EXTREMELY FINE. THIS IS THE UNIQUE CHARLESTON 10-CENT PRESS-PRINTED PALMETTO TREE PROVISIONAL ENVELOPE, USED DURING A SHORTAGE OF CONFEDERATE GENERAL ISSUES.
After graduation from Princeton University, Alfred Huger returned to Charleston to run his plantation. Huger received his postmaster appointment from President Andrew Jackson on December 19, 1834, and he served until Federal occupation in February 1865. Huger was postmaster in July 1835 when sacks of mail containing abolitionist literature from the North were burned by a pro-slavery mob. After the war Huger declined President Andrew Johnson's offer of reappointment as a U.S. postmaster.
Huger issued press-printed typographic provisional envelopes in the summer of 1861, probably close to the earliest known date of August 16 (Calhoun census). The lithographed adhesive provisional stamp followed in early September 1861. Lithography was used by only three postmasters to print provisional stamps (Charleston, Livingston and Mobile). The first supply of Confederate General Issue stamps was placed on sale on December 7, 1861, and the provisionals were withdrawn from sale. However, provisionals purchased by the public prior to withdrawal continued to be used concurrently with the General Issues. In June and July 1862 the Charleston post office ran short of General Issue stamps, and provisionals were re-released. The latest recorded use of a Charleston provisional is dated August 5, 1862, with a mixed franking of the 5c De La Rue Print (Scott 6) and 5c adhesive (Richard L. Calhoun, "Inventory of Charleston, South Carolina, Postmaster Provisionals," Confederate Philatelist, Jan.-Feb. 1989).
It is reported that the stamps and envelopes were printed by the large Charleston-based printing firm of Evans and Cogswell. According to http://www.csa-scla.org : "...Evans & Cogswell Printing Company was retained as printers to the Secession Convention, and daily printed the minutes of the Convention in S.C., and printed the documents that communicated the secession to the other Southern States. The Ordinance of Secession, one of the most fateful and fatal documents in America's history, was lithographed by Evans & Cogswell. During the War Between the States, Evans and Cogswell printed small denomination currency, Government bonds, the Soldier's Prayer Book, books on war tactics, stamps, and medical books for the Confederacy."
This Palmetto Tree design is unique among Southern Postmasters' Provisionals. On this entire -- the sole surviving example -- the woodcut is printed in dark blue, identical in shade and impression to the 5c provisional envelope stamp issued in August 1861. The circular datestamp is struck at the center of the upper half of the entire. Charleston did not have a separate cancelling device and used the datestamp to cancel adhesive stamps; therefore, the position of the complete datestamp on this entire confirms the presence of the printed provisional at upper right and precludes the removal of an adhesive stamp from the envelope.
The first Charleston provisionals were the press-printed 5c envelopes issued in August 1861 and used consistently until the estimated 5,000 prepared were sold out in November 1861 (dates range from August 16 to November 12, 1861). Approximately 25,000 5c adhesive stamps were produced and placed on sale as early as September 1861 (earliest recorded date is September 4). Both provisionals were used concurrently with the handstamped "Paid" markings, but the surcharge on the price of provisionals made the stamps and envelopes less popular with the public. When the General Issues were finally received and put on sale on December 7, 1861, the large number of 5c provisionals still on hand was withdrawn, although they remained valid for prepayment.
In June 1862 the supply of 5c General Issues available at the Charleston post office was running low, and Postmaster Huger authorized the renewed sale of provisionals. More than a dozen examples of the 5c provisional stamp are known used in the months of June, July and August 1862. The handstamped "Paid" marking was also used again briefly in June 1862 after having been previously retired in December 1861. The rate increase from 5c to 10c for any distance became effective July 1, 1862, during this shortage of General Issues. Charleston covers are recorded in early July 1862 with the 5c Blue Lithograph and 10c Rose Lithograph stamps, but these are scarce, indicating that only a small supply of the newer General Issues was available. Further evidence of the shortage is an August 5, 1862, cover with a combination of the 5c De La Rue stamp and 5c provisional for the 10c rate. A supply of press-printed 10c envelopes from an earlier printing was probably released in anticipation of the July 1862 rate change and in response to the shortage of General Issues. The provisional envelope's great rarity is probably due to the arrival of 10c Rose stamps in July 1862, which are found on covers dated July 3, 4, 5 and continuing on with frequency until replaced by the De La Rue and Richmond 5c printings.
This unique example of the 10c Palmetto Tree entire was discovered by the late Dr. Don Preston Peters of Lynchburg, Virginia, in an original correspondence to A. O. Norris at Anderson Court House, South Carolina. Norris was a newspaper publisher and, after the war, a probate judge. The receipt docketing indicates that the sender was J. H. Johnson. There was an ordnance sergeant with the 10th South Carolina Infantry Regiment named J. H. Johnson, who might be the same person.
We regard this entire as one of the most important and distinctive of all Southern Postmasters' Provisionals, by virtue of its extreme rarity, the distinctive Palmetto Tree design, and as one of the few 10c provisionals issued east of the Mississippi.
Ex Dr. Peters, Heathcote, Dr. Graves and Birkinbine. With Ashbrook letter