Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries' sale of the Louis Grunin Collection of Illustrated Covers concluded on Tuesday (April 27). The 263 lot sale had a clear - and surprising - top lot: a Barnabas Bates illustrated 'Cheap Inland and Ocean Postage' propaganda cover.
Barnabas Bates (1785-1853) was born in England and came to the United States as a child. He became a Baptist preacher in Rhode Island, where he was also for some time collector of the port of Bristol under President Adams.
Bates became a Unitarian and established in New York in 1825 a weekly paper called the Christian Inquirer.
During the administration of Andrew Jackson he received an appointment in the New York post office and was for some time acting postmaster. He became an advocate for cheap land and ocean postage and lived to see the 3c domestic rate introduced in 1851.
The cover offered showed a beautiful steamship and railroad train, whilst the dull red 3c stamp (Type II) was cancelled with a well-struck Troy NY Jun 27 circular.
The exceptionally fine and rare piece was estimated at $2,000-3,000, but the bidding audience ignored this completely and drove the attractive cover up to a final price of $13,500 - a strong investment for the previous owner.