Postal History  -  Philatelic Covers  -  Stampless Mail
Sheet Folded Letters  -  Historic & Belle Lettres
Life Member American Philatelic Society & Member of BNAPS, CCNY, ICSC, DMSC, SPHS
See our main webpage at



CALL US @ 573 - 382 - 1776


ITEM - #EP-USC-1765



Circa 1765 New York to Philadelphia w/ Early Franklin Mark
 and New York Split Line Cancel

1 shilling 5 pence + 3 pence manuscript rates
1996 American Stampless Cover Catalogue (ASCC)
values this 2-line New York Cancel @ $

This cover shows a very early American "Franklin Mark" cancel. Patterned after the British "Bishop Mark" (introduced in England by British PM Henry Bishop in the 1660's) it was used to date stamp a letter to show when it was received by the local post office. The intention was that the "received by" date would document the time for local delivery and thus prompt the postman to be diligent in his rounds. The American version is in black with "day over month" in a circle with no dividing line. The British mark has a dividing line and can have the day or month on the top depending upon whether or not it was inland or foreign post. There are also Scottish (oval in red) and Irish "Bishop Marks", as well as Canadian. The American version was named after Benjamin Franklin the first US Postmaster and is found on US delivered letters from the latter part of the 18th century, disappearing from about 1800, much scarcer than the British Bishop Mark.



Showing "PmPost" Parliamentary Post docket and 1/5 or 1 shilling 5d rate due and 3d red rate paid 

US Franklin (Bishop) Mark 3/J[UL]Y
As in England they used an "I" for a "J"
I[J]A was January, I[J]U was June
16mm Diameter

Red Wax Seal

with short tips UL "N" and LR "K"


Front:  New York to Philadelphia cover with manuscript markings: “1/5” meaning 1s (shilling) and 5d (pence) or 17 pence in black, and, “3(d)” in red for a total of 20d (1s/8d). In the lower left is a manuscript “Pm/Post” or “Parliamentary Post” franking. The ms red "3" is possibly a local charge for delivery of the letter from point of origin to the New York City post office where it met the Post for Philadelphia, or for delivery from the Philadelphia Post Office to the final destination. The charge from New York to Philadelphia at this time (for a distance of 60-100 miles) was 6d for a single sheet, 12d (1 shilling) for a two-sheet letter, and 18d (1s/6d) for a three sheet letter. A possible explanation is that this was a triple sheet letter (18d) to which was added the 2d charge for carriage by private (not packet) ship between NY and Philadelphia. This would make for the 20d total but it does not match well with the accountancy marks themselves. This would also not be the normal rate as the ship rate was usually added to the delivery rate from port of entry not origin. Possibly it is a Trans-Atlantic packet letter (1s rate) that passed through New York. In any case it is an excellent Colonial Post Conundrum with the Rare Double Line New York Cancel, Type A1, in Brownish-Red with Parliamentary Post Markings and a very early Franklin Mark.
Reverse: Large Red Monogram "A. S." Wax Seal - Very Early Franklin Mark - Two line NEW/YORK Type A1 [24 x 12 mm] both brownish-red.  When both cancels are used together the accepted range is 1765-1769.
Notes: Nice example of Colonial Parliamentary Post. While there were two prominent Samuel Morris's in the Philadelphia area at this time who were "merchants", one was a prosperous Quaker who never married and had no children and primarily lived out of town at his estate called Whitemarsh near current Germantown. The more likely candidate was Samuel  Morris, son of Anthony Morris, mayor of Philadelphia in 1738 and one of the most influential members of the Society of Friends. His Grandfather, also Anthony was also a mayor of the city in 1704. This Samuel Morris (1711-1782 see photo below courtesy of U Penn archives) was a successful merchant in Philadelphia and was chosen by Governor Robert Hunter Morris in 1756 to audit the ill-fated Braddock expedition. In 1777 he was appointed the Registrar of Wills and from 1779 until his death he was a Trustee of what is now the University of Pennsylvania. He was a zealous advocate for independence and served on the Revolutionary Committee of Safety and the War Board. His cousin, also named Samuel, was elected Captain of the first troop of cavalry from the City of Philadelphia and they acted as Washington's personal guard through 1776-77 in the battles of Trenton and Princeton. The only reference to Deborah Morris we could find was an account book by her from 1759-69 detailing board, clothing and schooling expenses.
Condition:  Fine condition w/ some ink oxide deterioration in top "F" flourish.  Backstamp of two-line NEW/YORK cancel is missing top part of "W"  from paper tear out at time of opening.
Contents:  Cover only no contents but faint offset mirror image of letter still faintly visible on back of cover sheet.

Reverse of Cover Showing 2-Line "NEW/YORK" cancel and
Scarce early American Franklin Mark "3/JY"= British Bishops mark

Offered by
a Division of Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd.


As a Life Member of the American Philatelic Society and in association with the American Philatelic Society's new guidelines on expertization, Berryhill & Sturgeon, Ltd. will guarantee the authenticity of this philatelic item to the purchaser of record for a period of five years from the date of sale. You will receive a full color receipt with our written guarantee of authenticity - signed and sealed. Please note that our five year Guarantee of Authenticity does not apply to condition issues such as centering, cancel, gum, paper or other aspects of the item. It is the buyer's responsibility to promptly examine the material upon receipt for any vices, defects or other dissatisfactions and return it within our seven day examination and "return-for-any-reason" period. However, if at any time during the five year period you receive an opinion from the American Philatelic Expertizing Service that this item is not authentic, please return the item in its original condition along with the written guarantee and contrary opinion and we will refund you the original purchase price and the cost of the opinion. 

Official PayPal Seal    Item is accompanied by a full color picture receipt for your insurance and inventory records. Item will be archivally packaged & shipped to your address. Please note that although we take great care in scanning our item images, monitor displayed colors may vary from original. Damage on delivery must be promptly reported. There is a 14 day "no questions asked" return policy, but item must be returned in the same condition as sent and the return shipment cost and liability is the responsibility of the buyer. While domestic shipping is free, certain international shipments may require buyer to be accountable for additional postage, duties, customs fees, excise taxes or VAT's. Washington State residents will be charged the 6.5% sales tax.