Covers at recent Siegel sale include Washington free frank

May 1, 2021, 12 PM

By Tim Hodge

While numerous auctions featuring worldwide material took place this past month, fewer showcased United States lots.

Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries held an interesting sale in New York City Dec. 12 titled “Stampless Stories: A Postal History of America.”

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The auction headlined with a George Washington free frank on a cover addressed to Benjamin Franklin. Dating probably from 1785-86 during Franklin’s second year as president of Pennsylvania, this is a scarce noninstitutional example of correspondence between these two leading figures in American history. It found a new owner for $29,500, including an 18 percent buyer’s premium.

The Siegel sale contained many early pieces of American postal history dating back to the 17th century. A fascinating publication, the first edition of the Queen Anne Post Office Act of 1710, realized $4,720. This act extended the General Post Office’s authority to all the colonies in an effort to raise money for the War of Spanish Succession. It also established standard postage rates and dictated a monopoly of the posts.