Mail of the American West
By: George Kramer

Jun 14 , 2011

George Kramer, our speaker for June, brought an incredible array of postal history for his presentation on “Mail of the American West.”  The covers shown came from a number of his gold-medal exhibits, tracing postal history in different parts of the American West.  The items shown varied from scarce to unique, with some of the most important pieces of U.S. postal history on view that evening.

Highlights included:  One of three letter s from the first official mail from California to Ft. Leavenworth (Kearney expedition); early Mormon mail, including a letter from the state of Deseret; several different “trail letters”; covers illustrating the Oregon route; and the only Valentine form Kansas territory.

More highlights: several covers depicted illustrations of stage coaches; a Confederate patriotic from Arkansas; conjunctive use of Wells Fargo and Boyd’s; covers illustrating the Butterfield overland mail route and early mail from Alaska.

The most powerful material was related to the Pony Express, with quite a few covers showing the famous “running Pony” handstamp, in various colors.  This included the only known cover with a $4 green Pony stamp and an example of the $4 black Pony stamp on cover used from Hawaii (one of two known).  Other fantastic covers included: unique combination of the $1 and $2 Pony stamps; strip of four “Garter” stamps on cover (only known multiple) and the famous unique combination of a Civil War patriotic cachet, with a 30 cent orange stamp and Pony stamp postmarked with a “running Pony” handstamp!

The above list of highlights really does not do justice to the exhibit presented that evening, as there were so many other fabulous covers that could be added to the list.  To say that George’s presentation was overwhelming would be an understatement!