Confederate handstamp Paid 5
Confederate handstamp Paid 5 cents on cover with Richmond, Virginia, July 19, 1861, circular date stamp, on an envelope addressed to Cobham, Virginia. The cover is docketed at left "July 1861" and is addressed to William Cabell Rives, who was at that time a member of the Confederate Congress. Rives had served in the United States Senate, the House of Representatives, and as Ambassador to France.
The first Confederate stamps—lithographed, imperforate five-cent sheets printed by Hoyer & Ludwig—were not available until October 1861. During the months prior to that, southern postmasters improvised methods of handling the prepayment of postage. By creating provisional stamps or using handstamps, postmasters were able to continue mail service in the absence of a government-issued postage stamp. This cover is one such example.