The Rush cover was mailed from Philadelphia to Paris in 1848
Philatelic History of the Rush Cover
Not only does the Rush Cover have a philatelic history, it can be used to document and teach it as well. In 1840, England issued the world’s first official adhesive backed stamp (i.e. the 1840 Penny Black). In the same year, the English based Cunard Line began to deliver mail between Boston and Liverpool. It was delivered using steam-powered vessels, which cut delivery time in half. In 1847 it was America's turn to issue official U.S. postage stamps.They were issued in the 5¢ Franklin and the 10¢ Washington denominations. In 1847, the Cunard Line's monopoly ended when the U.S. government-subsidized mail-shipping company, Ocean Line, started to sail between New York and Bremen, Germany, via Liverpool, where the English-bound mail was unloaded.
Early after the 1847 stamp was issued it was standard practice to prepay only the U.S. portion of the postage needed to send mail overseas, e.g. 5¢ under 300 and 10¢ over 300 miles. Letters that were sent via the Cunard liners were charged with an additional English rate of 24¢, while the American Ocean Line charged 24¢ from New York by adding 5¢ or 10¢ if posted elsewhere. Until 1849, England did not accept prepayment when letters were sent via the U.S. Ocean Line, instead they charged additional postage, the rate being known as the “discriminatory rate." The U.S. retaliated in 1848 by doubling the charge on Cunard letters that were prepaid, the rate being known as the “retaliatory rate.” As a result, a few "rare" prepaid letters from this period exhibit the double 29¢ retaliatory rate, which was paid as 60¢ in the form of 1847 issue stamps. The Rush Cover is one of the few examples that documents the history of this period with its cover of six 10¢ 1847 stamps.
The Rush Cover was mailed by Benjamin Rush to his father Richard Rush, the U.S. Minister of France. The mailing was made in September 1848 in Philadelphia and was sent via the Cunard steamer Europa. Benjamin Rush paid the retaliatory rate of 48 cents and 10 cents for delivery of the letter from Philadelphia to Cunard's docks in New Jersey. When Richard Rush received the letter, he had to pay the discriminatory rate of about 66 cents, which was shared between Britain and France.
The Rush Cover has been offered for sale four times. In 1910, it sold for $110. In 1944, the cover sold for $4,000 at the Collectors Club of New York. In 1971, it sold for $18,000. In 2005 it sold for $1.2 million dollars.