VERY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL TIED EXAMPLE OF THE RARE "W. H. LAW" METROPOLITAN POST OFFICE STAMP, OF WHICH ONLY SEVEN COVERS ARE RECORDED.
The Metropolitan Post Office (a private post despite the name) is believed to have been established just prior to January 1854 by Lemuel Williams, whose abbreviated name "L. Williams" and 162 Ninth Street address appear on the first octagonal stamp (108L1). Curiously, Williams is never identified with the Metropolitan Post Office nor any mail operation in the city directories. The 1854-55 and 1855-56 directories list William H. Laws as proprietor of the "Post Office" at 13 Bible House, which was located across from Williams' address. The 1856-59 directories list Laws at the same address, but the name "Metropolitan Post Office" is used. In 1859 Laws is listed with the business "Books", which suggests the end of his involvement with the post. A trade directory links Williams and Laws in a partnership at 162 Ninth Street. (Reference: Patton book, p. 228, and Perry correspondence).
Although undated, it is our opinion that this cover could not have been mailed any earlier than 1856, based on the use of the "Metropolitan P.O." and "Paid/W. H. Laws" markings, as well as the worn impression of the 108L3 stamp. We record a total of seven covers with 108L3 (updated from our Golden sale), including six local usages with identical markings.