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Chickering & Sons Pianos, 1859

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

This cover (Figure 1) was postmarked in Conway, New Hampshire on August 15, 1859, and was addressed to Colonel Thomas E. Chickering of Boston. The back of this cover (Figure 2) has an embossed ad (close-up in Figure 3) for "Chickering & Sons Paino Fortes" located on Tremont Street in Boston.

The cover is franked with six-cents of postage consisting of two copies (not a pair) of a 3-cent stamp that is #26 in the US Scott Catalog. This suggests this item probably weighed an ounce since the postage rate in 1859 was 3 cents per 1/2 ounce traveling up to 3,000 miles. Conway to Boston is about 130 miles.

This stamp was one of more than 600 million issued between 1857 and 1861. These stamps were demonetized and declared invalid for postage in 1861 when the Civil War broke out.

Chickering & Sons was founded in 1823 and was one of the earliest piano manufacturers in the US. The last Chickering Piano was built in 1985.

In addition to being one of the owners of Chickering & Sons, Col. Chickering (Figure 4) was a Civil War officer. Born in Boston in 1824, he died there at age 46 in 1871. He is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts (i).


Figure 1 - Front.

Figure 2 - Back.

Figure 3 - Close-up of embossed ad.

Figure 4 - Colonel Thomas E. Chickering. Source: Wikipedia.

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