It was originally on July 1, 1845, that rates of postage were established in the United States following an Act of Congress on March 3 of that year.
The basic rate was 5 cents for a single letter under 300 miles (an ounce), which was doubled for distances over 300 miles. The rate was also doubled, trebled, quadrupled and so on in accordance with the number of letters posted.
Although stamps would soon be issued independently by a number of states - following the example of the New York City Dispatch's first-ever US postage stamp of 1842 - its wasn't until March 3, 1847, that another Act of Congress allowed the US Postmaster-General to issue stamps.
It was one of the finest examples of the 1847 5 cents Orange Brown stamp which starred in auction house David Feldman's New York sale of Worldwide & United States Stamps and Covers, last week (July 20).
Boasting full to large margins all around, with traces of the frameline of an adjoining stamp along the top, the historic stamp is affixed to a folded letter datelined Wallington, Connecticut, September 11, 1851, to Columbus Ohio.
The three-year old stamp would have been superseded by other currency by this point, as evidenced by the "5" rate added next to the stamp. According to the condition report, the stamp itself boasts fresh colour on deeply blued paper, and was cancelled with a black grid handstamp.
Billed by David Feldman as "one of the finest known examples," the cover also has provenance to match its history having been formerly part of Ryohei Ishikawa's award winning philatelic collection of foreign mail, from which it was purchased by the renowned collector Joseph Hackmey.
For now, this singular and historic philatelic artefact's story continues in the hand of another collector, who acquired the cover for a final price of $12,000.
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