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Sale 988 — The Steven C. Walske Collection of Civil War Special Routes

Sale Date — Thursday, 27 May, 2010

Category — Southern Letter Unpaid Mail

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
32
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 32, Southern Letter Unpaid MailNew Orleans La., 5c Brown on White (62X3), New Orleans La., 5c Brown on White (62X3)New Orleans La., 5c Brown on White (62X3). First Printing, Positions 39-40 from the bottom right corner of the sheet, full to large margins including huge part of right sheet margin, vertical crease between stamps and slight gum staining, tied by "New Orleans La. (15?) Jun." (1861) circular datestamp, used with 3c Dull Red, Ty. III (26), slightly rounded corner, tied by pencil lines on blue part-printed notice from Octave de Armas, a prominent notary public in New Orleans, dated June 14, 1861, and addressed to James Lester in Eddyville, Kentucky, received at Louisville between June 17 and 25, released on June 25 without Louisville datestamp, full clear strike of "SOUTHN. LETTER UNPAID"%$ two-line handstamp in blue with matching "DUE 3" straightline tying 5c pair, tiny hole in address panel just above the last letter of "Eddyville"

VERY FINE. A MAGNIFICENT "SOUTHERN LETTER UNPAID" COVER FRANKED WITH A COMBINATION OF THE NEW ORLEANS POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL -- USED WITHIN THE FIRST WEEK OF ISSUE -- AND THE UNITED STATES 3-CENT 1857 ISSUE, WHICH WAS REJECTED BY THE LOUISVILLE POST OFFICE. ONLY ONE OTHER SUCH COMBINATION IS RECORDED (OFFERED IN THIS SALE), AND THIS IS THE FINER OF THE TWO. AN IMPORTANT POSTAL HISTORY ARTIFACT FROM SEVERAL PERSPECTIVES.

This folded notice of Protest was dated June 14, 1861, by the notary public in New Orleans, Octave de Armas, and mailed to James Lester in Eddyville, Kentucky. It was probably postmarked at the New Orleans post office on the following day (June 15), but this type of circular datestamp (with large serif letters) is often difficult to read; in this instance, the day of the month is illegible. By the time this letter reached Nashville on or about June 17, the U.S. mail agent had already been withdrawn from the route between Nashville and Louisville (the last regular mail run was on June 12). On June 15, the Nashville postmaster, W. D. McNish, started to forward mail to Louisville by using the American Letter Express Company, who brought the mails across the lines and deposited them in the Louisville post office. This letter was among the first group of mail forwarded by express under this unusual arrangement.

Starting June 13, the Louisville postmaster, Dr. John J. Speed, decided to hold the northbound mail received from Nashville, rather than divert it to the U.S. Dead Letter Office. Speed sent a request to Washington D.C. for instructions on how to handle the mail that was rapidly accumulating. When this letter arrived in Louisville on June 19, it was held until Postmaster Speed received instructions from the U.S. Post Office Department, which were wired on June 24, advising him to "forward letters from the South for the loyal states as unpaid after removing postage stamps..." Since it was impractical to remove stamps from all of the letters (although apparently that was attempted at first), Postmaster Speed created the "Southn. Letter Unpaid" marking to explain to the addressees that the U.S. stamps applied by the senders were invalid for postage. The first group of mail to be released with the "Southn. Letter Unpaid" marking was actually the mail received at Louisville by private express between June 17 and 25, which included the cover offered here. This group was released on June 25, but none of these letters was postmarked with the Louisville datestamp.

There are 29 "Southn. Letter Unpaid" covers recorded in the Special Routes book (No. 25 has been deleted as a fake since publication), only two of which have Confederate State Postmaster Provisional stamps (both New Orleans and both offered in this sale). There is one other New Orleans provisional cover known that was addressed to Louisville, carried by American Letter Express from Nashville, but it bears only the "Due 3" marking and was not marked "Southn. Letter Unpaid" because it was delivered locally in Louisville.

Special Routes Census No. SLU-14. Illustrated in the National Philatelic Museum 1857 Perforation Centennial book and Special Routes (p. 17). Ex Worthington, Caspary, Lightner, Matz, Haas and Ishikawa.

E. 100,000-150,000
85,000
33
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 33, Southern Letter Unpaid MailNew Orleans La., 5c Brown on White (62X3), New Orleans La., 5c Brown on White (62X3)New Orleans La., 5c Brown on White (62X3). First Printing, two singles (Positions 12 and 17), mostly full to large margins (one just touched at top), faint trace of gum staining, tied by "New Orleans La. 22 Jun." (1861) circular datestamp, used with 3c Dull Red, Ty. III (26), pre-use crease, faint toning, small part of bottom right corner clipped, on small black-bordered mourning envelope addressed to William C. Yarnock in Evansville, Indiana, received at Louisville and released on June 25 without Louisville datestamp, partly readable strike of "SOUTHN. LETTER UNPAID"%$ two-line handstamp in blue ties 3c stamp, matching "DUE 3" straightline

FINE. ONE OF TWO RECORDED "SOUTHERN LETTER UNPAID" COVERS FRANKED WITH A COMBINATION OF THE NEW ORLEANS POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL AND THE UNITED STATES 3-CENT 1857 ISSUE, WHICH WAS REJECTED BY THE LOUISVILLE POST OFFICE.

This mourning envelope is addressed to William C. Yarnock, whose unusual surname turns up in a Google search under soldiers enlisted in the Union army from Iowa. This envelope was probably addressed by a relative residing in or travelling through New Orleans. The type of circular datestamp on this cover is often difficult to read, but it appears to be June 22 (1861). When this letter reached Nashville on or about June 25, the U.S. mail agent had already been withdrawn from the route between Nashville and Louisville (the last regular mail run was on June 12). On June 15, the Nashville postmaster, W. D. McNish, started to forward mail to Louisville by using the American Letter Express Company, who brought the mails across the lines and deposited them in the Louisville post office. This letter was in one of the daily mails forwarded by express under this unusual arrangement.

Starting June 13, the Louisville postmaster, Dr. John J. Speed, decided to hold the northbound mail received from Nashville, rather than divert it to the U.S. Dead Letter Office. Speed sent a request to Washington D.C. for instructions on how to handle the mail that was rapidly accumulating. When this letter arrived in Louisville on June 25, Postmaster Speed had received instructions from the U.S. Post Office Department, which were wired on June 24, advising him to "forward letters from the South for the loyal states as unpaid after removing postage stamps..." Since it was impractical to remove stamps from all of the letters (although apparently that was attempted at first), Postmaster Speed created the "Southn. Letter Unpaid" marking to explain to the addressees that the U.S. stamps applied by the senders were invalid for postage. The first group of mail to be released with the "Southn. Letter Unpaid" marking was actually the mail received at Louisville by private express between June 17 and 25, which included the cover offered here. This group was released on June 25, but none of these letters was postmarked with the Louisville datestamp.

There are 29 "Southn. Letter Unpaid" covers recorded in the Special Routes book (No. 25 has been deleted as a fake since publication), only two of which have Confederate State Postmaster Provisional stamps (both New Orleans and both offered in this sale). There is one other New Orleans provisional cover known that was addressed to Louisville, carried by American Letter Express from Nashville, but it bears only the "Due 3" marking and was not marked "Southn. Letter Unpaid" because it was delivered locally in Louisville.

Special Routes Census No. SLU-16. Illustrated in Shenfield Confederate States of America: The Special Postal Routes (p. 8). Ex Richey, Antrim, Shenfield and Simon.

E. 50,000-75,000
26,000
Back to Top
34
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 34, Southern Letter Unpaid MailSOUTHN. LETTER UNPAID, SOUTHN. LETTER UNPAIDSOUTHN. LETTER UNPAID. Blue two-line handstamp, matching "DUE 3" straightline handstamp and "Louisville Jul. 6, 1861" double-circle datestamp on 3c Red on White Star Die entire (U26) addressed to Richard J. Gatling in Indianapolis, Indiana, "Murfreesborough N.C. Jun. 28" circular datestamp with "Paid" and "10" C.S.A. rate handstamps, neat receipt docketing "Jas. H. Gatling, Ans. July 15th 1861", immaculate condition

EXTREMELY FINE. ONE OF THE FINEST OF ALL "SOUTHN. LETTER UNPAID" COVERS AND OF GREAT HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE. SENT BY JAMES HENRY GATLING TO HIS BROTHER, RICHARD JORDAN GATLING, FAMED INVENTOR OF THE "GATLING GUN", WHICH WAS PATENTED IN THE YEAR THIS COVER WAS MAILED.

This cover was mailed in Murfreesborough, North Carolina, on June 28, 1861, by James Henry Gatling to his younger brother, Richard, in Indianapolis. It passed through Nashville and reached Louisville around July 4. Two days later, it was marked with the "Southn. Letter Unpaid" and "Due 3" handstamps, as well as the "Louisville Ky. Jul. 6, 1861" double-circle postmark.

At this time, Richard Gatling was in Indianapolis to establish a business for his new invention, the "Gatling Gun," the first successful machine gun. According to Gatling, he invented the rapid-firing machine gun to reduce the size of armies and, therefore, decrease the number of fatalities due to disease. In 1857, he wrote: "It occurred to me that if I could invent a machine -- a gun -- which could by its rapidity of fire, enable one man to do as much battle duty as a hundred, that it would, to a large extent supersede the necessity of large armies, and consequently, exposure to battle and disease [would] be greatly diminished." After developing and demonstrating a working prototype, in 1862 he founded the Gatling Gun Company in Indianapolis. The first six production guns were destroyed during a fire in December 1862 at the factory where they had been manufactured at Gatling's expense. Undaunted, Gatling arranged for another thirteen to be manufactured at the Cincinnati Type Factory. While General Benjamin F. Butler bought twelve and Admiral David D. Porter bought one, it was not until the end of the war that the U.S. Army officially purchased Gatling guns. In 1870 he sold his patents for the Gatling gun to Colt. Gatling remained president of the Gatling Gun Company until it was fully absorbed by Colt in 1897. The hand-cranked Gatling gun was declared obsolete by the U.S. Army in 1911. [Reference: Wikipedia]

Richard's older brother, James Henry Gatling, began a life-long fascination with flight by observing birds and building kites as a child. Gatling finished building North Carolina's first airplane in 1873. Twin wooden propellers were powered by cranking a handwheel, and more cockpit levers operated the front elevator, vertical rudder, and wings. Using poplar and thin pieces of oak, Gatling built a fuselage and wings light enough to be sustained by muscle power alone. Gatling supposed that once his plane was airborne, the machine wouldn't require as much of his energy. Gatling planned to fly the craft from atop a twelve-foot high platform on his gin mill to a road a mile away, now Highway 258. On a Sunday afternoon in 1873, his farmhands pushed him off the platform while Gatling cranked the handwheel. The plane was aloft only a short distance before Gatling crashed into an elm tree at the edge of his yard. He received minor injuries, but never flew again. His plane was destroyed in a fire in 1905. [Reference: http://www.archives.ncdcr.gov/ffc/Flight/Aviation/James_Henry_Gatling.html]

Special

Routes Census No. SLU-19 (illustrated on p. 15). Illustrated in Ashbrook Special Service (No. 67, Oct. 1956, p. 542, photo 267). Ex Knapp, Kimmell, "Old Oak" and Birkinbine. With 1976 P.F. certificate

E. 20,000-30,000
26,000
Back to Top
35
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 35, Southern Letter Unpaid MailSOUTHN. LETTER UNPAID, SOUTHN. LETTER UNPAIDSOUTHN. LETTER UNPAID. Blue two-line handstamp and "DUE 3" straightline handstamp, both tying 3c Dull Red, Ty. III (26), creased at upper left and a few short perfs, matching "Louisville Ky. Jun. 30" (1861) double-circle datestamp on small cover addressed to Rev. John C. Tate in Bloomfield, Kentucky, manuscript "Milford Texas May 31" postmark (pen lines cancelling stamp)

EXTREMELY FINE. A SUPERB EXAMPLE OF THE "SOUTHN. LETTER UNPAID" MARKING USED TO CANCEL THE UNITED STATES STAMP.

The U.S. May 27 suspension order prohibited post offices from forwarding southbound mail to disloyal Southern states. However, northbound mail continued to be sent via Louisville. Through June 6, northbound mails were forwarded to Louisville from Memphis or Nashville. From June 7 through 12, only the Nashville post office forwarded mail to Louisville, and Louisville continued to forward mail north. With the resignation of W. D. McNish as Nashville's Federal postmaster on June 12 and the withdrawal of the U.S. mail agent from this route, Louisville held the mails still being sent north by the discontinued post office at Nashville. On June 24, Dr. John J. Speed, the postmaster at Louisville, was advised to forward letters from the South to the loyal states after removing postage. With approximately 5,000 such letters accumulating at Louisville by this date, Postmaster Speed employed a more practical means of invalidating postage by creating the "Southn. Letter Unpaid" handstamp. Louisville started marking letters on June 25, but this first group did not have a datestamp. The subsequent group and all of those thereafter have the Louisville circular datestamp (June 27, 28 and 29 being the most common dates). As a matter of record, this is the only recorded "Southn. Letter Unpaid" cover with the June 30 datestamp.

United States postage stamps and stamped envelopes used from the South were regarded as contraband and were refused as prepayment. There are 29 "Southn. Letter Unpaid" covers recorded in the Special Routes book (No. 25 has been deleted as a fake since publication), of which only 13 have the 3c U.S. adhesive stamp used to pay the domestic rate. Two of the 13 are used with the New Orleans provisional (offered in this sale) and one is in the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, leaving only ten 3c 1857 Issue stamped covers with the "Southn. Letter Unpaid" marking. This cover has a very early origin date -- May 31 -- and since it was mailed while the post office in Milford, Texas, was still technically as U.S. post office, there was no Confederate postage paid. Only two "Southn. Letter Unpaid" covers with only U.S. postage are recorded, both dated May 31 from Texas (the other is in the Smithsonian National Postal Museum collection).

Special Routes Census No. SLU-17. Ex Caspary and Kilbourne.

E. 20,000-30,000
50,000
Back to Top
36
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 36, Southern Letter Unpaid MailSOUTHN. LETTER UNPAID, SOUTHN. LETTER UNPAIDSOUTHN. LETTER UNPAID. Blue two-line handstamp ties 3c Dull Red, Ty. III (26), gum toned, matching "DUE 3" straightline handstamp and "Louisville Jun. 27" double-circle datestamp on cover addressed to "Miss A. Barron, No. 457 New York Avenue, Washington, District Columbia" (apparently in the hand of Commodore Samuel A. Barron) and directed "Care of Thomas F. Harkness, Esqr." -- Harkness was a government letter carrier in Washington D.C. -- partly clear "Salisbury N.C. Jun. 6" (1861) circular datestamp and "Paid" straightline (pen lines on stamp, but no indication of C.S.A. rate other than "Paid"), lightened waterstain at lower left, part of backflap removed

VERY FINE. A RARE "SOUTHN. LETTER UNPAID" COVER WITH THE 3-CENT 1857 ISSUE AND DELIVERED BY THE UNITED STATES POST OFFICE LETTER CARRIER IN WASHINGTON D.C.

This was mailed from Salisbury, North Carolina, during the first week the Confederate postal system was operational. It probably reached Nashville just as the last U.S. route agent mail was carried north to Louisville. The mail received at Louisville on June 13-14 was held pending instructions to Postmaster John J. Speed, which were received by wire on June 24. The first group to be processed with the "Southn. Letter Unpaid" marking (on June 25, but without a datestamp) was actually received in Louisville by private express after the U.S. route agent delivered the mail containing this cover. The second group was processed on June 26 and 27 and has the Louisville datestamp.

United States postage stamps and stamped envelopes used from the South were regarded as contraband and were refused as prepayment. There are 29 "Southn. Letter Unpaid" covers recorded in the Special Routes book (No. 25 has been deleted as a fake since publication), of which only 13 have the 3c U.S. adhesive stamp used to pay the domestic rate. Two of the 13 are used with the New Orleans provisional (offered in this sale) and one is in the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, leaving only ten 3c 1857 Issue stamped covers with the "Southn. Letter Unpaid" marking.

The street address and "Care of Thomas F. Harkness Esqr." directive are clear indications that this was delivered by the letter carrier in Washington D.C. We are unaware of any other "Southn. Letter Unpaid" covers that were clearly marked for carrier delivery. It is likely that this was sent by Commodore Samuel Barron, because he was in North Carolina in June 1861, and he would have been aware of the carrier's name from the time he spent in Washington D.C.

Special Routes Census No. SLU-1 (illustrated on p. 13). Ex Piller. With 1993 P.F. certificate

E. 10,000-15,000
21,000
Back to Top
37
c
Sale Number 988, Lot Number 37, Southern Letter Unpaid Mail"Farnham Va. June 13th 1861", "Farnham Va. June 13th 1861""Farnham Va. June 13th 1861". Manuscript postmark and "Paid 5cts" C.S.A. rate with "10" re-rate on 3c Red on Buff Nesbitt (U10) entire to Louisville, pen cancel on 3c embossed stamp, blue grid cancel and matching "DUE" straightline with manuscript "3" U.S. rate applied at Louisville, pressed-out vertical fold at center and small part of backflap trimmed away

VERY FINE. EXTREMELY RARE EXAMPLE OF CONFEDERATE MAIL TO LOUISVILLE AFTER SUSPENSION OF THE NASHVILLE-LOUISVILLE MAIL ROUTE. THIS IS A "SOUTHERN LETTER UNPAID" COVER.

The U.S. May 27 suspension order prohibited post offices from forwarding southbound mail to disloyal Southern states. However, northbound mail continued to be sent via Louisville. Through June 6, northbound mails were forwarded to Louisville from Memphis or Nashville. From June 7 through 12, only the Nashville post office forwarded mail to Louisville, and Louisville continued to forward mail north. On June 15, after the U.S. mail agent had been withdrawn from the Nashville-Louisville route (the last trip was on June 12), the Nashville postmaster, W. D. McNish, started to forward mail to Louisville by using the American Letter Express Company, who brought the mails across the lines and deposited them in the Louisville post office. This letter was in one of the daily mails forwarded by express under this unusual arrangement, arriving in Louisville on or about June 18.

United States postage stamps and stamped envelopes used from the South were regarded as contraband and were refused as prepayment. The familiar "Southn. Letter Unpaid" handstamp was used by the Louisville post office on mail sent north, but letters addressed locally were marked "Due" for unpaid postage. Examples of "Southern Letter Unpaid" mail delivered in Louisville are exceedingly rare.

Ex Gallagher

E. 3,000-4,000
2,500
Back to Top
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