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    Very Rare California and Salt Lake Mail Line $50 Remainder

    (Salt Lake City, U.T.) - California and Salt Lake Mail Line $50 18__ Rust 107var, Nyholm 145var. Remainder. PCGS Extremely Fine 40.
    The California and Salt Lake Mail Line notes are justifiably considered 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 significant as they tie numismatics and postal history together. This high-grade $50 remainder is very rare. The custom vignette at the center apparently was commissioned since it appears only on this note series. 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 United States Post Office Department responded to Eric P. Newman regarding his inquiry about Chorpenning and supplied the proper date. The entire round trip took 16 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. Mr. Chorpenning considered himself an able mail contractor, and rather than constantly sit in an office, he went on a number of mail line 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 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), in trying 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. Believing he was unjustly denied this payment, Chorpenning's descendants in 1998 futilely tried to reopen the claim ( 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 like this and in issued form, the latter being the rarer. The style of the note, with the dynamic stagecoach vignette and the two-color effect combine to make a very striking layout. Printed without an imprint on banknote bond paper, similar to that used by Eastern lithographers, with the size and style of the Obsolete banknotes circulating in the 1850s. The printing is in blue ink with a red protector FIFTY 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 Native Americans in a formation, but the stage is guarded by armed men on horseback. In the bucolic vignette in the lower left corner, a milkmaid stands while a farmer plows a field in the background. At the lower right is a Native American hunter with a rifle slung over his shoulder. The intricate nature of the lithography, color and protector all point to the note being printed in the East and exported to Salt Lake City and Sacramento (another office for the firm). This is an unsigned and unnumbered remainder, but some are partially accomplished with 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. 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, known mainly 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, and it 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. That was last sold by us at the 2011 Long Beach auction for $40,250, a record for the issuer and one of the higher prices realized for any Obsolete note. We sold a similar $50 remainder, PCGS Very Fine 25, for $34,500 at our April 2011 CSNS sale. The Newman Collection $1 note from this series, with signature, realized $16,450 in Newman Part VI graded Very Fine 25 Apparent. The desirability of this impressive series has been firmly established over time, and this is a treasured note and artifact of the Wild West from the Newman Collection.
    Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2017
    1st-2nd Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 19
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 944

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    20% of the successful bid (minimum $19) per lot.

    Truth Seeker: The Life of Eric P. Newman (softcover)
    A powerful and intimidating dealer of the 1960s, backed by important colleagues, was accused of selling fraudulent gold coins and ingots to unsuspecting numismatists. Who would go up against a man like that and, over the course of decades, prove the fraud? Who would expose a widely respected scholar as a thief, then doggedly pursue recovery of coins that the scholar had stolen from an embarrassed numismatic organization, all over the objections of influential collectors who had bought coins with clouded titles? Eric P. Newman would - and did. Reserve your copy today.
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