Unique Charleston provisional block leads Calhoun auction at $15,000

A unique block of 15 5-cent stamps from the Charleston, SC postmaster's provisional issue has topped Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries' sale of the Richard L Calhoun Collection in New York on February 27.

1861 Charleston 5c stamp block
This is largest multiple of the provisional issue known, with the next largest a horizontal pair

Richard L Calhoun is one of the world's leading authorities on the postal history of Charleston, with this first part of his collection focusing on the very first year of the US civil war, when South Carolina was declared an independent republic and became part of the Confederate states.

The block of 15 is comprised of the 5 cent provisional issue from Charleston's Postmaster Alfred Huger, who had been a Unionist at the outbreak of the conflict, but had switched to the Confederates after losing his son, land and belongings to the Union Army.

Alfred Huger Charleston SC Postmaster
Alfred Huger

Huger's provisional issue of press-printed typographic envelopes was first seen in the summer of 1861, with a lithographed adhesive provisional stamp issue following in September 1861.

Confederate General Issue stamps replaced these from December 7, 1861, but the provisional issue was re-released as stocks dwindled.

The second highest bids of the sale were seen by one of only two recorded examples of a Charleston postmaster's provisional on a patriotic cover, which sold for $10,000.

Bearing the 5c Blue tied by a neat strike of the "Charleston S.C. Nov. 11, 1861" circular date stamp, it is decorated with a 7-star Confederate flag.

Paul Fraser Collectibles specialises in the finest stamps - see our full collection for sale.

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