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New Denver envelope fetches $1,046

Updated: Apr 22

This envelope, mailed from New Denver to London in 1897 by the mining and real estate firm of Rashdall and Fauquier, just sold on eBay for $759 US ($1,046 Cdn). 

While it’s a nice corner card, I was at a loss to explain why it went for so much. Three bidders were each willing to pay at least $688 US for it, so they obviously saw something I did not.

Former stamp collector Malcolm Fitz-Earle had the answer: it’s the stamp, listed in the Scott 2006 Classic Specialized Catalog as one of the Queen Victoria Jubilee 1837 and 1897 Jubilee issues. This one in particular, “A30 10c brown violet on cover,” was assigned a value at the time of $200 US. Inflation helped push it to the price it sold for. So did the fact it was an an envelope, and therefore never attached to an album with hinges. 

“The fact that the stamp is not defaced by the franking stamp or torn is also relevant to the price,” Malcolm adds. “I don’t know whether the fact that the stamp is upside down is significant. Oddly, the envelope does not look as though it was opened. That is typical of first day covers.” However, the stamp series was released on June 29, 1897 and this one is postmarked Aug. 5, 1897, so it’s not a first-day cover.

Further intrigue exists that is not immediately obvious. Rashdall and Fauquier were Charles S. Rashdall and Arnold E. Fauquier. Their first ad appeared in the New Denver Ledge in 1896. The partnership dissolved on July 14, 1900 with Rashdall continuing on alone.

The Sandon Mining Review of Sept. 20, 1902 cryptically observed: “Mr. C.H. [sic] Rashdall of New Denver was in the city Wednesday. It was generally understood he was too long acquainted with his late partner Fauquier for his own welfare.” 

From the New Denver Ledge, Sept. 29, 1898

But some hint of the possible trouble came in the Slocan Mining Review on Jan. 16, 1908 which revealed Fauquier had been working as an accountant for a Seattle safemaker when he absconded with $2,000. (Another report put the amount at $1,000.) The discovery of the crime coincided with a fire at the business. Detectives were said to be “hunting the country over” for Fauquier. 

“There are also several business men in the Slocan who would be delighted to learn of the present address of this slippery customer,” the Mining Review added. 

Turns out Fauquier had done it before. 

In 1889, he was a railway clerk in West Haven, Conn. when he stole $947 from his employer. He was arrested in Chicago after being caught trying to snatch cash from a man in a bank. Fauquier pleaded guilty to embezzlement, but I don’t know what punishment he received. 

Before that, in 1870, he robbed a bank in Clifton, NY of $8,000, of which he subsequently gambled away $1,000 in 10 days. He was also caught in Chicago that time and sentenced to three years and four months in prison for grand larceny.

After stealing from the safemaker, Fauquier appears to have successfully eluded the law, for he was never heard of again. One family tree suggests he may have died in Seattle, but no death registration exists under his name.

Fauquier came to the West Kootenay around 1894, drawn by the mining excitement. He served as secretary for the hospital in New Denver, was president of the local band, and ironically, given his criminal record, was named a notary public.

Curiously, Arnold Fauquier’s brother Fred, who was the namesake of the Lower Arrow Lake community of Fauquier, also admitted to embezzlement while working as a government official in Revelstoke in 1901. He received two years in prison. But he was so well liked that upon his release he returned to the area and people pretended his crimes never happened. 

Rashdall, by contrast, was law-abiding, but had a premature end. In 1906 he moved to Nelson, where he was an assistant to realtor Thomas Procter. One night the following year, Rashdall was discovered in his bed at the Strathcona Hotel, dead of presumed heart failure. He was either 42 or 46.

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Great info. Fauquier was also a failed BC politician


The buyer may have been more interested in the Queen Victoria 60th Jubilee postage stamp (affixed upside down) than in the envelope. I can remember from my stamp collecting days tat a stamp still on the original envelope may increase in value over a used unattached stamp.

Jim Sadler

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