Postmasters Provisionals

United States Postmasters' Provisionals
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  • Lot# : 1 Postmasters Provisionals

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    7X1, Millbury, MA, 1846 5c Black on bluish, single with typical tight margins (clear at top and right), tied by red straightline "Paid" to blue folded letter to Worcester, Massachusetts, red "Milbury Ms. Aug 21" cds and matching circled "V" handstamp, stamp with tiny scuffs in background lines to the right of Washington's head (present since before Philip T. Wall first illustrated this cover in the Chronicle in 1984), still Extremely Fine and attractive, one of only eight covers recorded bearing the famed woodcut provisional of Millbury, this being the earliest known use (a distinction it shares with one other cover) and, significantly, a cover which has never appeared on the market before, having been bought privately for Mr. Haub, an incredible showpiece of the highest order (Scott $350,000)

    The history of the Millbury, Massachusetts (the proper spelling has two "L"s, despite what the postmark on the cover says) was first told by Philip T. Wall in the Chronicle in the mid-1980s, and greatly expanded upon by Robert A. Siegel Auctions, who maintain an active census of the stamp (this being 7X1-COV-12). As Mr. Wall tells the story, "The first two covers that came to light were discovered in the correspondence of Isaac Davis who left the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, Mass., some 15 volumes of his papers and correspondence when he died in 1885. Davis had been a leading attorney in Worcester in the 1840s. These two covers traveled a distance of only 8 to 10 miles."

    The first of these covers, postmarked December 16, was deaccessioned by the American Antiquarian Society in 1895. It was then owned by Sir William B. Avery, Henry J. Duveen, Alfred H. Caspary, and Arthur Hetherington, the latter two of whom sold the stamp through H.R. Harmer in 1955 and 1983, respectively. The other cover remained in the possession of the American Antiquarian Society for nearly another century.

    At the 1989 Weill Brother's sale at Christie's, the December 16 Isaac Davis cover was sold. John R. Boker, Jr. was bidding for Erivan Haub, and upon losing the Weills' cover, contacted the American Antiquarian Society within a year or two to make them an offer on the remaining (August 21) cover. Since the early 1990s this cover has resided in Germany and has therefore never been offered publicly for sale.

    In terms of United States Postmasters' Provisionals, the Millbury provisional occupies a unique position between the ornate designs of the New York and St. Louis stamps and the crude, makeshift stamps of Lockport and Boscawen. It is one of two provisionals to depict a person, but its woodcut design is obviously miles below the beautifully engraved New York stamp's portrait of George Washington. The Millbury has all of the charms of a "primitive" while still remaining instantly recognizable as a postage stamp. We believe that this cover's long-overdue appearance at public auction represents the beginning of a new chapter for a cover which spent the first century and a half of life locked away.

    Start Price : 75,000.00 USD
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    Lot# : 2 Postmasters Provisionals

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    9X1, New York, New York, 5c Black, "ACM" Connected, position 32, margins large to full, tied by red "New-York 5 cts 23 Dec" cds, two bold strikes of red arced "Paid" on the stamp (one of which also ties) and a third strike at top center, on folded lettersheet datelined December 22 to Longmeadow, Massachusetts, couple vertical file-folds one of which just grazes stamp's left edge (appears to run under stamp), Very Fine, especially attractive with the stamp tied by both the New York datestamp and "Paid" handstamp (Scott $750+)
    Start Price : 200.00 USD
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    Lot# : 3 Postmasters Provisionals

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    9X1, New York, New York, 5c Black, "ACM" Connected, positions 37-40, large margins all around, tied by blue manuscript cancel to folded letter to Fort Wayne, Indiana (paying double the 10c rate), matching blue "20," red "New-York Sep 13" cds and "Paid" in arc, vertical file-fold affects second stamp, still Extremely Fine and attractive, one of only four covers bearing a strip of four of the New York Provisional, an outstanding gem in every regard (Scott $100,000)

    In August of 1980, Philip T. Wall wrote an article in the Chronicle (Vol. 32, No. 3) detailing the five most outstanding New York Provisional covers known to him. Obvious choices were the Hasbrouck cover bearing a block of nine and strip of three, and the "MMJr." pair on cover to Bethany, Virginia. Wall, an admitted fan of multiple-rate covers, chose the three covers bearing strips of four that were known to him at the time to round out his top five.

    Provenance: John F. Seybold (Purple handstamp on reverse)

    O.S. Hart (Private Transaction)

    Henry C. Gibson (Ward Sale 12, 1944)

    Start Price : 20,000.00 USD
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    Lot# : 4 Postmasters Provisionals

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    9X1b, New York, New York, 5c Black, Signed "A.C.M.," position 23, three large margins to clear at top, cancelled by blue pen strokes, red "New-York 5 cts. 30 Aug" cds with matching "Paid" in arc on 1845 folded letter to London, endorsed "per Boston Steamer," ms. "1/-" due rating, Very Fine, a choice example of the scarce "A.C.M." signature with periods, particularly on a cover sent overseas, 1993 Philatelic Foundation certificate does not accompany (Scott $2,750)

    From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 6, 1859:

    Mr. Charles Mortimer Leupp, for many years well known as a prominent leather merchant, doing business at No. 20 Ferry street, committed suicide last evening at his residence, No. 33 Madison avenue, by shooting himself through the heart. Mr. Leupp, for six or eight years past, has been afflicted with occasional fits of depression, and for eight months past has been at times deranged. His friends were adopting measures to place him under restraint. An inquest was held this morning by Coroner Sherman, and a verdict in accordance with the facts was rendered. Deceased was 53 years of age, and there was nothing in his domestic, social, or business relations to have induced the commission of the act.

    Mr. Leupp has a magnificent mansion on Madison Park—full of pictures and works of art—and was considered one of our most promising and cultivated men. His deplorable death will be deeply felt by a very wide circle of personal friends.

    Mr. Leupp has been a widower for some years. He leaves an interesting family of children. His deceased wife was the daughter of the late Gideon Lee.

    Provenance: Rarities of the World (R.A. Siegel Sales 800 and 837, 1998 and 2001)

    Start Price : 1,500.00 USD
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