Alabama, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Virginia: 1938-1943. Nine envelopes, measuring 4 x 6.5 inches. Eight envelopes with original artwork, one with a printed illustration (Betsy Ross), playing on the names of the towns where the envelopes were postmarked. Postmaster signatures to six envelopes. Lightest wear.
Fine example of vernacular American mail art, comprising nine envelopes decorated and postmarked by local postmasters. The illustrations on the envelopes correspond to the towns where they were stamped. Some are straightforward: a bison for Bison, South Dakota; a beetle for Beetle, Kentucky. Some postmasters represented towns named for people with portraits: Alice, North Dakota; Dora, Alabama; Anna and Hiram in Ohio. The postmaster of Redtop, Missouri, drew a redheaded pin-up. The final two envelopes are double-stamped, and appear to be collaborations between postmasters. Postmarks for Adsit, Virginia, and Becida, Minnesota, are accompanied by a seductive woman sitting in the corner of a sofa, awaiting her companion. An envelope printed with a vignette of Betsy Ross has been postmarked twice, first from Betsey, Kentucky, and then from Ross, Minnesota, a week later. It is unclear whether this collection was part of a private joke among postmasters, or created in response to some collector’s request: in any event, it’s a delightful survival.