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Sale 1237 — American Free Franks and Historical Documents

Sale Date — Tuesday, 22 June, 2021

Leave Absentee BidsLIVE INTERNET BIDDING
*A buyer’s premium of 18% of the winning bid will be added as part of the total purchase price on all lots in this sale. Buyers are responsible for applicable sales tax, customs duty and any other prescribed charges. By placing a bid you agree to the terms and conditions of sale.

Category — Presidential Widows' Free Franks

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
126
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 126, Presidential Widows' Free FranksMartha Washington, Martha WashingtonMartha Washington. Autograph free frank "M Washington" as widow of President George Washington on folded letter datelined "Mount Vernon, December 15th, 1801" and addressed to Col. Richard Varick in New York, lightly struck red "Alex. Va. Dec. 18" circular datestamp, red manuscript "Free", contents thanks the recipient for sending several barrels of apples and asks for a bill for them, also mentions hiring of a white cook, light vertical file folds

VERY FINE. ONE OF FOUR REPORTED FREE FRANKS OF MARTHA WASHINGTON, AMERICA'S FIRST LADY AND FIRST WIDOW, WHO WAS GRANTED THE FRANKING PRIVILEGE IN APRIL 1800 AFTER HER HUSBAND'S DEATH, BUT USED IT FOR ONLY TWO YEARS BEFORE HER OWN DEATH IN MAY 1802. ONE OF THE GREATEST RARITIES OF EARLY AMERICAN POSTAL HISTORY AND AUTOGRAPH COLLECTING.

The letter and address are in the hand of her granddaughter, Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis, who had married George Washington's favorite nephew, Lawrence Lewis. Lawrence's brother Robert was Washington's secretary.

Eleanor "Nellie" Parke Custis Lewis was the daughter of Martha Washington's son from her previous marriage. Her son, John Parke Custis, was killed in the Revolutionary War in 1781. Eleanor and her brother, George, were adopted by General Washington and lived at Mount Vernon until Martha Washington's death in 1802. Eleanor was a favorite of both General Washington and Martha.

Ex Joyce and Dr. Robertson

Bid on this lot

E. 20,000-30,000
Future Sale
127
 
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 127, Presidential Widows' Free FranksLouisa C. Adams, Louisa C. AdamsLouisa C. Adams. Widow of John Quincy Adams, free frank "L. C. Adams" on small envelope addressed to Charles Francis Adams (probably her son, although possibly her grandson, Charles Francis Jr.) at Boston, red straightline "BALTIMORE R.R." handstamp, red "FREE/NEW-YORK 27 FEB" circular datestamp, Extremely Fine, a charming example of this scarce widow's frank, unusual with the railroad route agent's handstamp, ex Grunin

Bid on this lot

E. 1,000-1,500
Future Sale
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128
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 128, Presidential Widows' Free FranksLouisa C. Adams, Louisa C. AdamsLouisa C. Adams. Widow of John Quincy Adams, free frank "L. C. Adams" on 1849 mourning cover to London, England, red "Washington D.C. Sep.13 Free" circular datestamp, "5" in circle debit handstamp, manuscript "1/-" due for transatlantic rate, transit backstamp, small tear at right affects debit marking, otherwise Very Fine, scarce use of widow's frank on transatlantic mail, ex Stevens and Dr. Robertson, illustrated in ASCC Vol. II on p. 223

Bid on this lot

E. 750-1,000
Future Sale
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129
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 129, Presidential Widows' Free FranksDolley Madison, Dolley MadisonDolley Madison. Widow of James Madison, free frank "Free D P Madison" on cover to Louise Corcoran in Stonington Conn., light strike of red "Free Washington D.C. Aug. 8" circular datestamp, Very Fine, also accompanied by cut with "Free D P Madison"

Bid on this lot

Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 129, Presidential Widows' Free FranksDolley Madison, Dolley Madison
Image 2
E. 500-750
Future Sale
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130
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 130, Presidential Widows' Free FranksDolley Madison, Dolley MadisonDolley Madison. Widow of James Madison, free frank "Free D P Madison" on folded letter written by Anthony Morris and datelined "Montpelier Virginia May 28th 1837" to Mr. Samuel B. Morris at Germantown Penn., light strike of red "Orange C H Va. May 20" circular datestamp with matching "FREE" handstamp, some soiling, still Very Fine

Bid on this lot

E. 500-750
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131
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 131, Presidential Widows' Free FranksAnna Harrison, Anna HarrisonAnna Harrison. Widow of William H. Harrison, free frank "Free Anna Harrison" on folded cover to Dr. William Sprague in Albany N.Y., red "CLEVE SE" straightline handstamp with "24" day in manuscript, fresh and Very Fine, scarce widow's frank

Bid on this lot

E. 750-1,000
Future Sale
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132
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 132, Presidential Widows' Free FranksAnna Harrison, Anna HarrisonAnna Harrison. Widow of William H. Harrison, free frank "Free Anna Harrison" on blue folded cover to Charles Ogden in Philadelphia, "Cleve. O. Sept. 11" manuscript postmark, Very Fine, scarce widow's free frank

Bid on this lot

E. 750-1,000
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133
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 133, Presidential Widows' Free FranksSarah Childress Polk, Sarah Childress PolkSarah Childress Polk. Widow of James K. Polk, free frank "Free Mrs. J.K. Polk" on buff cover to Bolivar Tenn., blue "Nashville Ten. Sep. 26, 1858" circular datestamp and matching "Free" handstamp, some slight wear, few repaired tears in top flap only

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXTREMELY DESIRABLE FREE FRANK OF THE WIDOW SARAH POLK. ONLY THREE EXAMPLES ARE RECORDED.

Sarah Polk, a staunch admirer and supporter of Dolley Madison in her later years, has the distinction of being the first First Lady to be photographed on the White House grounds. Although Sarah lived more than 40 years following her husband's death in 1849, she lived somewhat reclusively in Nashville and evidently franked a relatively small amount of mail. Her free frank is exceedingly rare, with only three reported examples.

Ex Joyce, Dr. Robertson and Mack

Bid on this lot

E. 7,500-10,000
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134
 
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 134, Presidential Widows' Free FranksSara Childress Polk, Sara Childress PolkSara Childress Polk. Widow of James K. Polk, free frank "Free Mrs. J. K. Polk" on small yellow piece with blue "FREE" handstamp, mounted on slightly larger piece, Very Fine, although Sarah lived more than 40 years following her husband's death in 1849, she lived somewhat reclusively in Nashville and evidently franked a relatively small amount of mail, her free frank is exceedingly rare, with only three full reported examples, also including top part of folded cover with "Free J. K. Polk" (likely as President)

Bid on this lot

Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 134, Presidential Widows' Free FranksSara Childress Polk, Sara Childress Polk
Image 2
E. 500-750
Future Sale
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135
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 135, Presidential Widows' Free FranksMary Todd Lincoln, Mary Todd LincolnMary Todd Lincoln. Widow of assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, free frank "Mary Lincoln" on cover addressed in her hand to David Davis in Bloomington Ill. (appointed by President Abraham Lincoln as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States 1862-1877, later U.S. Senator), bold strike of "Chicago Ill. Aug. 21" circular datestamp

FRESH AND VERY FINE. A RARE COVER FREE FRANKED BY MARY TODD LINCOLN, WIDOW OF THE MARTYRED PRESIDENT.

In May 1865, Mary Todd Lincoln and her sons, Robert and Tad, left Washington D.C. for Chicago, where they resided until leaving for Europe in 1868. During this difficult time, Mary attempted without success to sell her clothing through merchants in New York City. The style of Chicago postmark points to a date of mailing in 1866 or 1867.

Ex Dr. Robertson and Millard Mack

Bid on this lot

E. 3,000-4,000
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136
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 136, Presidential Widows' Free FranksMary Todd Lincoln, Mary Todd LincolnMary Todd Lincoln. Signature "Mrs. Lincoln" at bottom left of mourning cover addressed to Mrs. Bloomfield Moore, Very Fine and unusual, Clara Bloomfield-Moore was a philanthropist who organized a hospital relief committee in Philadelphia during the Civil War, accompanied by copy of what may have been enclosure dated Dec. 16, 1862, this was either carried outside of the mails or was in an outer envelope

Bid on this lot

E. 750-1,000
Future Sale
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137
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 137, Presidential Widows' Free FranksJulia Dent Grant, Julia Dent GrantJulia Dent Grant. Widow of Ulysses S. Grant, free frank "Julia D. Grant" on wide-bordered mourning envelope addressed in her hand to Mrs. Emily D. Casey in Washington D.C., "New-York Dec. 26 5PM '89" duplex datestamp struck over frank, Very Fine, Ulysses S. Grant spent the last year of his life completing his memoirs (after a business partnership with a swindler resulted in financial catastrophe), he died in 1885 and the publication of his memoirs made his widow a wealthy woman again, in 1886 she was presented with the largest royalty check in history -- $200,000 -- by Mark Twain, her free frank is rare

Bid on this lot

E. 400-500
Future Sale
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138
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 138, Presidential Widows' Free FranksLucretia Garfield, Lucretia GarfieldLucretia Garfield. Widow of James A. Garfield, ten free franks, each on mourning cover, used from West Mentor O. (4), Cleveland (4) and South Pasadena Cal. (2), overall Fine-Very Fine, also includes two photos (one of Lucretia, one of Lucretia and James)

Bid on this lot

E. 400-500
Future Sale
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139
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 139, Presidential Widows' Free FranksIda McKinley, Ida McKinleyIda McKinley. Free frank "Mrs. Wm. McKinley" on mourning cover to Cleveland O., neat "Canton Ohio Apr. 6 8-PM 1907" waving flag machine cancel, minor edgewear, Very Fine

Bid on this lot

E. 300-400
Future Sale
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140
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 140, Presidential Widows' Free FranksIda McKinley, Ida McKinleyIda McKinley. Free frank "Mrs. Ida J. McKinley" at top left of mourning cover to New York, neat "Canton Ohio Feb. 10 8-PM 1906" waving flag machine cancel, 2c Postage Due stamp tied by circular datestamp, with original enclosure with mourning border written by secretary expressing regret that she cannot return a photograph as it was lost in a fire, some slight wear, Very Fine, unusual, she received free franking privileges several years prior to this so it is uncertain why this was charged 2c due

Bid on this lot

E. 500-750
Future Sale
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141
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 141, Presidential Widows' Free FranksIda McKinley, Ida McKinleyIda McKinley. Widow of assassinated President William McKinley, mourning cover containing matching acknowledgement card from Mrs. McKinley and sent to Sheridan N.Y., postage paid by 2c Bureau issue tied by Nov. 19, 1901 duplex, some edgewear, Fine, unusual usage, she did not receive franking privileges until Jan. 22, 1902, so this letter required postage, ex Dr. Robertson

Bid on this lot

E. 400-500
Future Sale
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142
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 142, Presidential Widows' Free FranksEdith Kermit Carow Roosevelt, Edith Kermit Carow RooseveltEdith Kermit Carow Roosevelt. Widow of Theodore Roosevelt, seven covers franked "Edith K. Roosevelt", two with "Free" in her hand, Oyster Bay and Brooklyn N.Y. machine cancels, one with ALS, overall Very Fine, Mrs. Roosevelt was granted the franking privilege on October 27, 1919, which lasted until her death on September 30, 1948, accompanied by portrait

Bid on this lot

E. 300-400
Future Sale
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143
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 143, Presidential Widows' Free FranksHelen H. Taft, Helen H. TaftHelen H. Taft. Widow of William H. Taft, five covers: one is franked "Helen H. Taft Free" on cover with Supreme Court imprint crossed out, "Pointe Au Pic P.Q. 13 Jul. 1936" circular datestamp to Washington D.C., another franked "Helen H. Taft Free" and with 1c and 4c Taft stamps tied by "Cincinnati Ohio Jun. 4, 1930" cancel on airmail cover to Lakewood N.J., one with no postal markings, Fine-Very Fine group

Bid on this lot

E. 300-400
Future Sale
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144
c
Sale Number 1237, Lot Number 144, Presidential Widows' Free FranksFlorence Kling Harding, Florence Kling HardingFlorence Kling Harding. Widow of Warren Harding, three covers: first is mourning cover with 2c Harding stamp from Marion O. on Dec. 10, 1923, and addressed in her hand and used before she was granted free-franking privilege, second is Jan. 28, 1924 cover with "Florence Kling Harding" free frank from Washington D.C. to Marion O. (used three days after she was granted the privilege), last is April 9, 1924 mourning cover franked "Florence Kling Harding" from Washington D.C. to Rutherford N.J., fresh and Very Fine, she passed away on Nov. 22, 1924, less than a year after receiving the franking privilege, also incl. 2pp autograph letter signed regarding charges relating to the death of her husband, ex Dr. Robertson

Bid on this lot

E. 400-500
Future Sale
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