Lot Details

January 2023

January 17-18, 2023 in New York City

Our January 2023 sales include the "Erivan" Collection of United and Confederate States Postal History Part VIII, as well as a general sale of United States and worldwide stamps, covers, and collections.

LOT# : 2
Date: January 17, 2023

New Haven, CT

8XU2, New Haven, CT, 1845 5c Red on light bluish, Black signature,

full impression of provisional at top right, red "New Haven Ct. Oct 21" datestamp at lower left, addressed by Professor Benjamin Silliman to Francis Mark, Jr., Esq. in Washington, DC, manuscript "Due" and hand stamped "5", extremely fine, by far the finest New Haven provisional cover recorded and one of the great rarities of American postal history, 2022 Philatelic Foundation certificate (Scott $125,000)

The New Haven Postmaster Provisional has proven to be one of the most elusive items in American philately. After over 170 years only six examples have emerged, of which just five are available to collectors. This rarity is compounded by the fact that the ink used to produce the original envelopes has not stood the test of time, and all surviving covers except for this one are either faulty or restored (likewise, the majority of surviving cut squares are faulty to some degree).

The majority of collectors have had to settle for various reprints made from the original die, the last of which were produced in 1932 (at the same time the booklet The New Haven Provisional Envelope by Carroll Alton Means was printed). This cover realized $23,000 at the 1967 Lilly sale (outselling the Alexandria Blue Boy), and over the years it became something of a celebrity, having been featured in Linn's Philatelic Gems and Life magazine's "World's Rarest Stamps" (1954). It has not appeared at auction since the 1989 sale of the Weill Brothers' stock at Christie's.

Provenance: Dr. James H. Causten, Jr. (Private Transaction)

Count Philipp von Ferrary (Gilbert Sale 3, 1922)

Arthur Hind (Charles J. Phillips Sale 1, 1933)

Alfred H. Caspary (H.R. Harmer Sale 967, 1955)

Josiah K. Lilly (R.A. Siegel Sale 312, 1967)

Weill Brothers (Christie's-Robson Lowe, 1989)

Scott 8XU2
Starting Price: $50,000
Hammer Price: $60,000