Coolgardie - envelope on auction

In November 2016 this interesting cover with the additional stamping "Per COOLGARDIE CYCLE EXPRESS CO., HUNT STREET" was placed on the internet platform delcampe at auction:


The reverse side of the cover shows the following stamp imprint from the sender JAMES A. HEALY:

The auction was described as follows: „Coolgardie >>Mirecourt timbres 42,44 "per Coolgardie cycle express Co;  enveloppe, 1897“. No further reference to this famous postal service. With a starting price of 7 € the whole thing smelled after a real bargain. A few minutes before the end of the auction the price was still at 55 €, but then in the last minute it jumped to over 600 €. Still a bargain?

Maybe not! The cancellation of the Australian Post shows the date 18th March 1897:

The local postal service “Coolgardie Cycle Express” however was already discontinued at the end of 1896.

The stamp imprint "Per COOLGARDIE CYCLE EXPRESS CO., Hunt Street" was usualy used to cancel the Coolgardie stamps:

but not as additional information as on the letter on auction.

On the auction platform delcampe further covers were offered by the same seller: all sent to Mr. Victor Chevrier (Mericourt/France) from all over the world - in decorative handwriting, registered and often with beautiful franking:


                                                   Sender: Richard A. Rusha - Manager, Lady Bountiful Mine, East Coolgardie


Mr. Victor Chevrier from Mericourt/France seems to have been an important business man. However one of these envelopes

had this sender stamp:            

 "Philatelic Society, Standerton, South Africa"! Monsieur Chevrier an ambitious stamp collector – and no business man!

Summarized: it appears that at the end of the 19th century there was the possibility of ordering such "made" envelopes through stamp clubs from all over the world. These are no letters for need. If you also take the late shipping year 1897 into account, you have to assume the letter is a forgery.

Well - one thing is certain: this was a remarkable auction - for delcampe, the seller, all fellow bidders, us bicycle stamps collectors and the happy(?) buyer.


The above envelope was “object of the month” for the internet sales and auction platform “delcampe”:


The auction is described in the (two) monthly magazine “delcampe magazine” no. 8 (January 2017), page 27. Following the translation from French:

The object of the month - Mail delivered by "Coolgardie Cycle Express Co"

Our object of the month has traveled well, this month! This is a letter from 1897 sent from Australia to Vosges in France.
The letter is franked with 2.5 pence, split on two stamps showing swans from 1885 (gray swan:  2 pence, green swan: ½ penny). The mail was forwarded by the "Coolgardie Cycle Express Co".
This company dates back to 1894. It was founded to transport the miners' mail from Coolgardie to the post office. It should be known that the gold found in the Coolgardie mine in 1892 made some 20000 Europeans come in a few years. This territory was 200 km away from the nearest post office. Thus the "Coolgardie Cycle Express Co" was founded.
On the back of the letter the name of the brave cyclist, who delivered the mail, could be found: James A. Healy.
These envelopes are not often found and this one is interesting for several reasons. The letter was offered at a starting price of 0.50 € and ended at 600.50 €. It has been put on auction by "Jeanphili76", a seller present on delcampe since 2003, whose positive average rating is 100%.

The author was somewhat imaginative about the starting price (0.50 € instead of 7.00 €) and the stamp imprint on the reverse side of the envelope: James A. Healy was not a cycling messenger, he was founder and agent of the company – as shown in the second picture of this comic, presented on the chat board of “” under the topic "Coolgardie Cycle Express Company Cinderella Stamps":

Explore –Australia-Through-Stamps-Text-by-Bill-Hornadge-Cartoons-by-Monty-Wedd(Text by Bill Hornadge, Cartoons by Monty Wedd)


In 2023, the envelope appears again at the auction house delcampe - at the buy-it-now price of 225 €:

A second chance for the losing bidders of the first auction? Not at all. The delcampe monitoring system quickly classified the seller as a fraud. His just created account and newly opened store were closed by delcampe within a few hours. Afterwards the fraudster tried to sell the envelope several more times (item no. 1850997129, 1852697754185613100219218595861922285901). Unsuccessfully - the delcampe monitoring system detected him promptly each time. Bravo.


Post of J. A. Healy: History and plate varieties:

(from chat on “”: topic: “Coolgardie Cycle Express Company Cinderella Stamps”)


As early as 1927 the question arose how it could be, that 6 months after the shutdown of the company, mail with Coolgardie stamps and postmarks could still come into circulation. Below the report::

"W.B." Mt. Lawley writes :— 'Many of the early pioneers will remember the above-mentioned company and the services it rendered during 1893-1896. The card issued by the proprietor, Mr. James A. Healey, read:

   'The Coolgardie Cycle Express Co., Hunt Street (opposite Post Office). Special cycle messages. Having engaged the services of the following special cyclists, F. P. Hope, H. Yeates, F. W. Wilson, F. W. Brookman, W. H. Hamblin, J. H. C Bamlett, etc., we are prepared to convey messages to any part of the field, by day or night, at shortest notice. Mining notices put up on claims, wages paid, claims pegged, and taken up at Warden's office, and all mining business transacted. Regular cycle mail leaves this office for Hannans (daily), Menzies, Niagara, Yerilla, Pindinni, Mt. Margaret, Norseman, Dundas, etc. James A. Healey, agents. N.B.: Special messages guaranteed.'
   'The stamps first used by the company were plain blue coloured rectangles, with a white space in the centre showing a bicycle, the value in figures (2/6 and 1/-) appearing below, and the inscription 'Coolgardie Cycle Express Company — Cycle Messages' surrounding the design. The stamps were cancelled with a steel stamp (with violet ink) showing 'Per. Coolgardie Cycle Express Co., Hunt Street'.
    Later, a new supply of stamps was obtained, consisting of three values 6d., 2/-, and 5/. These were lithographed in two colours— the centre showing a camel and rider travelling across the desert with the setting sun in the distance. They were inscribed 'Coolgardie Cycle Express Company, Western Australia.'    The value appeared in figures in each corner, and in words at the foot of the stamp.
   'Some records were put up by the cyclists for the Coolgardie Cycle Express Company, notably by Bamlett and Hamblin. The cycle service was first started in 1893, before the telegraph line was opened, special messages having been conveyed at a charge up to £25 each, letters being carried at various lower charges.
    "According to Mr. Healey, the last route was finally closed to his operations in December 1896, owing to the Postal Department carrying out the services.
"I have, however, in my possession an interesting envelope sent from Sydney to Mr. P. P. Curtin, care Mr. J. A. Healey, Cycle Express Agency, Coolgardie, thence by Cycle Express to De Baun's Soak, Pindinni.' The envelope bears the postmarks 'Sydney, 9 June, 1897, Coolgardie, W.A., June 21, 1897, and Eastern Goldfields T.P.O. June 19, 1897. The letter bears a 1d. N.S.W. stamp, and a Coolgardie Cycle Express 'Camel' 2/- stamp, obliterated with the usual 'Per Coolgardie Cycle Express, Co., Hunt Street' stamp.
    The words 'Cycle Express Agency, Coolgardie' were crossed out in blue pencil and 'Viners' written in lieu with the initials 'P.B.'
"In view of the use of the "Camel" stamp and the same obliterating stamp as used by the company when controlled by Mr. Healey, it would appear that the business was carried on after he retired, the dates shown on the envelope being nearly six months after December, 1896. Can you or any of your readers throw light on this?
    'When the attention of the Postal Department was drawn to the issue by a private company of stamps it appears that directions were issued by the Postmaster General to cease issuing them, as being contrary to the Post Office Act. The stamps, however, had been in use for a lengthy period before this direction was issued.
    'In addition to the stamps issued by the Coolgardie Cycle Express Company, another local stamp was used for a short period between Lake Lefroy and Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie.
'The two series of stamps are of special philatelic interest, as they represent the only 'local' stamps issued in Australia. I am indebted to 'The Australian Stamp Journal' and 'The Australian Philatelist' for part of the information shown above.

                   Kalgoorlie Miner - Tuesday 6th September 1927, page 5


The Coolgardie envelope was also discussed by Eduardo Scardino in his YouTube presentation “Correo en bicicleta hasta 1915” in 2022.