EXTREMELY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF THE MADISON COURT HOUSE, FLORIDA, POSTMASTER'S 3-CENT PROVISIONAL STAMP USED ON COVER. AN EXTRAORDINARY 1861 PROVISIONAL WITH UNITED STATES RATE, USED FROM THE CONFEDERATE STATE OF FLORIDA TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THIS IS THE EARLIEST DATE OF ANY PROVISIONAL USED IN THE CONFEDERACY.
The Madison Court House Provisional has been the subject of three definitive articles by Patricia A. Kaufmann. The first appeared in the American Philatelist and the Confederate Philatelist. It can be found, with updates, at https://www.trishkaufmann.com/madison.php . Her most recent article, exhaustively tracing provenance of all known examples, is in the Confederate Philatelist No. 404, pp. 12-29. We commend both articles to bidders' attention.
Samuel J. Perry (1810-1898) was the pre-war U.S. Postmaster and Civil War Confederate Postmaster at Madison, Florida. His many years of military and public service included service in the Seminole Indian War, a judgeship of the county court of Madison, tax collector, election clerk and surveyor. At the age of 75, he was elected superintendent of education. Among his five children was eldest son William, who printed the Madison Postmaster's Provisionals as the editor and publisher of The Southern Messenger. Another son, Captain Thomas A. Perry, was a doctor who fought in the Civil War and was killed during the Battle of Seven Pines.
The Madison Provisional is one of seven issues that the Scott Catalogue now lists separately as "3c 1861 Postmasters' Provisionals". They are distinct from the 5c and 10c Confederate Provisionals in that the postmasters who issued the stamps were still technically under the control of the U.S. Post Office Department, and were remitting postal receipts to the Department (and were avoiding ordering new U.S. stamps in anticipation of a final change in administrative control of their offices). The 1861 Provisionals are all 3c adhesives or handstamps, reflecting the then-current U.S. letter rate. One of the recorded Madison Court House examples bears a manuscript "(P)aid in (Money)" in the handwriting of Postmaster Samuel J. Perry.
Only six examples of Scott 3AX1 are recorded, including four with the normal "CENTS" spelling (one is known only from an old photocopy at The Philatelic Foundation), the unique "CNETS" error offered in the following lot, and the only recorded on-cover example, offered here. There is also the unique Madison 5c Provisional press-printed entire, listed in the regular C.S.A. Provisional section (137XU1, see Sale 1153, lot 2095). This unique cover with the Madison 3c provisional, and its dated contents -- February 13, 1861 -- place it within nine days of the formation of the seven original Confederate States, which included Florida. It is the earliest of all Postmasters' Provisionals used in the Confederate States.
Ex Dr. Gaius M. Brumbaugh (who discovered the cover), Avery, Duveen, Hind, Caspary, Kaufmann, Gross and Dr. Briggs. Small "W.H.C." mark of Warren H. Colson at lower right. With 1996 C.S.A. certificate.