Cuban postal administration, the cover had its "New York" address scratched out and "Havana - Cuba Register" penned in its place. The cover bears a purple 3-line "HAVANA, CUBA / APR 2 1899 / REGISTERED No. ___ [187]" hand stamp, and two strikes of 2-line "CHAS. F. W. NEELY / Chief, Bureau of Finance" identifying the sender. The cover bears 22 centavo postage composed of four different U.S. provisional surcharged stamps (Scott Cuba: #221, #223Ax2, #224x2, #225x2, all with faults) canceled by four strikes of purple "HAVANA, CUBA" in oval postmarks. (As of the date of mailing, assuming a matching of U.S. 5¢ per ounce UPU rate and 8¢ registry rate for postage to Germany with the 22 c. Cuban postage on this cover, the postage either represents a double weight cover overpaid by 4 c. or a triple rate cover underpaid by 1 c.) The cover is addressed to Mr. M. O. Borrmann, P.O, Aue, Saxony, Germany (23 4 99 AUE back stamp). I note by examination under bright light that the address under the label and the address on the label are, unexplainedly, the same. I suspect that the addressee was a stamp dealer and that this cover contained samples of the U.S. surcharged postage stamps. I base this solely upon a single 1912 German registered cover bearing the addressee's corner name and address that I located on eBay.  If the above was all there was to this item, it would by itself be an exceptional penalty usage. But the story behind Charles F. W. Neely and his Cuban postal administration cohorts makes it much more interesting. The department of post of Cuba was reorganized under the authority of Estes G. Rathbone, appointed director of posts on December 21, 1898, by the Postmaster-General of the U.S. On January 7, 1899, Rathbone created the bureau of finance. Charles F. W. Neely was appointed as bureau chief. He was charged with the custody of the stamps, stamped paper, stamped envelopes, postal cards, and newspaper wrappers, and also issuing the same to postmasters. These responsibilities additionally would have included servicing requests from stamp collectors and dealers, both domestic and foreign. In late August or early September 1899, the surcharged U.S. stamps were replaced by newly designed Cuban stamps. On September 11, 1899, the remainder of the surcharged stamps (net of a sufficient number to satisfy requests from stamp collectors) were ordered destroyed. The burning of original sealed packages of these stamps was reported executed on September 13. The amount of postage destroyed was fraudulently misreported allowing the involved parties to embezzle post office funds through the sale of the retained portion of the the reportedly destroyed stamps. The embezzlement was subsequently discovered by audit. See a highly readable recent journalistic account of these events. See also a Congressional document detailing events. $300

7899 #210 pair, #206 SE, fine copies, paying the UPU rate to Honolulu, Hawaii, WEST LEBANON, N.H., MAY 25 postmark and cork killers on VF cover, Tilden Ladies' Seminary 1885 dated purple hand stamp corner.  The cover is addressed to Miss M. Ella Spooner.  Miss Spooner was a missionary teacher at Oahu College in Latin and English literature.  Opening at right just affects the upper perfs of the rightmost stamp. $75
7875 #148, VF, minor faults, on #U85 6¢ dark red Reay entire, paying a double 6¢ treaty rate to Hawaii.  Two strikes (one light) of a double circle BANGOR, ME, JUN 13 (1872) postmark plus a small cork grid tie the stamp and Lincoln indicia.  The cover is addressed to Hon. Elisha H. [Hunt] Allen "for Mrs. Allen", his wife. Allen was a U.S. politician and citizen of the Kingdom of Hawaii who, at the time of mailing, served as Chief Justice Hawaii Supreme Court.  Mrs. Allen (Mary Ellen, née Hobbs) was the daughter of Frederick Hobbs of Bangor, Maine.  A scarce use of the entire to Hawaii. $75
7880 #264, VF, #271 vertical pair, fine, all sound, on cover to Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii, paying the UPU 5¢ plus 8¢ registry on registered cover bearing scarce San Francisco registry exchange label FX-SF1a tied by Honolulu OCT 9, 1897.  Cover mailed to a member of the well known Blackstad family.  Cover bears a 3-line purple San Francisco, Cal., Oct 2 1897, Registry Div. hand stamp and is reduced 7mm at left. $100
7741 Cuba #E1, fine, U.S. special delivery stamp #E5 overprinted in red CUBA 10 c. de PESO, used, small corner crease at upper left, canceled by HAVANA, CUBA postmark and ellipse killer.  Scott catalog, $100. $40
7400 Philippines #218, 15¢ olive overprint, F-VF+, sound, lightly disturbed o.g. $20
7401 Hawaii #61, VF and sound 10¢ black with red Provisional Govt. 1893 overprint, o.g. NH. Pretty stamp. $30
6856 Hawaii #76, F-VF, tied by Honolulu, FEB 8, 1895 postmark and ellipse killer on VF intact cover, fancy entwined initials on flap, to San Francisco, back stamped San Francisco BOX 3 and FEB 15 machine postmark receiver.  Diagonal cover bend. SOLD
6973 Hawaii #75, F-VF, canceled by a VF-XF strike of KEALIA, KAUAI, AUG 17, 1895 purple double ring postmark (Meyer and Harris 282.011). Stamp with 4mm tear at UR. $10
6484 Canal Zone #52, fine, just tied by light partial postmark on VF souvenir folder with hanging string and 8 double-sided colorize photos of the territory, mailed to Indiana. Interesting and unusual. SOLD


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