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Locals and Expresses
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Corner card of Truman and Chapman Express envelope, 1861

New York, NY

New York

Handstamp, 2 cents
Not in Scott
Not in Lyons

This handstamp is apparently always found with an adhesive, whereas the adhesives are often found without the handstamp, so despite its clear "2 cts" inscription, this item is not considered proof of payment of postage. Of the four covers I have seen, this one has by far the clearest strike of the handstamp, and the purists may say what they wish, I like it, and I'm including it here. The high realization for the cover shown above ($20,000+10%!) has to do not with the handstamp, but its copy of Scott 55L7, of which only 5 examples are known, this being the only one on cover.

It's far too blurred even to guess what the train in this handstamp might be.

Note that I have sorted the Locals alphabetically, since the exact dates of many are unknown. Most of the Scott values shown are italicized, indicating that there are too few items or recent sales to establish a reliable value.

8/28/02 - The Catalog of Private Express Labels and Stamps by Bruce H. Mosher, the definitive catalog of private Express labels and stamps in the US has just been published, and among its thousands of images are over a hundred that show a rail vehicle. Click here for a review of the book, and reproductions of all the items in it with a train on them.

(Click on any image to see a higher-resolution version.)

New York, NY

Fiske & Rice
New York

Illustrated in Scott, but not numbered - "Authorities consider items of this design to be express company labels rather than stamps." Lyons illustrates and describes a forgery.

Listed in Mosher, who says of the company "Regional private mail express that operated between Boston Mass., Burlington VT, and Montreal. In January 1851, F.H.Rice and Phineas S. Fiske purchased part to all of Bigelow & Co's Express to start this business." Mosher label number F&RX-L1.

I found only the one example of this label in the auctions I surveyed, and it sold for $525. Note that the design is copied from the label of Bigelow's Express, which Fiske and Rice bought out in 1851. The same observation applies here, i.e. the best I can say is that the train depicted resembles the "Experiment", but not closely enough to be given that name.

Boston & New York

Gay, Kinsley
Boston & New York

Express label
Not listed or illustrated in Scott
Not in Lyons

Listed in Mosher, who says of the company "Regional private mail and parcel express company that operated between Boston, NYC, Philadelphia and other Eastern cities. Succeeded by Kinsley & Co. Express." Mosher label number GKNX-L5.

Cover in Siegel auction 830, lot 617, sold for $450 + 10%. Gay, Kinsley was a package express, but it would not have been unusual for them to transport letters, especially ones containing valuables such as currency - the PO offered no registry or insurance at that time.

The engine resembles the "Stevens", but is not an exact match. The passenger car (?) behind seems far too large for that locomotive.



Not in Scott

Lyons describes this as a Taylor forgery, produced on several colors of paper, and with various inks. There was a Kingman's City Post in Charleston, S.C., but its stamps were simple text-only designs.



Not in Scott
illustrated in Lyons
image of a "parlor car"
Considered genuine but no data available.

Listed in Mosher, who says of the company "Local express that operated in an unknown area. May be a phantom issue." Mosher label number LILX-S1.

New York, NY

Locomotive Express
New York

HANDSTAMPed adhesive (!)
Scott 97L1 (no value given)

This is an odd one, listed in Scott, which does not ordinarily list handstamped franking; but this is a handstamped adhesive, i.e., a handstamp applied to gummed paper and then cut and glued onto the cover to mark payment of postage! Lyons says "this item is extremely rare," and I suspect it is unique. It is listed and pictured in Patton, who described the item shown (in 1967) as the only known example, and his illustration is clearly the source of the Lyons illustration. I obtained the scan above, of the actual item, from the current owner, who acquired it in the Lilly sale of 1967, which is presumably where Patton saw it. The owner describes it as "a folded letter dated Mar 27 1847, and dealing with financial matters." The image is too blurred to make any guess as to the identity of the locomotive, but I would describe it as a very early model, with the engineer perched on a tiny platform at the back of the engine, similar to the ones shown on the Broadway and Kingman's stamps.

San Francisco

Pacific Express
San Francisco

Not in Scott
Not in Lyons
Express corner card printed on stamped envelopes of the period

Listed in Mosher, who says of the company "Regional private mail and package express company that operated mainly west of the Mississippi River. It was formed from the Kansas Pacific and Union Pacific Express Companies and developed a strong business liaison with the United States Express Company to provide trans-continental express service. The Pacific Express Company was liquidated late in 1911 when Wells Fargo & Co. took over its remaining express routes." Mosher label number PACX-C1.

(Pacific Express logo on Scott U277)

This may be the item with the least right to be included here. Pacific Express was one of many express companies in California that were tolerated much longer than their counterparts in the East, because they served routes the postal service could not afford to. The fact that we now have envelopes like this to collect implies that they were sold like this to the public. If they were, and their cost was more than the two-and-a- fraction cents of the basic envelope, in prepayment of the express fee, then to me the design qualifies as a postal indicium, and they belong here. However, most express company envelopes of the period, such as those of Wells Fargo, have the word PAID in the added design, making them "franks" - proof of payment of an added fee for the express service. So this one may be just advertising, a corner card.

Nonetheless, that's no reason not to include this cover - dated 1899, and somewhat the worse for wear, it has a certain charm.

Philadelphia City Dispatch

Philadelphia City Dispatch - ????

Not in Scott
Not in Lyons
Most likely bogus

1/3/5 - I know nothing about this item, and would welcome any information about it. I assume I found the scan somewhere on the www. Scott lists a local by this name, but shows no adhesive with this design. As Bill Weinberger points out, there are perforations along the bottom - no adhesives of this period had them!

New York, NY

Pomeroy & Co.
New York

Express Label
Not in Scott

Listed in Mosher, who says of the company "Regional private mail and parcel express company that operated in New York state and into Canada. Founded in Spring, 1841 by George E. Pomeroy. Succeeded by the Livingston, Wells & Pomeroy Express." Mosher label number POMX-L10.

Scott does not list this stamp as it is an "express label", has no denomination, and probably did not represent the payment of a fee. There seem to be a fairly large number of unused labels available, including multiples like the ones below, but very few on cover (Siegel writeup for cover above says "very rare use of Pomeroy label on letter mail"). There are many reproductions.

The train is fairly detailed, but matches none I know, and indeed looks like it would not work - an artist's mis-interpretation, I would say.

continued on next page...

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Please note that ALL of the stamps illustrated on this page are considered to be genuine,i.e., not counterfeits, though some, as I have indicated, are fantasies or bogus issues, i.e., there was no such local or express. I do not wish to attempt to duplicate Larry Lyons' efforts here by showing fakes and explaining how to identify the real thing, so I have used scans from auction catalogs where I could find them, and copied the Lyons illustration only where his was the only one available to me. If you think I am wrong, and something I show is a reproduction or forgery, please email me at If you have a better scan to share with the world, I would welcome that too.


Identifier for Carriers, Locals, Fakes, Forgeries and Bogus Posts of the United States, Larry Lyons; published by the author, 1998

The subtitle of this book is "A Study of the Identification of the Local Stamp Adhesive from the Forgeries and Bogus Posts". It is NOT a history, catalog, or pricing guide, and while I would love to see it expanded in those as well as other directions, I am very pleased with it just as it is. Use it to determine whether the stamp you have is an authentic local post adhesive or some sort of fake, forgery or fantasy.

Catalog of Private Express Labels and Stamps, Bruce Mosher; published by the author, 2002, REVISED EDITION 2018.

A magnificent book listing and illustrating over 2000 labels issued by private express companies in the US and Canada.
I have reproduced all the labels that have a train image on them HERE.

The Private Local Posts of The United States, Volume 1, Patton, Donald Scott; pub. Robson Lowe, London, 1967

This is still a very useful tool in studying the area, as it includes extensive text discussions of the posts themselves, plus reproductions of some of their cancellations, which are of great value and interest to postal historians.

Scott 1997 Specialized Catalog of U.S. Stamps

I used this for the prices and some of the dates I quote above.
It is still deficient in its coverage of Locals and Expresses, treating the latter especially poorly.

The David Golden Collection of United States Carriers and Locals pub. Siegel Auction Galleries, 1999

This was the auction catalog for Siegel's sale 817, November 15-17, 1999, and in keeping with their recent efforts to create a serious reference resource for collectors, in both their catalogs and their web site, it contains not only high-quality phoitographs of most of the lots, but also scholarly writeups about both the local posts themselves and the stamps and covers.

The Hall Collection of United States Carriers, Locals, and Western Expresses pub. Siegel Auction Galleries, 2000

This was the auction catalog for Siegel's sale 830, November 13-14, 2000, and is another essential reference work for the serious student, with superb photographs and writeups.


Below are some of the sites I link to above - the ones I think are worth visiting and browsing through.

Colorado & Southern Rolling- stock

This website is dedicated to the narrow gauge rolling-stock that the Colorado & Southern Railroad ?inherited? from four of its numerous predecessor railroads (and such others as just might accidentally creep in)

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Revised -- 07/29/2018