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United States/Covers & Postmarks : 1864 Wells Fargo - Pacific Union Express cover

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jonk
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06 Dec 2018
12:31:33am
New addition to my collection. This is a 1864 Wells Fargo Pacific Union Express cover. This stretch of train track was under construction from 1863-1864, so this is an early example of a letter sent via train on the line between San Francisco and San Jose. The town of Mayfield was eventually annexed by my hometown of Palo Alto in 1926 -- this part of town was my stomping ground while growing up.

Interesting history notes:

In 1869, Wells Fargo gave controlling interest in the bank to California's "Big Four" tycoons/robber barons -- Leland Stanford, Charles Crocker, Collis P. Huntington, and Mark Hopkins -- in exchange for the exclusive rights to carry express mail over the Transcontinental Railroad.

Leland Stanford opened a horse breeding farm adjacent to Mayfield in 1870. In 1885 he founded his university (in memory of his young son who died) and two years later founded the town of Palo Alto.

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kinyonresearch.wordpress.com
Anglophile
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RPSL, APS, EPA; US, GB, Ireland, British Europe, Italy, Mauritius Classics
06 Dec 2018
01:06:17am
re: 1864 Wells Fargo - Pacific Union Express cover

Terrific item. I grew up in Los Altos adjacent to Mayfield and endured many shopping trips with my mother to Mayfield Mall, now a Google facility. Commuting home tonight on Caltrain, I stopped at California Avenue (the Mayfield stop) yet again. Are there any backstamps?

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"If this message contained legal advice, it would be followed by a bill."
jonk
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06 Dec 2018
01:19:08am
re: 1864 Wells Fargo - Pacific Union Express cover

Nope, nothing on the back.

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tooler
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06 Dec 2018
08:00:32pm
re: 1864 Wells Fargo - Pacific Union Express cover

Very cool item.

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pigdoc
11 Jan 2019
02:06:24pm
re: 1864 Wells Fargo - Pacific Union Express cover

Yes, yonk, I was hoping you'd keep us going with some more material!

I have a small collection of early Western mail, including a complete set of the Pony Express issues along with some forgeries, and a few Wells Fargo covers. I don't think there are many collectors in this area on SOR.

I picked up this envelope cut-out some time ago, just for the graphic appeal, and to add some dimension to my collection:
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With credit to Stamp Community Forum, "Pacific Union Express was created under exclusive contract to carry mail and gold for the Central Pacific Railroad in direct competition with Wells Fargo & Co., whose stagecoach line was already faltering due to the expansion of both the C.P.R. and the Union Pacific Railroad. The company only lasted from July 1,1868 until December 1869 when it was sold to Wells Fargo for $5 million. a princely sum at that time."

This makes me wonder if your cover was a Pacific Union Express cover later overprinted with the Wells, Fargo indicia.

-Paul

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