Sale 1022 — The D.K. Collection of Southern Postmasters' Provisionals
Sale Date — Wednesday, 28 March, 2012
Category — Danville, Virginia
EXTREMELY FINE. ONE OF THE FINEST KNOWN EXAMPLES OF THE DANVILLE, VIRGINIA, PRESS-PRINTED PROVISIONAL ENVELOPE ISSUED BY POSTMASTER WILLIAM B. PAYNE.
The Danville post office issued provisional adhesive and press-printed envelopes in close proximity. William D. Coleman, editor of the Democratic Appeal newspaper, had been Danville's postmaster from September 14, 1860, to March 12, 1861. William B. Payne was appointed by the U.S. Post Office on March 12, 1861, but he served a very short term (Richard L. Calhoun, The Confederate Postmaster Provisionals of Virginia). Coleman enlisted in the army, but served only a few months before he was asked to replace Payne as Danville's Confederate postmaster. Coleman was officially appointed on August 2, 1861, but his recollection was that he took over in October 1861 (Crown book, pages 85-87).
The press-printed provisional envelopes bear Payne's name, and the adhesive bears Coleman's name. Coleman stated that his stamps were printed at the offices of the Democratic Appeal. Philatelic authors have reported that the envelopes were also printed at the newspaper offices, but no proof of that claim has been offered. Postmaster Payne also sold handstamped envelopes with his initials.
The press-printed envelopes are among the most unusual of all Postmasters' Provisionals. A stock typographic engraving was used with loose type set inside the blank oval. The illustration depicts a shoe fitting for an Antebellum lady. She is seated, while another woman kneels before her with shoe in hand, and a gentleman stands over her, also holding a shoe. It is reported that this engraving was used in advertisements for ladies' shoes and boots. Another unusual feature of this provisional is the use of the slogan "Southern Confederacy" in addition to the post office and postmaster names, and the denomination. The word "Southern" is set in either a nearly straight line or slightly curved line.
The envelopes were printed with two different denominations: the 5c in Black, and the 10c in Red. The 5c envelopes properly used as provisionals are datestamped in July, August and early September. None of the 10c press-printed envelopes has been found properly used in that period. Both the 5c and 10c envelopes are found with later dates, sometimes with General Issue stamps affixed for postage (or removed), but these envelopes were used as stationery and not as provisional postage.
The Calhoun census lists 24 envelopes, but nearly half are not proper provisional uses (either lacking a Danville postmark or used with adhesive postage). There are only eleven or twelve properly used and postmarked envelopes (all 5c). The classification of Buff versus Amber is also questionable, and we think it is quite probable that all of the genuine July-September envelopes are more or less the same shade of Dark Buff (21XU3).
Ex Emerson, Caspary (where described as "probably the finest known"), Lilly and Dr. Simon