Arago: Confederate Postmaster Provisionals

Confederate Postmaster Provisionals

The first Confederate issue was placed in circulation in October 1861, five months after postal service between the North and South ended. In the meantime, postmasters throughout the seceded states used temporary substitutes. These stamps are known to collectors as 'Postmaster Provisionals', so-called because they were used 'provisionally' until the first Confederate general issue appeared. In some circles, postmaster provisionals are referred to as 'locals' since they were intended only for use from the town in which they were issued. Postmasters resorted to a variety of methods to solve their temporary problems, ranging from creating their own adhesive postage stamps to marking letters with rate-altered handstamps or simply marking the letters “Paid” in manuscript.