EXTREMELY FINE. THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF THE CHARLESTON 10-CENT PRESS-PRINTED PALMETTO TREE ENTIRE, USED IN JULY 1862 DURING A SHORTAGE OF CONFEDERATE GENERAL ISSUES.
This Palmetto Tree design is unique among Confederate postmasters' provisionals, although the symbol was also used on the unissued 10c adhesive stamp prepared for the Charleston postmaster, Alfred Huger. On this entire - the sole surviving example - the woodcut is printed in a dark blue identical in shade and consistency to the 5c woodcut provisional issued in 1861. The circular datestamp is struck at the center of the upper half of the entire, a position consistent with virtually all recorded genuine examples of the earlier 5c entire. Charleston did not have a separate cancelling device and used the datestamp to cancel adhesive stamps; therefore, the position of the datestamp on this entire confirms the presence of the printed provisional at upper right and precludes any possibility that an adhesive was removed.
The first provisionals used in Charleston were the press-printed 5c envelopes issued in August 1861 (eku Aug. 16) and used consistently until the estimated 5,000 prepared were sold out in November 1861 (lku Nov. 12). Approximately 25,000 5c adhesive stamps were produced and placed on sale as early as September 1861 (eku Sep. 4). Both provisionals were used concurrently with the handstamped "Paid" markings, but the surcharge on the price of provisionals made these less popular with the public. When Confederate General Issues were finally received and put on sale at the Charleston post office on December 7, 1861, the large number of 5c provisionals still on hand was withdrawn, although letters franked with the provisionals were still accepted as prepaid.
In June 1862 the supply of 5c General Issues available at the Charleston post office was evidently diminished, and Postmaster Huger authorized the renewed sale of provisional adhesive stamps. 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 the shortage of General Issues. Charleston covers are recorded in early July 1862 with the 5c Blue Lithograph (Scott 4) or 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 5th cover with a combination of the 5c De La Rue stamp and 5c provisional for the 10c rate.
The press-printed entire must be viewed in the context of the above-outlined events and circumstances. It was almost certainly issued in anticipation of the July 1862 rate change and in response to the shortage of General Issues. The 10c press-printed entire's great rarity is probably due to the arrival of 10c Rose Lithograph 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. The total absence of unused 10c entires from the original printing is consistent with other Charleston provisionals, which were probably destroyed when the post office was moved in August 1863, following the shelling of Charleston by Union forces on Morris Island.
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. Two pre-war covers from Pendleton and Greenville C.H., South Carolina, together with Dr. Peters' original notes, are included in this lot. The cover was offered in the 1949 auction of the Peters collection, at which time it was not listed in the Scott Catalogue. A letter from Stanley B. Ashbrook, dated November 19, 1949, is also included and affirms Ashbrook's opinion that the unique entire is genuine.
We regard this entire as one of the most important and distinctive of all Confederate postmasters' provisionals, by virtue of its extreme rarity, its Palmetto Tree design, and as one of the few 10c provisionals issued east of the Mississippi after the July 1862 rate change. There are sixteen unique Confederate postmasters' provisional adhesives (A) or press-printed entires (E); the others are from Austin Miss. (E), Beaumont Tex. (A - large 10c type), Bridgeville Ala. (A - pair), Fincastle Va. (E), Franklin N.C. (E), Hallettsville Tex. (A), Hillsboro N.C. (A), Jetersville Va. (A - pair), Kingston Tenn. (E), Knoxville Tenn. (A - 10c), Mt. Lebanon La. (A), New Smyrna Fla. (A), Port Lavaca Tex. (A), Rutherfordton N.C. (A) and Salisbury N.C. (E - damaged).
Ex Dr. Peters. Information on Charleston post office and provisional issues derived mostly from research published by Richard Calhoun and unpublished Levi records. Listed but unpriced in Scott and Dietz