Sale 284

Lot 2423

United States "Wise." balloon, handstamped illustrated imprint on 3¢ entire (U10) postmarked "Lancaster, Pa., May 12, 1859"; flap missing, repaired nick at top, Very Fine. A marvelous example of this rare "airmail" collateral item. A month and a half after this cover was sent, on July 2, "Professor" John Wise left St. Louis in a large balloon, The Atlantic for New York City, carrying a bag of mail consigned to him by the United States Express Co. A storm nearly forced the balloon into Lake Ontario and Wise was forced to jettison the mail bag, along with the balloon's lifeboat in order to gain enough altitude to reach the town of Henderson, N.Y. The earliest attempted airmail delivery in the United States was a failure. The flight covered a distance of 809 miles in 19 hours and 50 minutes, the longest non-stop air flight until 1910. Wise attempted another airmail delivery later that year from Lafayette, Ind. but made it only 30 miles before he was forced to land. The mail continued to N.Y. by train. This cover is addressed to a "Mons. Carlincourt" in Utica, N.Y. Carlincourt was a pseudonym for Wise's fellow aeronaut, "Professor" Thaddeus Lowe (see next lot).
Estimate 750 - 1,000

Provenance: Bischel

Realized $1,700

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