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Posted Sep 15, 14 18:53 by Leonard Piszkiewicz (lenp99)

Unusual backstamp

Does anyone know anything about the unusual Brooklyn backstamp pictured below? This example is on a cover from England. Was the use of this backstamp confined to incoming foreign mail?


Posted Sep 15, 14 12:18 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

U.S. Official Foreign Air Mail Guide

I have one photo copy for sale, approximately 1,000 pages, complete through 1946, comb bound with plastic covers in seven annual volumes. $2,500 [my cost].

The Official Foreign Mail Guide was a monthly publication for business mailers, informing them of the availability (or not) of air mail service to each foreign destination, letter rates and routes, expected transit times, suspensions of service, and route maps. It provided similar information for incoming mail, including the rates from many countries. Where service was not symmetrical (for most of the war, air mail from the United States to Switzerland was suspended, but incoming mail from Switzerland was not), that is clear from the listings. When mail service was unavailable for lack of transport, that is noted, but when it became available, that too is evident. (See "Occasional" in the listings for service to and from Australia in the November 1944 sample clip below; also take note that the Pacific route to Aden was suspended but the South Atlantic route via Miami was operating.). Until January 1942, monthly route maps were global; after that they were Western Hemisphere only until after the wear ended.  
"The compilation of this important information is made with the full cooperation of the U.S. Post Office Department, the airlines and other interested parties," stated the letter that accompanied the January 1940 inaugural issue. Once the U.S. became a belligerent power, this publication became the only reliable reference for users of international air mail. (Part 2 of the Official Postal Guide, the international volume used by postmasters and postal clerks, was published in July 1941, and not again until July 1946, so it is essentially useless for the years when the U.S. was at war.) This publication addressed the needs of mailers then, and is an exceptionally useful guide for postal historians now, but complete runs for the war years are rare.


Posted Sep 15, 14 7:21 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

September Sale

My sale of "Transcontinental Mail by Water" material is now public. It is linked on my sales page and the direct link is here.

Posted Sep 15, 14 5:42 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

$100,000 reward offer for return of stolen McCoy Inverts

This morning's New York Times has the story here.

Posted Sep 14, 14 21:44 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Soldier's Letter

Martin -

You are correct. The concession extended to East India Company units at that time, and the rank of the addressee is one of those specified in the regulations. Great usage.

Here is an example to Jamaica, sans registry from 1846.



Posted Sep 14, 14 12:03 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

City of Norfolk

Great cover, Rick. Thanks.

Posted Sep 14, 14 11:38 by Martin Hosselmann (m.hosselmann)

GB-Burmah-GB (1854)


it is a Soldiers Letter (to a Soldier) 1d + 6d registration

On the back is only a faint GPO von Calcutta.

Posted Sep 14, 14 10:52 by Rick Mingee (ramingee)

Victoria to the U.S., transpacific


Not sure this will qualify, as it does not have origin contents, so I cannot 100% prove it is from Melbourne. But I have seen other pieces dealing with Adams Express and they all sourced from somewhere in Australia, highly likely it came from Melbourne.

City of Norfolk steamer left Melbourne Dec 3, 1854, via Hobart (3 days later), then Papeete (late Jan) then Honolulu (Feb) and then finally San Francisco March 19, 1855. Private ship letter rated 6-cents due in SF, postmarked March 20. Not quite as nice as yours!!!



Posted Sep 13, 14 20:30 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Long Distance Returned Letter (Reverse)

December 1860: Launceston to Sydney, NSW redirected to London.


Posted Sep 13, 14 20:28 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Long Distance Returned Letter

December 1860: Launceston to Sydney, NSW redirected back to London.


Posted Sep 13, 14 20:22 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Transpacific from Australia... 1852

Sorry John, the best I can do is this February 24, 1852 cover from London to Sydney, NSW to the Surgeon aboard the Barque "Eleanor Lancaster" which is noted on the front as "Gone to San Fran". The "Eleanor Lancaster" being the first ship from Australia to reach San Francisco during the Gold Rush. So, the addressee was transpacific but the cover wasn't...


Posted Sep 13, 14 20:10 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

GB-Burmah-GB (1854)


That is a very striking cover that you posted from London to Burma(h). I think it would be interesting to understand the rate as Registered Mail going overseas, is not often seen. The "51" cancels are used fairly exclusively on registered mails, but the franking is what I would expect to see on a domestic registered cover of that period. Is there more on the reverse?


Posted Sep 13, 14 16:33 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Victoria to the U.S., transpacific

This cover was sent on 23 August 1858 from Yackandandah, in Victoria's goldfields. It went via private sailing ship to Callao, then steamers to Panama and San Francisco.

Can anyone post a pre-1855 transpacific cover from Victoria to the U.S.?


Posted Sep 13, 14 13:31 by David D'Alessandris (davidd)

tax on photographs

the tax on photographs was rescinded effective August 1, 1866.  There were no fractional cent stamps or fractional cent tax rates during the civil war period (for documentary and proprietary taxes, some of the beer and other taxpaids had fractional cent rates)

Posted Sep 13, 14 13:20 by richard babcock (babcock)

Revenue rate changes

Was there a rate change on pictures in 1866? From 2 cents, to two and a half cents? Thank you.

(Just added the picture).


Posted Sep 13, 14 11:56 by Martin Hosselmann (m.hosselmann)

GB - Burma - GB

Registered Soldiers Letter 1854, Prome Dead Letter 3/2/55, Back to GB


Posted Sep 13, 14 11:39 by Roger Heath (decoppet)

GB to Moulmein, Burma 1863 Returned

Back missing flap


Posted Sep 13, 14 11:38 by Roger Heath (decoppet)

GB to Moulmein, Burma 1863 Returned

Similar to Andrew's 6d rate to Thayetmyo.

This posted February 17, 1863 via Calcutta. Red boxed "Unclaimed" and GPO Calcutta on reverse. Proceeded to London and ?? to London in red ink.


Posted Sep 13, 14 11:11 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Earliest known covers into the US

Ravi's cover is very early into the US from India. One of my side interests is in identifying the earliest known covers into the US from some of the more unusual foreign origins. Does anyone know of an earlier cover (with postal markings) into the US from India? What about the earliest from China?

Posted Sep 13, 14 7:39 by Ravi Vora (nusivar)

Pacific Origin Cover with San Francisco STEAM SHIP Cancel

I am posting this cover bearing 10c (Sc#150) on a cover with SAN FRANCISCO STEAM SHIP / OCT 24" cancel. Can anyone help determine origin (Japan or China?) and year of use of this cover? Many thanks.



Posted Sep 13, 14 7:32 by Ravi Vora (nusivar)

Early India to USA

It was great to meet many of the Board members at TPR in Fort Worth last weekend...I am humbled by some incredible posting of early USA-India postal history covers shown on the board.

I will do my bit with a more modest item. It is an 1807 folded letter datelined Bombay to Providence Rhode Island via Savannah Georgia....A rather unusual route. There are no transit marking but welcome any insights on routing of this item.

Thanks in advance.



Posted Sep 12, 14 21:10 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)


so I'm reading it upside-down

Posted Sep 12, 14 20:38 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


I don't see the ZIP code you noted. Did you invert it? I see IL 600 in the dial, which I believe is the Arlington Heights SCF, which in turn was, maybe still is, home to a Special Forces post from which many off-the-books secret operations were managed, so a reasonable place for mail of military origin to be brought for entry.

Posted Sep 12, 14 20:07 by Richard Matta (rkmatta)

modern cover

This is an interesting refugee cover from 6 weeks after the fall of Saigon - the return address is Subic Bay, the cover says "refugees camp tent city Guam" and the zip code 00971 would be Puerto Rico. My question is where did it enter the mail, on a US naval vessel?


Posted Sep 12, 14 19:11 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Philadelphia to Burmah

1870, via India


Posted Sep 12, 14 19:10 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Philadelphia to India

Mistakenly sent to New Zealand, where postmarked in Dunedin, then rerouted via Madras.


Posted Sep 12, 14 17:58 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

1849 - Batavia, Java to London forwarded to Boston, MA

August 22, 1849 datelined cover from Batavia, Java sent via Baring Bros in London and then forwarded onward in London on November 2, 1849 via Cunard Packet to Boston.


Posted Sep 12, 14 17:52 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

GB to Burma to GB 1862/3 (Reverse)



Posted Sep 12, 14 17:51 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

GB to Burma to GB - 1862/3 (Front)

November 20 1862 6d rate cover from London to officer in 60th Royal Rifles at Thayetmyo, Burma, arriving February 17, 1863 which was then redirected back to London again arriving May 20, 1863. Six months and a day.


Posted Sep 12, 14 17:46 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Burma (1856)

A slightly more colorful usage of the 4d and 2d values to pay the 6d rate then in effect, from Derby, England to Rangoon, Burma from December 18, 1856. 1d credit to the postal administration.


Posted Sep 12, 14 17:44 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

Burma (1855)

Overland Mail via Southampton to Rangoon --- April 2, 1855 from Halifax, England.


Posted Sep 12, 14 17:41 by Andrew Reid (andrewukusa1847)

India (1847)

This October 14, 1847 cover from Exeter, England to Calcutta, though humble is the earliest use of a One Shilling embossed issue to frank a cover to India per the Overland Route via Southampton that I have seen to date. I am certain that there are earlier examples with multiples of the 1841 2d blue issue.


Posted Sep 12, 14 17:08 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

7R1E vs the world

I suppose we won't know whether Bernard's perspective holds up until years from now, but as a philatelist who is fascinated by Toppan Carpenter's products and the Chase/Ashbrook classifcation of design types, I certainly disagree with the idea that the 1c imperforate Type I (7R1E) is a "minor" plate variety.

There are many, many postal history "rarities" that are prized by specialists, but would be considered to be of minor importance by other collectors.

Fortunately, we can all have our own favorites and enjoy them without throwing stones at the other glass houses in the neighborhood.

Posted Sep 12, 14 15:33 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Newbury cover -- nice, but how nice?

To make a strip with the 7R1E the ne plus ultra makes no sense at all to me.  Any first day cover of the issue is more important.  Compare for example with Steve's blockade runners for excitement.  Or pioneering route covers -- a Great Western, a pioneering cunarder, etc. etc. There are so many pieces of great postal history out there, that I just can't see how a minor plate variety can compete.  I wonder what Gordon would say is, not  his favorite, but his greatest?
I am suggesting that Ashbrook's criteria, if they ever were valid, belong to a different era -- how many postal history buffs if hooked up to a philatile plethysmograph would go off the dial on a 7R1E?

Posted Sep 12, 14 15:01 by richard babcock (babcock)


The Flag on the back looks to be a France flag,The one on the front could be a Endicott flag.

It might be a colonial flag, but should not have the blue circle.

Likely a modified colonial flag.

Posted Sep 12, 14 14:26 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

India 1791 to US

Can't think of much outgoing, but incoming 1791 to US.  Also incoming war of 1812 via GB and another on the famous Caravan, captured (illegally I believe) by the British in Brazil and retaken by the Americans.  Latter two probably currently  in the Walske magnificance.

Posted Sep 12, 14 13:44 by Robert heasman (glebe50)



I cannot speak to the flags, but there are a number of references to the Sully in Square Riggers on Schedule by RG Albion.  Sully was a ship of the  Havre -old Line-  and had a long history of sailing between NY  and  Havre between Aug 1827  and March 1846. 

Posted Sep 12, 14 12:17 by Bob Bramwell (rudy2donline)

Ships Flags

The image is identified as ship Sully, which may have been a packet running New York to Havre in 1828 (it could also be any other ship named Sully).  I'd like to know whether anyone can identify the flags so prominently displayed that the picture must be for display in the owners board room.



Posted Sep 12, 14 10:57 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

India (Burma) to Boston, 1855 reverse

Reverse of the previous cover


Posted Sep 12, 14 10:55 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

India (Burma) to Boston, 1855

This is one of my favorites, because of the early adhesives used to pay the rate from Henthada/Sarawah to Calcutta. Datelined March 17, 1855 it went to the UK at Southampton on P&O steamers. It then transited London on its way to Liverpool for the May 6 sailing of Cunard Africa, which arrived at Boston on July 7, 1855. Per Starnes, the 45c rate was in effect from July 1849 to Jan. 1856. Reverse on next posting.


Posted Sep 12, 14 10:37 by Martin Hosselmann (m.hosselmann)

From Calcutta 1856

"Running Mail via Diamond Harbor"


Posted Sep 12, 14 10:35 by Martin Hosselmann (m.hosselmann)

From Calcutta 1856

Per After Packet


Posted Sep 12, 14 10:24 by Martin Hosselmann (m.hosselmann)

New York 1870



Posted Sep 12, 14 10:23 by Martin Hosselmann (m.hosselmann)

New York 1870

via San Francisco to Calcutta


Posted Sep 12, 14 10:16 by Martin Hosselmann (m.hosselmann)

India to Canada



Posted Sep 12, 14 10:15 by Martin Hosselmann (m.hosselmann)

India to Canada

via Ireland and New York


Posted Sep 12, 14 9:05 by Martin Hosselmann (m.hosselmann)

To India



Posted Sep 12, 14 9:04 by Martin Hosselmann (m.hosselmann)

To India

Telgram Envelope


Posted Sep 12, 14 9:02 by Martin Hosselmann (m.hosselmann)

To India



Posted Sep 12, 14 8:55 by Stephen T. Taylor (UK) (stevetayloruk)

India to USA discriminatory rate 1847

Here's my contribution from India to the States: Calcutta, India to Boston, MA 9 Sept 1847 via forwarding agents Baring Brothers London.  “Calcutta Ship Letter”, boxed “India” of London 23 Oct & paid 1sh discriminatory rate & carried on 2cd voyage of Ocean Line’s “Washington” from Southampton 24 Oct to New York arriving 9 Nov.  “29” rate handstamp of New York for UK/US discriminatory rate.  Rare origin & usage (have only had 2 other westbound discriminatory rate covers - both from from UK)                                                      


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