A Livingston, Alabama 1861 5c Blue is to lead the Peter Sharrer Collection of Confederate Postmasters' Provisionals on December 10 in New York.
Regarded as the finest single franking of the seven known covers that feature the Livingston Provisional, its superb quality and great rarity warrant an estimate far higher than its conservative valuation of $60,000.
Written to a "Mrs. M. A. Sturdivant, Hollow Square Ala", its qualities include full to huge margins, superb colour, as well as a tidy November 15 circular date stamp from 1861.
The auction house has called it "a striking pictorial stamp that depicts the southern shield and allegorical figures," concluding that it is "one of the most outstanding of all confederate covers."
Writing in his 1945 Stamp Specialist book, Stanley B Ashbrook agrees, describing it as "really a superb cover and the finest Livingston that I have ever seen."
Its provenance also adds to its appeal, having been bought by legendary investor and stamp collector Bill Gross in 1999, who sold it to Sharrer for $160,000 in 2009.
Featuring 93 examples in all, the sale will also star a Goliad, Texas 10c Black on Buff Type II, from 1864. One of just eight known examples of the stamp, of which only five were employed on covers, it is expected to achieve up to $40,000.
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