Two-of-a-kind Civil War stamp cover could sell for $100,000

A stamp cover which combines the rarest elements of philately and postal history will sell at Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries on May 27.

Siegel is auctioning the Steven C Walske Collection of Civil War Special Routes stamps. Walske is listed by Forbes as Managing Director of the software investments firm Myriad Investments, LLC.

Among the sale's many highlights is one of just two known covers bearing a Nashville 10-cent provisional stamp alongside mixed frankings with US postage.

The cover is a letter posted in 1861 and addressed to Reverend Abner Johnson Leavenworth, then the principal and proprietor of the Leavenworth Academy and Collegiate Seminary for Young Ladies.

The Nashville 10c stamp has two large margins on its left and bottom right, and is tied - or stamped - with a blue "Adams Express Co. Aug. 1" oval datestamp.

The Adams company was assigned to ensure the prepayment of government postage (both Federal and Confederate) during the US Civil War (1861-1865).

It is held among philatelists that very few covers carried across the line by express services were recorded with Confederate provisional stamps or markings - including this example.

The rare Nashville 10-cent cover with mixed frankings and US postage

This cover is one of just three examples recorded with a Nashville 10c adhesive provisional stamp which were carried "across the lines" (between North and South) by Adams.

The letter was franked twice during its journey: in Nashville on August 1, and earlier in Louisville on July 30 (as shown by the circular datestamp which cancels the red 3c embossed stamp at the cover's top right).

Beside the 3c stamp, the letter was marked with a blue "10" hand stamp in Petersburg. This was presumably to indicate that the letter was over the half-ounce weight limit.

According to Siegel, its records contain only six genuine covers with the Nashville 10c Green provisional, of which only three were tied by August 1.

Of those three, this example is listed by Siegel as having light soiling and edge wear - less so on its top right-hand corner - with a small part of its backflap removed.

The rare and historic cover, dated to the first year of the US Civil War, is appearing for sale at Siegel with an estimate of $75,000-100,000.

Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries is based in New York.


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