||(Salt Lake City, U.T.) - California and Salt Lake Mail Line $1 18__ Rust UNL Nyholm 147. Remainder. PCGS Very Fine 25 Apparent. The California and Salt Lake Mail Line notes are justifiably among the most beautiful Western Obsoletes. Their background certainly reflects the lore of the Old West and the romanticism of that bygone era. These notes are interesting as they tie numismatics and postal history together. The custom vignette at the center appears on no other note series and apparently was commissioned. The obligation indicates the notes were payable "On Demand" like a banknote from the period. The Federal government awarded a mail contract to George Chorpenning (the "Ch" is pronounced as a hard "K") and his partner Absalom Woodward in April 1851 to transport the mail between Salt Lake City and Sacramento, California. The 1851 contract date is interesting since most numismatic references cite 1858 as the beginning of the arrangement. However, on October 30, 1950, the Post Office Department responded to Eric P. Newman on his inquiry about Chorpenning and gave him the proper date. The entire round trip took sixteen days and the cost of each letter was 10 cents. Earlier efforts to establish this mail link were hampered by attacks from Native Americans and bandits, and the accompanying dangers and losses. Mr. Chorpenning considered himself an able mail contractor, and rather than sit in an office constantly, he went on a number of trips. He was known to don snowshoes and join his men and their mules clambering up mountain passes in the winter. Any unfortunate events or mail losses were of course blamed on Chorpenning by his enemies in Washington, led by the Postmaster General (who likely did not wear snowshoes or climb mountains). Chorpenning had a long running dispute (at least one citation in the Congressional Record was known to Eric), to recover damages from the Federal government for losses, a struggle that was not resolved until 1870, when Congress finally rejected his efforts to collect $500,000 as compensation. Of course, ten years before, in 1860, the major mail contracts had been awarded to Central Overland, California and Pikes Peak Express Co. including Majors, Waddell & Co. (commonly referred to as the "Pony Express"). The notes are known as remainders and in issued form, the latter being the rarer. The style of the note's design with the stagecoach vignette is dynamic, and the two-color effect very striking. The note is printed on banknote bond paper, similar to that used by Eastern lithographers, with the size and style of the Obsolete banknotes circulating in the 1850s; without an imprint. The printing is all blue ink with a red protector ONE across the bottom center. The common central vignette design for the series has a stagecoach at the top center; seen in the right background are some Indians in a formation, but the stage is guarded by armed men on horseback. In the lower left corner is a mother holding an infant and at the lower right, an Indian hunter with a rifle on his shoulder. The intricate nature of the lithography, color and protector all seem to point to the note being printed in the East and exported to Salt Lake City and Sacramento (another office for the firm). Although a partially accomplished remainder, it has a proper signature of Geo. Chorpenning that matches the hand of known fully signed and issued notes with established pedigrees from the Ford Part VI sale. The serial number "88" is in the same hand. Apparent, with excellent body, but noted are "Hinge Remnants on back; Minor Stains." The $1 denomination is one of the least frequently seen from the series, compared with the $5 and $10 notes. Over thirty years ago, at the time of the March 1982 Henry H. Clifford Sale by Bowers & Ruddy, there were very few notes of any denomination known. The notes Ford owned were kept relatively secret from others, except to the dealers who sold them to him (such as Grover C. Criswell, who sold a $1-$10-$5 remainder sheet to Ford in 1970 that was auctioned at Ford VI). There was only one low grade $10 remainder in Clifford, Lot 343, that realized $2,100. For decades, this rare issuer was coveted by coin and currency dealers as an elite title and evocative type. The Ford Collection notes in those sales put an effective supply into the market commencing in 2004, including his solitary "Sacramento" office $50 note which was last sold by us at the 2011 Long Beach auction for $40,250, a record for the issuer. We cited a $1 note that was part of a three note sheet earlier and we also report the Schingoethe collection $1 remainder example sold in their Part 5 sale by Smythe in December 2005, Lot 1837, for $20,700. The value for this impressive series has been firmly established over time, and this is a very collectible note and artifact of the Wild West. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
Realized $16,450.00. Newman VI (Heritage Auctions, 4/2015), lot 19369. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.