EXTREMELY FINE. ONE OF THE FINEST OF THE FIVE RECORDED COVERS BEARING THE RHEATOWN POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL.
The 5c provisional stamps issued by Postmaster D. Pence were printed by the same printer who produced the Tellico Plains Tenn. provisional. The June dates recorded for the Rheatown suggest that it came first, and the postmaster's own recollections place the issue in "midsummer 1861" (see Crown book, p. 307). Although dated examples show usage into April 1862, a relatively long period of time, the issue is extremely rare.
The same basic type form containing three subjects was used for the Rheatown and Tellico Plains Tenn. provisionals. For the Rheatown, all three were 5c denominations. The inside border at the top of each stamp is made up of seven ornaments; the unique arrangement of the ornaments in each subject enables philatelists to identify the position of any stamp.
Our records contain at least a half-dozen off-cover examples the Rheatown 5c, including an unused pair, the only known multiple. The five covers and one dated piece we record are as follows (in chronological order, type identified): 1) Jun. 20 (1861), Ty. II, cover to Lt. D. R. Wilson, ex Kilbourne (Siegel Sale 815, lot 142, realized $15,000 hammer); 2) Jun. 30 (1861), Ty. I, small cover, faint address, Siegel 1984 Rarities sale; 3) Feb. 8 (1862), Ty. III, lady's embossed cover to Eliz. Devault, the only tied example, ex Caspary, Gallagher; 4) Feb. 13 (1862), Ty. II, on piece (upper half of cover), ex Steves, Crown book; 5) Feb. 15 (1862), Ty. I, cover to David Cleage, cds struck twice, ex Caspary; and 6) Apr. 9 (1862), Ty. II, cover to Mrs. Wm. Brown, ex MacBride, Freeland, Siegel 1982 Rarities sale, the cover offered here.
Ex MacBride and Freeland