EXTREMELY FINE. THE FINEST SINGLE FRANKING AMONG THE SEVEN RECORDED COVERS BEARING THE LIVINGSTON PROVISIONAL, A STRIKING PICTORIAL STAMP THAT DEPICTS THE SOUTHERN SHIELD AND ALLEGORICAL FIGURES.
Livingston is the county seat of Sumter County, Alabama, lying on the Selma and Meriden Railroad line about 130 miles north of Mobile, near the state's western border. Official records name Stephen W. Murley as the Livingston postmaster in 1861, while other sources attribute the provisional stamp to another postmaster, Robert F. Houston. The Livingston provisional is known used in November-December 1861 and again in March 1862.
Our records contain a total of 11 stamps, including the famous and unique pair on cover (Nov. 12, 1861), 6 singles on separate covers (1861--Nov. 15, Nov. 15, Nov. 25, Dec. 10; 1862--Mar. 17 and Mar. 21), and 3 off-cover stamps. One of the single frankings, a corner-margin stamp (Nov. 25 date, ex Caspary, Antrim and Cole), was severely damaged through negligent restoration. The other four single-franked covers are attractive, but none equals the offered cover's condition. Stanley B. Ashbrook described this item as "really a superb cover and the finest Livingston that I have ever seen." (Stamp Specialist, Black Book, 1945)
Only two Confederate post offices, Livingston and Mobile, issued stamps with a pictorial design. It is almost certain that the same printer was responsible for both, whose imprint "W. R. Robertson Mobile" appears on the Mobile lithographic stones. The composition of the Livingston plate is not known, but a pane of 20 subjects may be reasonably conjectured.
This cover is offered in the open market for the first time ever. It was purchased privately by Harold C. Brooks, and when the Brooks collection was dispersed, this Livingston (one of two owned by Brooks) was sold privately to A. Earl Weatherly. In 1963 the Kilbournes purchased the cover directly from Weatherly.