Arago: 5-cent Franklin

5-cent Franklin

5c Franklin illegal use from Arkansas Territory to Washington, DC on cover

Scott Catalogue USA: 1

This is the only cover from Eagletown prepaid with an 1847 postage stamp. It was addressed to Col. P. P. Pitchlynn, a Choctaw chief, while he was in the "City of Washington." Although Eagletown was in unorganized territory west of the Arkansas border, it was attached to Arkansas in the Post Office Department records for administrative purposes, and hence the designation "Ark" in the townmark.

The cover entered the mails on July 14, 1854, long after the 1847 stamps had been demonetized. Although a Post Office Department order had declared these stamps unusable for postage after June 30, 1851, only three examples are known showing that a local office refused to recognize them. Seventy-three covers are known where the stamps were accepted after demonetization.

Since the Act of March 3, 1851, had provided that single-weight letters traveling a distance of up to 3,000 miles would incur prepaid postage of only three cents, this usage represents a two-cent overpayment of the 1851 rate.

Eagletown did not receive any 1847 stamps. This 5-cent stamp was carried there from some other source, probably Doakesville (or Doaksville).

July 14, 1854
ms "Eagletown Ark/July 14, 1854" [townmark] black ms pen marks [cancel]
paper; ink (red brown) / handwritten; engraved
Height x Width: 2 3/4 x 5 in. (7 x 12.7 cm)
Museum ID:
Place of Origin:
Eagletown (Choctaw Nation), Arkansas
Place of Destination:
District of Columbia

  • 5c Franklin illegal use from Arkansas Territory to Washington, DC on cover
  • 5c Franklin illegal use from Arkansas Territory to Washington, DC on cover
  • This cover with a 5¢ 1847 stamp was sent in July 1854 to Colonel Peter P. Pitchlynn, chief of the Choctaw Nation, while he was in Washington, D.C., to sign a treaty with the United States. By then the 1847 stamps had been withdrawn from use for three years, yet this one was still accepted by both the Eagletown and Washington postmasters. The town of Eagletown — located in unorganized territory west of Arkansas in what is now Oklahoma — is referred to as 'Eagletown, Ark.' in the hand-written townmark because the Post Office assigned it to Arkansas for accounting purposes.
Additional Records

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