Roosevelt, Franklin D
(1882-1945) 32nd President of the United States (1933-1945). Extremely rare "The White House" envelope free franked as President, 7¼ x 4¾ in., with "Washington D.C., Sep 15 1940" postmark. The address is typed in blue ink to Abe Schoenfeld, Grand Central Post Office, New York, New York. FDR signed in black ink in the upper right corner of the pale blue envelope. Light wear, else very fine. Accompanied by a 1957 letter from the late autograph dealer Charles Hamilton, explaining to Mr. Morton Dean Joyce the circumstances of this very rare free frank. "…Only because he had done an important political favor for F.D.R. was the owner able to persuade the President--to use F.D.R.'s words--'to break the law.'" Hamilton goes on to explain that this is "not a penalty cover, but a regular White House envelope. The signature of Roosevelt is in the upper right hand corner, and beneath it, almost touching it, is the Washington postmark. It is in beautiful condition and is the rarest of all Presidential franks
In 1775, the Continental Congress authorized franking privileges to its members as a means of informing their constituents, and in 1789, the first U.S. Congress enacted a franking law. The law was much abused, however, and in 1873 Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill titled "An act to abolish the franking privilege," making him the last President to legally be able to frank his presidential mail. In 1875 members of Congress were allowed to frank mail containing speeches, reports, and seeds, then in 1891, they were allowed to frank mail to officers of the federal government. In 1895, the franking privilege was once again restored to members of Congress for official business, but this privilege did not extend to the President. Once a President leaves office, he receives the franking privilege for life, but because he never served in Congress and died in office, FDR never got to use this privilege.
Estimated Value $4,000 - 6,000