FRESH AND VERY FINE. ONE OF TWO RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE OAKWAY PROVISIONAL STAMP -- BOTH ON COVERS TO THE SAME ADDRESSEE -- THIS BEING THE EARLIER DATE AND THE ONLY ONE TIED BY THE CANCELLATION.
Jobbery Sanders was appointed postmaster of Oakway, South Carolina, in 1858 and continued as the town's Confederate postmaster. Oakway's population in 1861 was only 200, and the volume of mail was too small to justify a wood or metal cancelling device, so Postmaster Sanders simply postmarked mail by hand. His primitive handstamped adhesive provisional stamps were probably short-lived and used on a very limited basis prior to the arrival of General Issue postage.
The Oakway provisional stamp was discovered as early as 1907, but only since 1975 has it received Scott Catalogue recognition. Research by the late Daniel T. Gilbert, who owned the other Oakway cover (dated Oct. 9, 1861, ex Worthington), provided the historical evidence validating the provisional stamp. Soon after the Worthington-Gilbert cover was certified as genuine by The Philatelic Foundation, the September 18 ex-Ferrary cover was submitted for certification by the Weills on behalf of the owner, the Rev. Paul B. Freeland. The September 18 cover offered here has the "W.H.C." mark of Warren H. Colson, the preeminent dealer of the first half of the 20th century. The cover was in Colson's stock at the time of his death in 1963 and was acquired by the Weills; however, its existence was not widely known until 1976.
Mr. Gilbert established the validity of the Oakway provisional by traveling to South Carolina in 1974 and meeting J. B. Sanders, the postmaster's grandson, who was 95 at the time. Sanders immediately recognized his grandfather's writing and remembered him saying that he made up his own stamps before supplies of regular stamps arrived. Details of Gilbert's findings were published in the Confederate Philatelist (September-October 1975), and news of the second cover (offered here) appeared in the November-December 1976 issue of the same publication.
Ex Ferrary, Colson, Freeland, Dr. Graves and Birkinbine