VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN FREE FRANK FROM HIS TERM AS DEPUTY POSTMASTER GENERAL FOR THE COLONIES IN AMERICA.
In 1753, Franklin was appointed Deputy Postmaster General for the Colonies in America. He had met the recipient of this letter in 1754 while visiting his family in Boston and had kept up a correspondence with her. In the spring of 1763, some months after sending this letter, Franklin embarked on a six-month tour to inspect his postal domain. While traveling through Rhode Island, he fell and injured his shoulder. Fortunately, Katherine Green and her husband, William, lived close by, and Franklin was able to recover there. Later, when fighting broke out in Boston, Franklin's sister, Jane Mecom, took refuge with Mrs. Green.
Accompanied by a transcript of the letter that originally accompanied this cover (now in the possession of the American Philosophical Society).
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A HIGHLY DESIRABLE FORM OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S FREE FRANK WITH THE "B. FREE FRANKLIN" SYNTAX. THIS MAIL WAS SENT TO HIS WIFE FROM ENGLAND AND CARRIED FREE OF PACKET CHARGES AND INTERNAL POSTAGE.
This was most likely mailed in 1772, during Franklin's residence in London. With 1983 Charles Hamilton certificate.
FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXTREMELY RARE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN FREE FRANK AS POSTMASTER GENERAL OF THE CONTINENTAL POST WITH THE "B. FREE FRANKLIN" SYNTAX USED LESS THAN ONE MONTH AFTER THE SIGNING OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
On July 26, 1775, the Continental Congress established the position of Postmaster General of the United Colonies and appointed Benjamin Franklin to the post. Slightly less than a year later, the Declaration of Independence was signed. He left for his historic trip to France shortly after this letter was mailed. Examples of Franklin's signature as Continental Postmaster General are extremely rare in any form, and this could be the only free frank in private hands.
Ex E. N. Sampson.
A VERY RARE EXAMPLE OF THIS SIGNER'S SIGNATURE AND POSSIBLY THE ONLY FREE FRANK IN PRIVATE HANDS.
This style of Philadelphia straightline is recorded from June 26, 1776, to August 12, 1777. The British occupied Philadelphia from September 26, 1777, until June 18, 1778, during which time the Congress met at Lancaster (one day only) and York (Town), Pennsylvania. Use of this postal marking in September points to a 1776 year date.
Ex Stevens (Siegel Sale 556, realized $5,250) and illustrated in his article on free franks of the Continental Congress, ex Grunin (Siegel Sale 750, realized $6,250)
VERY FINE. A SCARCE AND DESIRABLE FREE FRANK FROM JOHN HANCOCK DURING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR.
This cover to the Commander of the French fleet at Newport would have been sent during the second half of 1780 or in early 1781.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE JOHN HANCOCK FREE FRANK AS PRESIDENT OF THE THIRD CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, THE ONLY CONGRESS TO BE CONVENED IN BALTIMORE.
After the retreat of the Continental army through New Jersey, Congress was apprehensive of an attack on Philadelphia and adjourned on December 12 to meet later in Baltimore, from December 20, 1776, to March 4, 1777. This cover was franked and sent during that time period.
VERY FINE. A SCARCE AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY FRANCIS HOPKINSON, SIGNER FROM NEW JERSEY, WITH A "PUBLIC SERVIVE" ENDORSEMENT.
This letter was carried by military courier ("P. Wm. Alricks") and therefore bears no postal markings. Ex Hart.
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE SIGNER'S FREE FRANK AND POSSIBLY THE ONLY EXAMPLE IN PRIVATE HANDS.
Francis Lightfoot Lee served with his two brothers, Richard Henry Lee and Henry Lee, the former also having signed the Declaration of Independence. Autograph letters of Francis Lightfoot Lee are very scarce. This rare free frank is especially desirable with the 1776 year of Independence date.
A FINE AND RARE FREE FRANK ON AN AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY RICHARD HENRY LEE TO PATRICK HENRY, TWO GREAT PATRIOTS OF THE AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.
The year in which this letter was written -- 1777 -- saw a number of defeats for the Continental Army, but ultimately it was a turning point in the war when British General Burgoyne surrendered to Horatio Gates at Saratoga. At the time this letter was written, Lee was participating in the Third Continental Congress convened in Baltimore, the only Congress ever held in that city.
VERY FINE. THIS IS BELIEVED TO BE ONE OF ONLY TWO RECORDED FREE FRANKS OF WILLIAM WILLIAMS, A SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. A RARE FRANK FROM THE YEAR OF INDEPENDENCE.
Williams was elected to the Continental Congress in 1776. He voted for Independence, signed the Declaration, and was then appointed a member of the committee to frame the Articles of Confederation. In 1777 he was appointed to the Board of War. After the war, he attended the Hartford convention, where Connecticut ratified the Federal Constitution. The cover offered here was sent just one month after Independence Day. The other recorded usage was offered in our Grunin sale (Sale 750, lot 15).