EXTREMELY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED COVER SHOWING USE OF THE LIBERTY 5-CENT PROVISIONAL STAMP FROM SALEM, VIRGINIA. ONLY TWO OTHER EXAMPLES OF THIS RARITY ARE KNOWN, BOTH USED FROM LIBERTY.
The simple typeset provisional stamps known on covers from Liberty (Jul. 7 and Jul. 10 -- see lot 55) and Salem (Dec. 6) are identical and were evidently made by impressing printer's type by hand onto a sheet of paper. Salem, home to Roanoke College, had an active post office during the Confederate period. Liberty was located east of Salem on the Norfolk & Western Railroad line between Lynchburg and Salem. The use of the same stamp at two post offices seems to us to be linked to railway activity. Two other stampless Liberty covers are known, one of which had a coin attached to pay postage. It is likely that the provisional stamps were available briefly to persons who sent their letters to the Liberty (or Salem) offices from outlying areas, as a means to indicate prepayment in the absence of coins or government stamps.
Ex Worthington, Caspary and Lilly (where acquired by the Kilbournes)