Confederate States of America
Jefferson Davis Cover
The above cover is a very important cover and can in my opinion be considered as a Gem of Confederate Philately. The cover illustrates a number of different aspects of CSA Philately all in one cover.
- At the right upper corner is the imprint for the Executive Department. These imprinted covers were for official use from the office of the CSA President. As such, only a small number of people could use these covers with this imprint -- President Jefferson Davis, his wife Varina, and his private secretaries of which there were probably 5 or 6 during the war years. Such imprinted covers are in their own right scarce.
- The cover bears a Richmond Type 6a postmark dated 31 MAR 1863. This particular Richmond postmark was used only in March 1863.
- The circular "Held For Postage" mark means that the cover was deposited in the postal system without prepayment of postage and was therefore held until postage could be paid. But the cover was subsequently assessed a "Due 2" and handled as a postage due drop letter. Both of these Richmond handstamps ("Held For Postage" and the arc "Due 2") are very scarce with only a handful of covers known with these marks.
- This cover is addressed in the hand of President Jefferson Davis himself and is addressed to the Hon W. W. Clark who was a Confederate Congressman from Georgia. As this cover shows, not even the President could send a letter free in the Confederacy as postage was to be collected from the addressee on delivery. Post Office Department Official Business were the only covers allowed to go "FREE." Not even the President could escape the postage fees.
I obtained this cover at the APS StampShow 2001 in Chicago and owned it for only five days. It now resides in the Royster Collection and is shown for all to see with the kind permission of the owner.