This rare free franked cover, sent from George Washington to Benjamin Franklin circa 1785-1786, sold at Robert A Siegel last night.
It headlined the Stampless Stories: A Postal History of America sale, which focused on philatelic artefacts from before the introduction of the postage stamp.
The address is written in Washington's hand
The lot displays an intact black seal on the reverse, featuring Washington’s coat of arms.
It sold for $25,000.
Siegel explains: “Examples of correspondence between these two important historical figures are rare outside of institutional archives.
“This was sent during a time when Washington was a private citizen (he was not elected president until 1787).
“Technically, he did not hold the franking privilege, but Washington’s signature on the address leaf was honored by the post office and no postage was charged.”
Other highlights of the sale included an 1837 cover sent from Canton, China to Philadelphia that arrived in the US via New Orleans.
Most Chinese ships would make port further north, typically in New York.
The lot realised $3,250, slightly above its $3,000 estimate.
There was also a folded note from 1746, sent between two British colonial officers, that made $2,100 against a valuation of $500.
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