1846 10c Black, St. Louis Bear on Gray Lilac Wove Paper

# 11X5 - 1846 10c Black, St. Louis Bear on Gray Lilac Wove Paper

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Own a Sought-After St. Louis Bears Postmaster Provisional Today

~ Only Two Available ~                      

Used on mail before the First Federal Postage Stamps of the United States!

Postmaster Provisional stamps are real artifacts of America’s postal history.  And they’ve survived the ravages of time to remind us of that exciting history.  The “St. Louis Bears” are among the most famous and sought-after Provisionals from the early days of America’s postal service.  They’re history you hold in your hands.  And now you can get one for your very own!

Snap up one of these scarce St. Louis Bears before they end up in someone else’s collection

We have just two and don’t expect they’ll be around for long.  In fact, we rarely come across them.  They’re both in used condition with one or two small imperfections that don’t detract from their beauty or collectability.  We both know that’s not unusual for a stamp of this age and history in the early American mail system.  Luckily, that allows us to offer them to you for several thousand dollars less than regular retail price. 

Our 10c St. Louis Provisionals are from the second printing.  Like most of the St. Louis Bears in used condition, ours feature pen cancels as shown here.  Printed on gray lilac paper, their earliest documented use is February 27, 1846.  They’ve been preserved since then by generations of caring hands.  Will you be the next to safeguard one of them for future collectors?

What is a Postmaster Provisional?

The Act of 1845 established uniform postal rates in the United States.  It wasn’t until two years later, on July 1st, 1847, that the issue of federal postage stamps was authorized.  Until then, some postmasters issued their own stamps – called “Postmaster Provisionals”.  The first was issued in July, 1845, by the Postmaster of New York, Robert H. Morris.  Postmasters in various other states followed suit, and the practice went on until the first two federal postage stamps were issued on July 1st, 1847.  The Provisionals served as proof of the pre-payment of postage.  Sometimes postmasters signed their name or initials on the stamps as well, which served as a cancellation. 

The Story of the St. Louis Bears

St. Louis Postmaster John M. Wimer created the St. Louis Bears Provisionals to allow postal customers to pay ahead and avoid long lines and wait times at the post office.  Instead, they could simply affix their stamp and drop their letter in a post box anytime, even after business hours.

In November 1845, Postmaster Wimer had two stamps printed, the 5c and 10c denominations.  The designs on both pictured the Missouri coat of arms and great seal, each with its famous bear figures.  (Missouri's great seal was designed by William G. Pettus who was said to have pictured bears in honor of “Missouri citizens’ rugged durability.”)  

A single copper plate was engraved with six subjects (three vertical 5¢ stamps and three vertical 10¢ stamps) by J.M. Kershaw, proprietor of the Western Card and Seal Company of St. Louis.  The 5¢ stamp covered the postage rate for letters under half ounce traveling less than 300 miles, while the 10¢ stamp covered the rate for letters traveling over 300 miles.  Each additional half ounce required an added 5¢ or 10¢, depending on the distance.

The imperforate St. Louis Bears Postmaster Provisional stamps were printed on wove paper ranging from greenish to grayish lilac to bluish in color.  The exception is a later printing which was done on thin, hard paper called pelure, which was also bluish.

Discover how to identify the types of St. Louis Bears Provisionals  

The first printing of St. Louis Bears Postmaster Provisionals sold out and needed to be reprinted to keep up with demand.  Postmaster Wimer decided it might be beneficial to include a 20¢ design this time, so the engraver (Kershaw) erased the “5” from the top two stamps in the left row of the plate and added a “20” to these positions instead.

The 5¢ denominations of the second printing soon sold out.  Postmaster Wimer decided to remove the 20¢ denominations from the plate and reinsert the two 5¢ denominations since demand for the 20¢ stamps was lower than expected.

Below is a breakdown of each stamp type and how to tell the difference between them:

Stamp Types From Original State of the Plate – Printed on Greenish Paper

5¢ type I – the haunches of both bears virtually touch the frameline of the stamp
5¢ type II – the haunch of the left bear is well away from the frameline, the right bear is unchanged from type I
5¢ type III – the haunches of both bears are now visibly clear of the framelines

10¢ type I – there are three single curved lines (dashes) below “Post Office”
10¢ type II – there are three pairs of curved lines below “Post Office”
10¢ type III – three dots have been added between the pairs of curved lines, the top dash in the middle has been removed
 

Stamp Types From First Alteration of the Plate – Printed on Greenish OR Gray Lilac Paper

20¢ type I – same as the 5¢ type I from the original state of the plate

20¢ type II – same as the 5¢ type II from the original state of the plate.  You'll also notice the top paw of the right bear was almost removed during the process of changing the “5” to “20.”

5¢ type III – virtually unchanged from the original state of the plate.  (This type printed on grayish lilac paper – Scott #11X4 – is the only St. Louis Bear stamp to have been printed from just one position of the plate, making it far rarer than many realize.)

10¢ types – unchanged from original state of the plate.

Stamp Types from Second Alteration of the Plate – Printed on Pelure Paper

 

5¢ type I – nearly the same as type I from the original state of the plate, but with the “5” noticeably lower.

5¢ type II – nearly the same as type II from the original state of the plate, however, the paw which had been damaged during the change to “20” was partly reinstated (without shading).

5¢ type III – nearly the same as type III from the original state of the plate, but with the dot in the ball of the “5” being much larger.

10¢ types – unchanged from original state of the plate.

This may be the only chance you ever have to own a rare St. Louis Bear…

It’s great to know the background of our stamps, especially when they’re so rarely seen as the St. Louis Bears Postmaster Provisionals are.  Snagging one would be a real catch for your collection.  With their great age and history – over 175 years old and pre-dating our first federal postage stamps, these stamps have a combination that’s hard to beat.  Consider adding one to your collection today.  You may never get another chance! 

Read More - Click Here

Own a Sought-After St. Louis Bears Postmaster Provisional Today

~ Only Two Available ~                      

Used on mail before the First Federal Postage Stamps of the United States!

Postmaster Provisional stamps are real artifacts of America’s postal history.  And they’ve survived the ravages of time to remind us of that exciting history.  The “St. Louis Bears” are among the most famous and sought-after Provisionals from the early days of America’s postal service.  They’re history you hold in your hands.  And now you can get one for your very own!

Snap up one of these scarce St. Louis Bears before they end up in someone else’s collection

We have just two and don’t expect they’ll be around for long.  In fact, we rarely come across them.  They’re both in used condition with one or two small imperfections that don’t detract from their beauty or collectability.  We both know that’s not unusual for a stamp of this age and history in the early American mail system.  Luckily, that allows us to offer them to you for several thousand dollars less than regular retail price. 

Our 10c St. Louis Provisionals are from the second printing.  Like most of the St. Louis Bears in used condition, ours feature pen cancels as shown here.  Printed on gray lilac paper, their earliest documented use is February 27, 1846.  They’ve been preserved since then by generations of caring hands.  Will you be the next to safeguard one of them for future collectors?

What is a Postmaster Provisional?

The Act of 1845 established uniform postal rates in the United States.  It wasn’t until two years later, on July 1st, 1847, that the issue of federal postage stamps was authorized.  Until then, some postmasters issued their own stamps – called “Postmaster Provisionals”.  The first was issued in July, 1845, by the Postmaster of New York, Robert H. Morris.  Postmasters in various other states followed suit, and the practice went on until the first two federal postage stamps were issued on July 1st, 1847.  The Provisionals served as proof of the pre-payment of postage.  Sometimes postmasters signed their name or initials on the stamps as well, which served as a cancellation. 

The Story of the St. Louis Bears

St. Louis Postmaster John M. Wimer created the St. Louis Bears Provisionals to allow postal customers to pay ahead and avoid long lines and wait times at the post office.  Instead, they could simply affix their stamp and drop their letter in a post box anytime, even after business hours.

In November 1845, Postmaster Wimer had two stamps printed, the 5c and 10c denominations.  The designs on both pictured the Missouri coat of arms and great seal, each with its famous bear figures.  (Missouri's great seal was designed by William G. Pettus who was said to have pictured bears in honor of “Missouri citizens’ rugged durability.”)  

A single copper plate was engraved with six subjects (three vertical 5¢ stamps and three vertical 10¢ stamps) by J.M. Kershaw, proprietor of the Western Card and Seal Company of St. Louis.  The 5¢ stamp covered the postage rate for letters under half ounce traveling less than 300 miles, while the 10¢ stamp covered the rate for letters traveling over 300 miles.  Each additional half ounce required an added 5¢ or 10¢, depending on the distance.

The imperforate St. Louis Bears Postmaster Provisional stamps were printed on wove paper ranging from greenish to grayish lilac to bluish in color.  The exception is a later printing which was done on thin, hard paper called pelure, which was also bluish.

Discover how to identify the types of St. Louis Bears Provisionals  

The first printing of St. Louis Bears Postmaster Provisionals sold out and needed to be reprinted to keep up with demand.  Postmaster Wimer decided it might be beneficial to include a 20¢ design this time, so the engraver (Kershaw) erased the “5” from the top two stamps in the left row of the plate and added a “20” to these positions instead.

The 5¢ denominations of the second printing soon sold out.  Postmaster Wimer decided to remove the 20¢ denominations from the plate and reinsert the two 5¢ denominations since demand for the 20¢ stamps was lower than expected.

Below is a breakdown of each stamp type and how to tell the difference between them:

Stamp Types From Original State of the Plate – Printed on Greenish Paper

5¢ type I – the haunches of both bears virtually touch the frameline of the stamp
5¢ type II – the haunch of the left bear is well away from the frameline, the right bear is unchanged from type I
5¢ type III – the haunches of both bears are now visibly clear of the framelines

10¢ type I – there are three single curved lines (dashes) below “Post Office”
10¢ type II – there are three pairs of curved lines below “Post Office”
10¢ type III – three dots have been added between the pairs of curved lines, the top dash in the middle has been removed
 

Stamp Types From First Alteration of the Plate – Printed on Greenish OR Gray Lilac Paper

20¢ type I – same as the 5¢ type I from the original state of the plate

20¢ type II – same as the 5¢ type II from the original state of the plate.  You'll also notice the top paw of the right bear was almost removed during the process of changing the “5” to “20.”

5¢ type III – virtually unchanged from the original state of the plate.  (This type printed on grayish lilac paper – Scott #11X4 – is the only St. Louis Bear stamp to have been printed from just one position of the plate, making it far rarer than many realize.)

10¢ types – unchanged from original state of the plate.

Stamp Types from Second Alteration of the Plate – Printed on Pelure Paper

 

5¢ type I – nearly the same as type I from the original state of the plate, but with the “5” noticeably lower.

5¢ type II – nearly the same as type II from the original state of the plate, however, the paw which had been damaged during the change to “20” was partly reinstated (without shading).

5¢ type III – nearly the same as type III from the original state of the plate, but with the dot in the ball of the “5” being much larger.

10¢ types – unchanged from original state of the plate.

This may be the only chance you ever have to own a rare St. Louis Bear…

It’s great to know the background of our stamps, especially when they’re so rarely seen as the St. Louis Bears Postmaster Provisionals are.  Snagging one would be a real catch for your collection.  With their great age and history – over 175 years old and pre-dating our first federal postage stamps, these stamps have a combination that’s hard to beat.  Consider adding one to your collection today.  You may never get another chance!