VERY FINE. THIS IS ONE OF THE EARLIEST ADAMS EXPRESS COMPANY SOUTH-TO-NORTH THRU-THE-LINES USAGES AFTER JUNE 1, 1861.
On June 15 the American Letter Express Co. was the first to advertise its thru-the-lines service. On June 22 the Adams Express Co. and M. D. Whiteside advertised their competing express services. Express covers carried across the lines by these companies prior to the first advertisements are evidence that service pre-dated the announced commencement dates.
This cover is such proof. It was mailed from Nashville on June 15 and datestamped by the Nashville post office and by Adams Nashville office on the same day. This is one full week before the June 22 commencement date advertised by Adams. Obviously, Adams was moving letters between Louisville and Nashville earlier than announced in their North-South express ads. We also have record of a cover addressed to Louisville with the Adams Vicksburgh Miss. office oval dated June 11.
On the cover offered here, the 5c C.S.A. postage was paid in Nashville, but the U.S. 3c entire was considered invalid by the Federal post office. At this early date, there must have been some confusion about how to prepay U.S. postage once the letter crossed the lines. In this case, it was determined to be unpaid and sent to the U.S. Dead Letter Office.
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE COMBINATION OF ADAMS EXPRESS OFFICE MARKINGS -- NEW YORK TO NASHVILLE TO KNOXVILLE -- FOR THRU-THE-LINES EXPRESS SERVICE TO LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA.
Only a few covers are recorded with this combination of Adams office markings, which were applied in transit entirely outside the U.S. and Confederate postal systems. Adams also had the option of placing letters into the Nashville post office for delivery by regular Confederate mails.
The Adams Knoxville oval is extremely rare, and collectors should be aware that a number of clever fakes were handled by John A. Fox, some of which have never been properly identified (these fakes bear the David Cleage address, a known correspondence). Perhaps the rarity of the Knoxville oval is appreciated less because of the circulating fakes.
Ex Knapp, Solomon and Gallagher.
VERY FINE. ONLY A FEW THRU-THE-LINES EXPRESS COVERS ARE KNOWN WITH THE 20-CENT DOUBLE CONFEDERATE RATE.
Ex Wiseman. With 1982 P.F. certificate
FINE APPEARANCE. A VERY RARE DOUBLE-RATE THRU-THE-LINES EXPRESS USAGE.
FINE. A RARE CIVIL WAR EXPRESS USAGE WITH A CONFEDERATE POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL ADHESIVE.
There is no indication of this cover's origin, but it is probably a thru-the-lines express usage via Adams Express Company's office in Memphis.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXTREMELY RARE EXAMPLE OF A CONFEDERATE POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL USED OUTSIDE OF THE REGULAR CONFEDERATE MAILS. ONLY A FEW 5-CENT MEMPHIS EXPRESS COVERS ARE KNOWN.
The cover was entrusted to the Southern Express Co.'s Memphis office for delivery to Columbia Tenn., which lies east of Memphis. It travelled northeast to Nashville, then south to Columbia, accompanied by a Southern Express Co. agent along connecting railroad lines. Independent expresses were often used to carry valuable mail. Express covers involving Confederate postage of any kind are scarce, and those with Postmasters' Provisionals are very rare.
EXTREMELY FINE. AN OUTSTANDING CONFEDERATE EXPRESS MONEY-LETTER USAGE CARRIED OUTSIDE THE MAILS.
The threat of war forced Adams Express Company's directors to protect their assets by selling all offices in seceded states to Henry B. Plant on April 8, 1861, who reorganized them as the Southern Express Company. Several Adams offices continued to use the Adams-named markings until Southern Express Co. markings were produced. This cover shows the scarce Adams Knoxville office datestamp in conjunction with the "Paid 10" to indicate that Confederate postage had been paid, as required on all express mail. The sender used the correct "Southern Express" title in the route instruction.
There was no registered mail in the Confederate postal system, and valuable letters were entrusted to private express companies. Examples are scarce, and those with the early oval markings are extremely rare.