Message Board

Time Period:   Username Search:
Order By: Keyword Search:
   Reset Filters


Posted Jul 20, 24 9:38 by David Handelman (davidh)

Disinfected mail

Thank you, Alexios. I speculate that the disinfection of this letter would have occurred at Gibraltar.

After your comment, I did some internet digging. From around 1800, nearby Spain (an ally of the British at the time) had had yellow fever outbreaks, and in 1804, Gibraltar suffered a devastating plague of yellow fever, apparently killing one third of the population. Authorities (mostly the military) became much more, well, authoritarian, and it wouldn't be surprising that fumigation of letters to UK was implemented, since it was the British military in charge of Gibraltar.

Yellow fever is only spread by mosquito bites (and only under very restrictive conditions), so letter disinfection was pointless. But they had no idea how it was spread until late in the 19th century.

Posted Jul 20, 24 6:32 by Alexios Papadopoulos (alexiosp)

Disinfected mail

David H. Those are definitely disinfection slits, although I am not sure who /where it was disinfected. Most unusual!

Posted Jul 19, 24 22:23 by Terence Hines (thines)

James E. Lee

Thanks for the information everyone.


Posted Jul 19, 24 20:44 by Gregory Shoults (w/f coils)

Unusual Repair

I have not seen a repair quite like this. Is it something possible that the Bureau might have done?


Posted Jul 19, 24 18:07 by Scott Steward (steward1815)

James E Lee

Yes, as was indicated earlier, he closed down the web site and just sends out his periodic email list with items for sale. In his last one, a couple months ago, he indicated he was pausing that as he was dealing with some health issues. The contact info I have for him from his list is:

Thanks, Scott

Posted Jul 19, 24 18:00 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

Jim Lee

As far as I know he stopped doing shows but still sends out a newsletter with offerings. I don't have the recent one handy anymore, but an email I have for him (don't know if its still good) is:

Same story on a phone number: (847) 462-9130.

Posted Jul 19, 24 15:52 by Terence Hines (thines)

James E. Lee

Is he still in business? If so, can someone provide contact information.

Thanks in advance.

Posted Jul 19, 24 13:41 by David Handelman (davidh)

Disinfected mail

The 1816--7 cover from Gibraltar to New Brunswick shown has slits on both sides, also visible on the reverse. Does this mean it was disinfected/fumigated? [I have never seen a disinfected letter to British North America.]


Posted Jul 18, 24 8:12 by Leonard Hartmann (hartmann)

American Philatelist

Please, i am in need of Volume 81, No. 4 - 12,     1968

I have many spares


Posted Jul 17, 24 15:23 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

My Final Response

Bernard ... I decided to let your new gibberish response stand as it proves my point that you regard this board as a playground to practice your famous skills in obfuscation.

Any further posts in the next 30 days are very likely to get deleted instantly. Please feel free to refrain from posting at all.

Posted Jul 17, 24 14:59 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

June 1

Richard, The first sending was a send up of that cover. In the last sentence I pointed gently to that fact. As an American, I am allowed to put on a little bit of a Mark Twain mask on ocassion. In response to your first comment, I confirmed that it was not meant seriously, but that there was a bit of a point to the conceit in that clever analyses sometimes need the gimlet eye.

Larry then put up an erroneous suggestion, which I refuted. You then misread both Larry and me, and I attempted to clarify that. My final comment merely confirmed that, both you and I, from the get go did not buy the original fantasy. I don't know why you thought Larry had a valid interpretation.

It is true that some of my postings require careful parsing, though, in this case, only the last sentence of the first posting.

Much more than enough said.

Posted Jul 17, 24 6:58 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Put it Simply

Bernard - If you would cut-out the long-winded gibberish in your posts and "Put it simply" in a clear and concise manner, maybe more of us would have a clue what you are trying to articulate.

Your posts are far too obtuse for mere mortals like me.

Posted Jul 16, 24 16:24 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

June 1 cover

Richard, I believe you have misconstrued both what Larry said and what I said. Larry says the cover was mailed unstamped on May 31 with the Due 3 at origin (his claim that this equivalent to Held for Postage is belied by his next statement) with the stamp added and cancelled at destination. I corrected him and said the stamp was put on and cancelled at origin (and recancelled at destination). Thus your critiique, near as I can tell, merely repeats my version of the story, not Larry's. Note the my original statement had a last sentence indicating I was not serious in the little conceit I put up. My response to your earlier response also rejects the functionality of the the Manchester markings.

To put it simply, I agreed with you even before your first posting!

Posted Jul 16, 24 11:31 by Lars Boettger (lars boettger)


You are a treasure! Many thanks for the link! That matches perfectly to my letter, as the distance between Vera Cruz and Zacatecas in Central Mexico is more than 17 lieues or 71 kilometers away and the weight of the letter is no more than 1/2 ounce. The end date must be the entry of Mexico in the UPU in 1879.


Posted Jul 16, 24 9:35 by Rob Faux (robfaux)


Nice item!

I find the tables and explanation provided here by Jean-Louis Bourgouin to be an excellent resource for your question.  Unfortunately, the work there ends at 1875, so the end date is not there. 

There was another site that had more Mexico specific rates that I thought went into the early 1900s, but I no longer find that with the link I had.


Posted Jul 16, 24 7:35 by Lars Boettger (lars boettger)

Luxembourg via Germany to New York and Mexico 1878

About the following letter from Mondorf / Grand Duchy of Luxembourg via German Steamer to New York and onwards to Mexico, I have one major question:

My guess is that the letter was charged 25 Centavos for the Mexican inland rate (please see black cancel "25 c."). Is one of the board members aware of the regulation this charge was applied? (which paragraph regulated the inland charges, where do I find it written down, from when until when the rate was valid).

This is the fourth letter to Mexico with this particular stamp that I have registered and the only one that is a) after UPU (General Postal Union) for Luxembourg and b) pre-UPU for Mexico; the three other letters are post-UPU. In total, I have five letters to Mexico with the classic stamps of Luxembourg registered.

Many thanks for your help!



Posted Jul 15, 24 16:53 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Bernard’s silly rabbit hole

Lawrence - Don’t follow him down …..

The cover was postmarked on May 31 and upon arrival in Manchester someone, maybe the addressee as an assistant to the PM, played with the old device.

Posted Jul 15, 24 16:24 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

June 1 Manchester, CSA laws

Larry -- the stamp was put on and cancelled at origin, not Manchester. Note that, under the 1856-- regime, a cover without stamps would normally be held for postage (partial exception for way/SB covers with penalty rates. You do sort of make my point, though.

Use of 1859 PL&R -- this meant that the CSA was not quite up to 1861 practice. Also, as I recall, this resulted in at least one ambiguity under the new rates.

I have the recollection that there was some sort of PL&R published in Richmond (c1861-3), which I don't recall ever seeing. Does anyone know of a source?

Posted Jul 15, 24 1:37 by Nick Kirke (nick kirke)

Vince King

Brilliant picture Richard. Just as I want to remember him.

Posted Jul 14, 24 17:02 by Maurice Buxton (mozzerb)

Contacting Jamie Gough

Does anyone have an email address for Jamie Gough? I would like to contact him in case he has any information on the reasons for the introduction and/or discontinuance of the UPU "commercial papers" service, which I suspect will only be found in some fairly obscure UPU documents.

Posted Jul 14, 24 16:03 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

In Memoriam, Arthur Vince King

I just posted a webpage tribute to Vince here.


Posted Jul 14, 24 14:45 by Mike Ludeman (mml1942)

Commemorating the Birth of the CSA PO

Here is the companion form for the Account of Mails Received, which includes entries for letters received between June 1 and July 27, 1861.

The two forms seem to offer a convincing argument that the mails under the new CSA POD during the early days of the Confederacy were accepted by the population, and their use continued just has it had under the original USPOD..

Of course, it may also be the result of this post office being located on the campus of an Institute for the education of young ladies, and parents and daughteres were not going to let anytiing like a "War of the Rebellion" to interrupt conversations with family.l

I have rarely encountred any of these forms even used during the USPOD period, possibly becauase of their large size and which would have minimal value to the postmaster once his quarterly report was submitted and approved by the Department Auditor in Washington DC.


Posted Jul 14, 24 14:39 by Mike Ludeman (mml1942)

Commemorating the Birth of the CSA PO

Not related to the cover posted earlier under the same heading, but on the same topic of Commemorating the Birth of the CSA PO, I would like to show a recent addition to my accumulation of post office forms.

All postmasters were required to submit a report quarterly immediately following the close of each quarter on April 1, July1, October 1 and January1 (for the previous year).  In addition, the USPOD required a number of other reports, two of which were the Account of Mails Sent, and Account of Mails Received.

When John Reagan became Postmaster General, he invited all postmasters in the Southern States to become part of the new Confederate Postal System in their current position as postmaster, and in other instructions, he instructed them that they were to continue to follow all regulations as were published in the USPOD Postal Laws and Regulations edition of 1859, with the exception of the sections on Registered mail and Free franking, which were not to apply.  They were also instructed to continue to use the existing postal forms (or "blanks" in the USPOD terminology).

The image is an example of the "Account of Mails Sent" form used by the post office at Gravel Hill, Buckingham county, Virginia, where Beverly A. Brown was postmaster.  It records the letters sent from his office on June 1, 4, and 6, 1861.  This form measures 12.25" x 18", and includes lines for 44 entries.  The sheet containing this form is 24.5" x 18", which includes four copies of this form, all on one large sheet, with entries through June 29th.

An example of the companion form "Account of Mails Received" is shown in the next post, with entries for letters received through July 27, 1861


Posted Jul 14, 24 14:30 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Postal History Sunday

Postal History Sunday is, of course, available today for all who might enjoy reading it.  If you have subscribed, you should have the most recent edition in your inbox!  If you have not subscribed, you can still take the link to read this week's entry.

Have a good day everyone!


Posted Jul 14, 24 13:12 by Lawrence LeBel (pipestaveswamp)

Commemorating the Birth of the CSA PO

This was addressed to recipient in Manchester, NH.

The due 3 (effectively a "Help for Postage" marking) was then paid for by the 3 cent 1861 issue at Manchester, NH.

It didn't go at all to a southern state thus at least the extra marking of 10 is superfilous

Posted Jul 12, 24 15:39 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


Richard: Yes. There is a point though, which is that, at all levels of knowledge, it one has to be careful about overinterpreting odd items. If you have a large enough historical armamentarium, one can explain almost anything, but caution is due.

Posted Jul 11, 24 18:34 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Manchester PM playing with his devices

on an inbound cover …… nothing more, nothing less

Posted Jul 11, 24 18:08 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Unicorn again

I was looking at a couple of cover recently that are a further suggestion as to the Bogosity of the "Special Arrangement" theory of handling of Cunard covers to US pretreaty. The last night or two I was trying to figure out why I had some notes re Unicorn sailing with one of them. The Unicorn made a private voyage to US in 1846. It came into Boston, but is rated at New York. The three o'clock arrival apparently allowed enough time for a quick sort and same day mailing of a large number of letters.

Note that this is a railroad way letter.


Posted Jul 11, 24 16:48 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


A different Manchester CDS on the back. Were they really using two at the time? Was one for special purposes? -- this one is probably an obsolescent marking.


Posted Jul 11, 24 16:47 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Commemorating the Birth of the CSA PO

On June 1, 1861 the CSA PO cut its links with the USA PO. This cover was posted at South Danvers, Mass on May 31, 1861 and received anomalous markings at destination on June 1, 1861. The Due 3 obviously commemorates the demonitization of USA stamps in situ in the CSA (by both sides). PAID 10 was a major CSA rate. Free obviously has political implications. Perhaps the the Manchester clerk had Southern sympathies. Or maybe I am overinterpreting a peculiar cover just a wee bit. It would be nice to know the relationship between the clerk or DPM and the addressee.


Posted Jul 11, 24 16:06 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

British Ship Rate, Prepaid Incoming Ship Letters

That 1870 notation looks like the treaty rate. Note provision for prepayment. Was the private ship rate the same as the unpaid treaty rate?

Which raises an interesting question. One very rarely. Very very rarelly, especially before franking labels, sees a prepaid incoming ship letter (US). Has any one seen such incoming to UK?

Posted Jul 11, 24 15:25 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


The first Unicorn transatlantic saiing is sort of the odd man out. It was a one way trip (at least for a long time) and did not carry Royal Mail. Of course its role in Canada is of interest, but I wonder how much of the high desirability and pricing the covers get is due to significance and how much simply due to rarity. Obviously the rarity is important. There was at least one non coastal voyage in amelioration of a Cunard accident, which does appeal to me.

The first voyage, that Richard shows, on its normal duties is of historical significance, of course.

A funny story. Some years back I was corresponding with the ocean mail scholar Colin Tabeart and mentioned I had purchased a Unicorn cover, but of course it was not in the class of the famous combination cover with the 1840 labels on 1840 postal stationary. He said mine was better because the famous cover was more in the souvenir class. It was only later that I was reminded he had put an image of the "souvenir" on the cover of one of his major efforts. Fred Robichaud told me he tried to buy that cover (early 1970s?) from Robbie Lowe at something like $20,000, but was too late. It last sold for some fabulous hammer.


Posted Jul 11, 24 9:14 by Mark Cwiakala (cwiakala)

[RASDALE AUCTION] Bid with us! 8/10-8/11/2024

We are representing bidders for the upcoming Rasdale Auction (#460), on August 10th and 11th. The sale will have collections accumulations, stocks, covers, and postcards on the first day. Day 2 will be coins, currency, supplies, literature, postage, and miscellaneous collectibles. See full lots at

If you are interested in representation, contact us before end of day, Thurs, 8/09 at (464) 204-2058 or

Thank you! Mark Cwiakala

Posted Jul 10, 24 17:18 by Mike Ellingson (mikeellingson)

Question for Exhibitors & Their Software Choices

Please post the results!

Posted Jul 10, 24 12:12 by Kimberlee Fuller (kimberlee)

Collectors Club - 1918 Czech Scout Official Mail Delivery (Czech Scout Post) - Frederick Lawrence - 7/10 - 5:30PM

Good afternoon! I look forward to seeing many of you at The Happening in NOLA this weekend. In the meantime, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you to attend our virtual program, scheduled for this evening, Wednesday, July 10, 2024 at 5:30 pm EDT / 3:30 pm MDT / 2:30 pm PDT. Our specialist guest speaker, Frederick Lawrence will discuss "1918 Czech Scout Official Mail Delivery (Czech Scout Post)". This will be our final virtual program before we go on summer break. Then The Club will resume our programming on Wednesday, September 4th, 2024, welcoming Omar Rodriguez!

Frederick Lawrence will discuss the story of the 1918 Czech Scout Official Mail Delivery (Czech Scout Post) and its philatelic record during his program.

If you haven't registered already, please click here or copy and paste the link below into your browser or visit our website:

You do not need to be a member of the Collectors Club to view the presentation. Anyone may join!


Posted Jul 10, 24 11:27 by Steve Walske (steve w)

British Ship Rate

Thanks, Julian

Posted Jul 10, 24 11:03 by Andrew McFarlane (amcfarlane)

Question for Exhibitors & Their Software Choices

The survey is now closed. Thanks to all who took the time to answer.


Posted Jul 10, 24 11:00 by Julian Jones (jonesjh99)

British Ship Rate

From 1840 the British incoming ship letter rate was 8d per half ounce with no additional internal mileage charge.

During the 1850's this was reduced to 6d depending on country of origin. It was set to the same as the outbound ship letter rate to that country.

By 1st January 1858 this became 6d except for France and Belgium.

From 1 January 1870 USA is specifically mentioned as being 3d paid plus a 3d fine for unpaid.

Tabeart deals with this in pages 28 to 33 of his UK Letter Rates 1635-1900. But does not specifically mention USA until the 1870 change.

Winter and Barwis book illustrates an unpaid consignee letter from USA to Plymouth England charged 6d at Liverpool in August 1860.

That's the best I can do to answer Steve's question

Posted Jul 9, 24 6:19 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

A Genuine Unicorn

[Steamer Unicorn Maiden Voyage on Canada Route], July 13, 1840 folded letter from Hampton, England to Toronto, Canada, magenta "T.P. Hampton" two line handstamp, their origin dated backstamp, Hounslow datestamp and "1/-" rate, carried on the Cunard steamer  "Acadia" that departed August 4, 1840 but was off-loaded at Halifax in a sealed bag and then carried on the maiden voyage on the Cunarder the Halifax-Pictou-Quebec route  by the Unicorn, red "Quebec Aug 20" Canadian entry postmark and then onward to Toronto, manuscript "1/4" currency due, and important pioneer use,  ex Booth

The Unicorn was the first ship to sail for the Cunard line. After entering service with Cunard she departed Liverpool May 16, 1840 and arrived in Boston on June 3. She departed to June 10th to Halifax to begin Cunard  service on the Halifax-Pictou-Quebec route. This cover was carried on her first departure from Halifax on the new route.


Posted Jul 8, 24 16:42 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

fantasy Tyrian Sirius cover

Sometimes there is a cover one hopes to see someday, even without concrete evidence. In a wonderful book, the sway of the grand saloon, which I read back in the 80s or early 90s there was a whole chapter with the wonderful story of the Tyrian and the Sirius. The background is that one of the landmarks of transportation was the inaugeration of transatlantic steam powered commercial trave with the race of the Sirius and the Great Western from Great Britain to New York in April, 1838 (the Sirius was a coaster brought in specifically to beat the GW, it started earlier and won by several hours. The GW was the real thing -- arguably the greatest ocean liner of them all). At that time, the Royal Mail had a route between Halifax and Falmouth, with a Cunard feeder line HFX-NYC. The latter was little used.

On its way back from NY in May, the Sirius came upon the eastbound Royal Mail packet Tyrian, becalmed 700 miles West of land. She stopped and was visited by several Tyrian passengers. And the most remarkable event took place. The Royal Mail, in the interest of celerity, was transferred to a private non contract vesse. This more than 2 years before the pioneering voyage of the steamship Brittania under contract to the Post Office (or was it the Navy?). I have never seen a cover until now. This from the Ray Hull (does anyone know who he is?) collection. I think it is one of the very niftiest North Atlantic (or ocean mails in general) covers I have ever come across

it was forwarded on out of England by another ship, the Dart.


Posted Jul 8, 24 11:38 by Andrew McFarlane (amcfarlane)

Question for Exhibitors & Their Software Choices

Exhibitors: As part of an upcoming project, I'm asking exhibitors what software they use to create their exhibits.

I would appreciate it if you could take the time to answer two questions in the survey linked below.

Thank you in advance, --Andrew

Posted Jul 7, 24 15:34 by Leven Parker (levenparker)

Postal History Video

Just published a video extolling the virtues of postal history versus other collecting fields and thought board members might appreciate it.

Posted Jul 7, 24 10:29 by Steve Walske (steve w)

British Ship Rate

Does anyone know what the British incoming ship rates were in the 1860-65 period? Thx

Posted Jul 7, 24 9:18 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Postal History Sunday

It's an explosive Postal History Sunday where Polk and Polk City, Iowa and Ohio, fires and floods meet! If none of that made any sense to you, your only choice is to come read this week's edition.