Jim Forte Postal History

(800) 594-3837 or (702) 791-6828 Fax (702) 369-9139
P.O. Box 371541 Las Vegas, NV 89137




There has been many works published on California postal history. Here is a beginning:

A Checklist of California Post Offices 1849-1988 by Richard W. Helbock

California Doanes by Richard W. Helbock

History of California Post Offices by H.E. Salley

San Francisco Postal Markings 1847-1900 by John M. Mahoney

California Postmark Catalog by John Williams

You can access my online guide of California Post Offices here.


The California market place is really 40 or so different marketplaces. Most collectors collect California by county or by a small group of counties. The most popular counties, like Inyo, Mono and Alpine, are as popular as any geographic area in the entire country. Some of the less collected gold rush counties are as unpopular as any geographic area in the country. In general, the market is strongest for southern material and weakest for the gold rush area.

Among the 50 states, the District of Columbia, R.P.O.'s and Streetcars, California rates as the 13th state in terms of percentage of covers sold at 64.90%. It ranks 1st in terms of the value of covers sold as percentage of all town cancels sold at 12.34%. The overall rank is 1st. This is a ten year running average. The most recent trends are increasing. I thought it might be interesting to quantify the level of interest for all the counties in California. I figured the percentage of covers I have sold as compared to the total of the covers sold and the covers available. Since some of the California covers I sell are not sold to California collectors, I decided to eliminate flags and doanes from the total of covers sold. While not perfect, this should provide more accurate results. Here are the results by county:

Alpine 100.00%
Napa 100.00%
Inyo 99.22%
Mono 94.67%
Imperial 92.06%
San Luis Obispo 90.85%
Marin 88.32%
Amador 86.84%
Ventura 86.67%
Siskiyou 85.89%
Santa Barbara 84.97%
Mariposa 83.87%
Monterey 83.00%
Mendocino 82.87%
Kern 80.87%
Nevada 79.89%
San Bernardino 77.70%
Madera 77.59%
Humboldt 77.22%
Contra Costa 75.34%
Shasta 75.17%
San Benito 73.91%
Merced 73.33%
San Mateo 72.80%
Trinity 72.73%
Santa Cruz 72.53%
Placer 71.67%
Sonoma 71.39%
San Francisco 68.72%
Los Angeles 67.06%
Tulare 66.52%
Orange 66.30%
Solano 65.93%
Sierra 65.48%
Tuolumne 64.74%
Lake 64.62%
Santa Clara 64.25%
Del Norte 63.89%
Yolo 62.86%
El Dorado 60.25%
Alameda 60.12%
Plumas 57.25%
Yuba 56.88%
San Diego 56.72%
Calaveras 56.14%
Butte 55.39%
Modoc 55.29%
Fresno 54.62%
Sutter 53.85%
Tehama 53.49%
Stanislaus 52.85%
Sacramento 52.66%
Kings 52.63%
Riverside 51.75%
Lassen 51.55%
San Joaquin 48.77%
Glenn 41.46%
Colusa 31.75%


Covers For Sale

All California Covers

California By County

19th Century







World War One

Picture Postcards

Machine Cancels

Auxiliary Markings

Fancy Cancels

Non Standard Postmarks

Registered Covers

Special Delivery Covers

Foreign Destinations



Search for a specific California town. Type in the name below and press enter or click on search. 


If you'd like printable version of these covers, please e-mail me.