EXTREMELY FINE. A SUPERB STAMP ON AN IMMACULATE COVER. VERY FEW EXAMPLES OF THE 1847 ISSUE USED FROM CANADA ARE KNOWN WITH THE CANADIAN 7-RING TARGET CANCEL. THIS COVER IS ONE OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING ITEMS FROM THE HALL COLLECTION.
This cover and another cover from the E. D. Morgan correspondence show similar use of the 10c 1847 Issue from Montreal after demonetization of the issue on July 1, 1851. Supplies of the 1847 Issue sent to Canada could be redeemed through September 30, 1851; however, not all stamps were redeemed, and some were used after demonetization. Although no longer valid on mail posted within the United States, the stamps on mail from Canada to the U.S. seem to have been accepted, as each of the five post-demonetization 1847 covers from Canada (recorded by Hart) has the New York post office "Paid" marking and no indication of postage due. The latest use of 1847's from Canada is an April 6, 1853, cover from Quebec with the 5c 1847. According to Creighton C. Hart, the demonetization order was "not binding on residents of Canada", which appears to be empirically true (reference: C. C. Hart, Chronicle, November 1973).
The red italicized "Paid" on this folded letter is covered by the stamp. Obviously, the "Paid" was applied before the stamp was affixed. How could the stamp be placed on the letter after it was marked "Paid" by the Montreal postal clerk? First we should review some of the physical evidence that explains the usage. The red ink of the "Paid" bleeds through to the face of the stamp, most noticeably on Washington's cheek, to the right of his nose. This evidence indicates that the stamp was applied almost immediately after the red "Paid", which was still moist. The impression of the outer ring of the 7-ring target can be seen on the inside of the lettersheet, which indicates that the stamp was in that exact spot when it was cancelled. The absence of any Canadian rate marking or New York due marking proves that postage was considered prepaid when the letter arrived at the New York post office; if there was no stamp, there would a "6d" prepaid rate marking. Under ultraviolet light, there is a white ghost outline of the 10c stamp visible on the lettersheet beneath the stamp (when the upper left corner is gently lifted), which also provides evidence that this is the original franking and not a replacement for a Canadian stamp.
The best explanation for this usage is that a stack of letters was brought to the post office, and the receiving clerk marked each one "Paid" in expectation of receiving cash or charging postage to the sender's post office box account (as was done for many of the surviving letters from this correspondence). The Bank of Montreal employee who brought the mail then turned over one or more United States 1847 stamps and requested the clerk to honor them as prepayment. Presumably aware that the addressee, D. S. Kennedy, was the Canadian government's fiscal agent in the United States, the clerk was accommodating. However, he hedged his accommodation by affixing the stamp over the "Paid" marking, cancelling it and letting the New York City post office decide whether or not to accept the 10c stamp as prepayment. In the final result, New York accepted the stamp and marked the letter with its distinctive "Paid" arc.
Ex Gibson (where acquired by the Halls thru Ezra D. Cole). Written up in Ashbrook's Special Service (p. 656).