An Alaska postcard bearing a Kicking Mule fancy cancel has seen the highest bids in Daniel F Kelleher Auctions' September 11 sale of the Constellation Collection of US Postal Card Fancy Cancels & Usages.
The Connecticut auction house offered the complete collection, which also incorporates advertising postal cards.
The 1880 postcard, sent from Port Townshend, Washington to Portland, Oregon, sold for $5,015 - a 401.4% increase on its $1,000 high estimate. Bearing manuscript docketing on the reverse, it is believed to be a unique example.
US postal clerks were required to cancel stamps by defacing them, though how this was to be done was the decision of those in charge, and led to a flourishing of creativity that produced some elaborate designs.
The most famous and accomplished post office at producing fancy cancels was Waterbury, Connecticut, whose designs are some of the most coveted among collectors today.
The second highest bids of the sale were seen by foreign mail covers bearing unusual usages, such as the 1873 postcard sent from Brooklyn, New York to Berlin, Germany, which made $3,304.
The postcard was up-rated with a 6c red to make the 7c North German Closed Mail rate, and sports a fine Brooklyn, NY circular date stamp with blue crayon marking for forwarding.
The $3,304 final price was matched by an 1874 postcard sent from Toledo, Ohio to Switzerland, bearing an OH circular date stamp and killed, with a red "New York" Foreign Exchange office transit showing that it went via England and Ostend in Belgium.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has an exceptional selection of stamps from Great Britain and the Commonwealth for sale, including unique philatelic gems.