US Stamps

Washington-Franklin stamps and the Kingdom of Callaway

May 20, 2024, 11 AM
These two stamps of the Washington-Franklin series have been precanceled or overprinted for the Kingdom of Callaway. Located in Missouri, the kingdom dates back to 1861.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

The two stamps of the 1908-22 Washington-Franklin series, also known as the Third Bureau Issue, illustrated above are either precanceled or overprinted for the Kingdom of Callaway.

Through an internet search, I found that in 1861, Callaway County, Mo., seceded from the Union. However, the country did not do so to join the Confederacy; it simply wanted to be sovereign.

The federal government took notice. In October 1861, a force of 600 Union troops positioned itself to subdue Callaway. It was opposed by a number of Callaway citizens dedicated to fighting off the invasion.

Through a miscalculation, Union Gen. John Henderson decided to delay his invasion because he thought he was facing a superior force. Ultimately, he signed a treaty that recognized the kingdom as a free and independent nation with the right to govern itself.

In fact, there was never an independent government or a declaration of independence, but a tradition was born, and the nickname “Kingdom of Callaway” remains.

Over the years, the kingdom has been commemorated in various ways, and perhaps the stamps were one of them. There was never an independent postal system. Indeed, the addition of the Kingdom of Callaway on the stamps invalidated them for use as U.S. postage.

I wonder if examples of any Kingdom of Callaway stamps exist used on cover? If a Linn’s reader can enlighten us further, I would be happy to provide the information in a future column.

Send the details and an image to me at, or Box 1125, Falls Church, VA 22041-0125.

Connect with Linn’s Stamp News: 

    Sign up for our newsletter
Like us on Facebook
    Follow us on Twitter