VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXTREMELY RARE AND SPECTACULAR USE OF THE ATLANTA PROVISIONAL HANDSTAMP ON A SOUTH-TO-NORTH EXPRESS COVER.
Very few covers are recorded with Confederate provisional stamps or markings used in conjunction with thru-the-lines express service. This group includes the provisionals of Atlanta (handstamp), Houston (handstamp), Lynchburg (press-printed entire - see lot 72), Memphis (adhesive), Mobile (adhesive), Montgomery (handstamp - see lot 73), Nashville (adhesive and handstamp - see lot 74) and New Orleans (adhesive). We believe there are three express covers with the Atlanta provisional, all 5c rates.
THE ONLY RECORDED EXAMPLE OF THE LYNCHBURG POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL - ADHESIVE OR ENVELOPE - USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THRU-THE-LINES EXPRESS SERVICE.
The Lynchburg provisional envelope was used primarily in June 1861, while most thru-the-lines express covers were carried in July and August. This timing created little opportunity for the Lynchburg provisional envelope to be used in connection with an express service. The cover offered here is the only known example of such usage.
The Lynchburg postmaster, R. H. Glass, was one of the first to issue printed provisional postage, as opposed to handstamped markings, after the Confederate postal system started on June 1, 1861. Fewer than twenty Lynchburg press-printed entires are known, the earliest date of which is June 4; the latest is September 4, but most dated examples are clustered in June. The Lynchburg envelope's June 4 eku is preceded only by the Macon Ga. 5c provisional stamp's June 1 eku, which is based on a cover with an uncancelled stamp.
This thru-the-lines cover raises a number of intriguing questions. The first is whether the Confederate post office or Adams Express carried this mail from Lynchburg to Knoxville. According to contemporary announcements and the list of offices in Brooks (American Letter Express Company) and Shenfield (C.S.A. The Special Postal Routes), Adams did not maintain (or advertise) an office in Lynchburg, so one would assume that this cover entered the mails there and was delivered to Adams in Knoxville by the post office. If so, why is there no Lynchburg postmark? A survey of early Lynchburg provisionals reveals that the post office did not always cancel the envelopes. Therefore, even in the absence of a Lynchburg circular datestamp, this cover could have been sent by mail to Knoxville.
If the originating post office actually conveyed northbound express mail to the nearest Adams office in another city, then how did Adams receive its share of the express fee paid by the sender? This question applies generally to any northbound express covers from locations where Adams reportedly did not maintain or advertise an office - specifically, Lynchburg Va., Richmond Va. and Montgomery Ala. [Dietz lists a Montgomery marking, but we have no other record of one, nor is Montgomery listed among the offices identified in Brooks and Shenfield].
One other South-to-North Adams cover from Lynchburg is known to us (see lot 54). It also has the express payment indicated in manuscript and a "Paid 10" C.S.A. rate - handstamped at Lynchburg for postage to Nashville, a distance exceeding 500 miles. The Richmond and Montgomery covers also have "Paid 10" markings and prepaid express charges. These covers were mailed at their respective post offices and delivered to Adams through the Confederate mails. Therefore, a procedure must have been in place for the post office to keep its share of the 25c fee for postage and, at the same time, convey the balance to Adams for continuing service north. We know of no documentation or research to explain the relationship between the Confederate post offices in these cities and the express companies to whom they delivered northbound thru-the-lines mail.
In the case of this cover, 5c paid the correct C.S.A. rate between Lynchburg and Knoxville. The "Paid 2/" indicates prepayment of the 25c Adams fee, which included the 5c postage retained by the Lynchburg post office. The "9" after "2/" appears to be one of the codes used by Adams agents - another aspect of the express operations that has not been fully explained, to our knowledge.
Because Frankfort was still part of the Federal postal system in June 1861, this cover should also have had 3c U.S. postage. At one time an uncancelled 3c 1857 stamp was affixed to the left of the Adams oval, but it was deemed to be a non-contemporary enhancement and was removed (the loose stamp is included with the cover). The absence of a Louisville Federal postmark indicates that Adams carried the cover to Frankfort and by-passed the U.S. post office - perhaps they by-passed Louisville altogether.
In common with lot 33 and a few other known covers, this example also pre-dates the June 22 commencement date advertised by Adams and is further evidence that thru-the-lines expresses were active immediately after the June 8 (or 10) suspension of mails to and from Nashville. This is not surprising, considering that these offices existed before the war and provided safe conveyance of goods and valuables.
A fascinating cover and significant relic for further challenging research. Ex Rosenberg
ATTRACTIVE AND EXTREMELY RARE USE OF MONTGOMERY PROVISIONAL HANDSTAMP ON SOUTH-TO-NORTH EXPRESS COVER WITH DOUBLE-RATE UNITED STATES FRANKING.
With 1990 P.F. certificate
ONE OF THREE RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE NASHVILLE PROVISIONAL HANDSTAMP USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THRU-THE-LINES EXPRESS SERVICE.
North-to-South covers carried by American Letter Express Co. are very rare, and those put into the mails at Nashville usually have the "Paid" straightline in combination with "5" or "10" rate handstamps. This and two other covers (see Sale 795, lots 109-110) are all that we record with the Nashville provisional marking.
Illustrated in Brooks American Letter Express Company