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Franklin Pierce

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Franklin Pierce, 1804-1869.  14th President of the United States, 1853-1857.  Bold free frank, Free Frank. Pierce, signed as President, on a 9¾ x 6¾ envelope, Washington, D.C., May 15, no year [1854]. 

This is a beautiful, bold free frank on an envelope addressed in another hand to Rev. Lyman White at Epping, New Hampshire.  White, a graduate of Dartmouth, was a Congregationalist minister who served at Epping between 1849 and 1854. 

Pierce's presidential free franks are scarce, which makes this one even more desirable.  It dates to the second year of Pierce's presidency.

Until he became President, Pierce had been out of national office since his resignation from the United States Senate in 1842, which was before White became the minister at Epping.  The only possible years that Pierce had the franking privilege and could have written White before White left Epping, therefore, were 1853 and 1854.  Since May 15, 1853, was a Sunday, when the postal service would not have worked, this envelope was postmarked on Monday, May 15, 1854.  The American Stampless Cover Catalog confirms that the form of this postmark was used in Washington, D.C., from 1854 to 1856, and Edward Stern illustrates two Pierce presidential free franks with matching postmarks in History of the "Free Franking" of Mail in the United States.  These overlapping time frames and the form of the postmark thus date this piece to the second year of Pierce's presidency. 

This envelope has the red wax seal still partially intact.  It has some soiling and stains, including ink stains that are near and in one place barely touch Pierce's signature.  It is in fine condition overall. 




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