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Sacramento City Hand Stamp

 
 
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Valued Member

United States
69 Posts
Posted 06/17/2019   12:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add HTx to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hello All
I found this in a book I bought at a garage sale this weekend.
There is no letter inside and the addressee's name appears to be Absalome Dow.
I found no historical reference for such a person in my Google search.

I think it is from the 1850's. Is there a way to determine its actual date range ?
As there is no stamp, I assume that the "5" stamped in black is the postal rate. Correct?
Would this item be referred to as a "stamp less cover with a local hand stamp" ?

If it is early 1850's, Columbia Calif. (located in the gold fields) is 90 miles from Sacramento Calif. A relatively short distance for sending a letter in those times ( I would think ). Since most letters were written to people at greater distances, such as Boston to San Francisco. Or much further away within the state.
Does the low rate of five cents make this cover more of a rarity ? Is it a rarity at all ?
How would you rate its condition ? And value ? ( all comments welcome )

Thanks
htx




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United States
1617 Posts
Posted 06/17/2019   2:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It is from somewhere between July 1851 and March 1855 when the 5c rate was in force. The Sacramento City cancel type (probably would be the type 36mm across) was also in use during this period. The American Stampless Cover Catalog would tell you this as would references specific to California postmarks.

Everything in the world is not on Google. I doubt Absalome has a Facebook page, but you never know. You need a San Francisco city directory for the years involved. The San Francisco Public Library has these online for most years.

"5" is the rate. This was sent collect/postage payable by the sender.

This is a stampless cover. "Local hand stamp" is rather meaningless; every originating postmark is "local".


Quote:
A relatively short distance for sending a letter in those times...

That does not reflect the effort needed to get from Sacramento to Columbia at the time. California was hardly developed at this time. A "short" distance is not that important; do you expect (say) a businessman to leave his store to physically deliver a message to Columbia? No telegraph at this time, either. You are thinking too much in 21st century terms.


Quote:
Since most letters were written to people at greater distances, such as Boston to San Francisco
Not true at all. This is hardly a unique cover. You're assuming you've seen all that there is to see(?).


Quote:
Does the low rate of five cents make this cover more of a rarity ? Is it a rarity at all ?

It's not a rarity. 5c was a standard rate of the period and there are many like this to towns in the Sierra foothills. So it is uncommon but by no means rare.
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Edited by hy-brasil - 06/17/2019 2:58 pm
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United States
69 Posts
Posted 06/17/2019   5:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add HTx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
@ hy-brasil

Yes it is 36mm across.

I mentioned the phrase 'Local Hand Stamp' because it is one of three categories listed in the Scotts 1990 Specialized book. Along with two others; 'Carriers' and 'Local' listings. I was just trying to learn the proper terminology.

I asked about rarity because I did find reputable auction houses listing many similar covers with a Sacramento post mark ( not Sacramento City as mine is ). And in general all of the descriptions about the many covers listed mentioned rates from 10 cents to 80 cents and above, with addresses a great distance away. Hence my question about rarity. As I did not find a stampless cover with a five cent rate. Nonetheless, I have never possessed an 1852 / 55 stampless cover, so it is rare to me.

Thanks for your reply and helpful information.
htx

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Posted 06/17/2019   5:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The distance between Sacramento and Columbia is indeed just under 100 miles. Thus the 5 cent rate instituted July 1, 1845 for distances less than 300 miles would apply as early as this date, and extend beyond the 1851 rate changes through to 1855. I'll stand corrected in a following post and strike through this.

That said, the use of an envelope instead of a folded lettersheet would indicate a use nearer the end of the 1851-55 range than the beginning.

The American Stampless Cover Catalog notes a 35mm marking known beginning in 1850 and a very similar 36mm marking known beginning in 1851. Thus depending on the exact device used and close measurement, your cover could have been sent as early as 1851, so not much use from that source to narrow the dates.
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Edited by John Becker - 06/17/2019 6:46 pm
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Posted 06/17/2019   5:56 pm  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Some Absalom Dows from Maine

https://www.myheritage.com/names/absalom_dow
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United States
422 Posts
Posted 06/17/2019   6:25 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add SPQR to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The letter has to be after July 1, 1851. The rate of 5 cents for under 300 miles did not apply in California - the rate within California was 12.5 cents by the act of August 14, 1848.

HTx
The "reputable auction houses" are selling the earlier "Sacramento" postmarks and transcontinental rate covers with 40 and 80 rates because they are more valuable. Auction houses rarely run individual covers worth under $200. You are not seeing the 5 cent rate covers at reputable auction houses because they are not valuable enough to appear at auction, not because it is a rare use.

If you want to learn about stampless covers you need to download the American Stampless Cover Catalog (free) from the US Philatelic Classics society webpage https://www.uspcs.org/resource-cent...nic-library/ and read the introductory chapters.
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Edited by SPQR - 06/17/2019 6:30 pm
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Posted 06/17/2019   6:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add HTx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you all for your postings.
I learn much from reading these forum discussions.
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Posted 06/17/2019   7:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Local hand stamp: Scott refers to markings used on letters carried by private companies, in part or for the whole trip. Your cover was carried by the US Post Office, all the way, with the "5" being struck at Sacramento at the same time the city postmark was applied.
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Edited by hy-brasil - 06/17/2019 7:37 pm
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Posted 06/18/2019   10:44 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add littleriverphil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Below are the tracings from the Williams book California Town Postmarks 1849-1935

The smaller SAC-2520 (35mm) and older shows a longer period of use than does the later, and larger SAC-2530.
You may want to measure the space between the S of Sacramento and the C of Cal.. this is the L dimension. Those two letters on your cover appear closer than the SAC-2530 tracing below does.




While both postmarks are rated at a value of 4, SAC-2520 was in use six years longer than SAC-2530 was.

I'm curious, what book did you find the cover in?
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Edited by littleriverphil - 06/18/2019 10:47 am
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Posted 06/18/2019   11:20 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Then this must be SAC-2520. The old American Stampless Cover Catalog (4th ed.) mixed the two sizes into one listing.
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Posted 06/18/2019   2:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In the 1860 Federal Census for Columbia, California there are three people by the name Dow. The first two are a husband and wife - William and Elizabeth Dow. He was 48 years old and listed as a miner and his wife Elizabeth was 35. Both had been born in Maine. The third person named Dow was a 50 year old man by the name of Ah Dow and he is listed as having been born in China. It is possible there was another person with the name of Dow living there in the 1850s and left before the 1860 census, or it is also posslble that perhaps William may have had another given name of Absalom, or even that Ah Dow may have been using an "American-ed" first name of Absalom.
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United States
69 Posts
Posted 06/18/2019   8:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add HTx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
@littleriverphil
Very informative, thanks.
Mine appears to be the sac-2520 type as the position of the dot between the "Y" and the "L" most resembles mine.

This cover was in amongst the miscellaneous items one would find in a scrap book type, as opposed to a literary type of book.

@Kimo
Thanks for the research. That's very interesting. The name Absalom is one I have never heard of before, its very different. Research is something I need to get better at. Since it will bring more life to the story of the item.
But how it got to Texas ...... who knows.

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Posted 06/19/2019   01:25 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Absalom? Son of David, whose name was also used in the title of one of the greatest books by one of the US's greatest authors

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absalom,_Absalom!
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Posted 06/20/2019   11:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Kimo to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Absalom, along with many other names found in the bible were relatively common given names in USA prior between the middle 1600s up until the late 1800s, and some carried on through to the 1900s and even today. Reading old census records and other genealogy books from those days shows this to be the case.

Having undertaken my own genealogy back to my first ancestors who arrived in 1630, there are many such biblical names. One of my favorites that one never hears these days was a man with the amazing name of Zaccheus Lovewell. In 1759 he was the colonel in charge of the New Hampshire Provincial Infantry Regiment with 1,000 men who among other battles were one of the central regiments that were in the British lines as they took Fort Ticonderoga from the French Canadians and their Indian allies. His parents named him Zaccheus after a figure in the bible named Zaccheus who was a son of Abraham and who was saved by Jesus.
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Edited by Kimo - 06/20/2019 11:52 pm
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