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Posted Oct 16, 21 8:42 by Ravi Vora (nusivar)

1856 Registered Cover from Germany to England


Seeking help with questions on this registered cover from Germany via (Belgium?) to London. Bears Registration cancel of London in front. Questions: 1. In absence of either the stamps or rate markings, what was the postage and who paid it? 2. Was this cover routed via Belgium or France? 3. Identification of red wax seal. (See No. 29208 ). Thanks.

Ravi Vora


Posted Oct 15, 21 14:00 by Tim O'Connor (drtimo)

Flag of Truce

Nice Richard. Here's another Flag of Truce letter. George Lord Cornwallis is writing to Gov. Neilson about POW exchanges. Tim


Posted Oct 15, 21 13:17 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Flag of Truce (got lucky thanks to a backflap hint)

A description of a cover that will be in my next sale (and one that I did manage to catch on the fly as having potential):

[Flag-Of-Truce Cover, from Bluegrass, Kentucky to Col. William CP Breckinridge, 9th KY Cavalry, Morgan Raiders] this cover bears an albino embossed flap (image here) with the name "Issa" on it, Issa D. Breckinridge was Col. WCP Breckinridge's young wife who was living in Bluegrass region of Kentucky in August 1863. This is an inner cover that was carried in US mails from Kentucky to Washington, DC where it was censored with "Ex" and initials (JNB?) before entering the CSA postal ssytem with a 10c blue (#11) tied by Richmond, VA Aug 23 1863" datestamp, it was originally sent to Col. WCP Breckinridge, care of Genl. Joseph Wheeler at Chattanooga, TN, it was removed from the mails and re-mailed to Bragg Hospital in Newnan, GA with postage paid by additional 10c blue (12, cut into) and tied by "Chattanooga Ten. Nov. 19" datestamp, minor soiling, a great use not previously delineated fully

William C.P. Breckinridge served as a Colonel in the 9th Kentucky Cavalry under General Wheeler from 1862 until the end of the war. He was wounded several times, and had two horses shot from under him. In researching this cover I discovered a transcript of an August 3, 1863 letter from his wife Issa that mentioned, "All I care for is just once more to be near you." Shortly after this letter was sent, Issa moved to Canada where she spent the duration of the war.

A pdf file of Breckinridge's war record is here.


Posted Oct 14, 21 18:58 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Eubanks lot 262

Day after sale it was reported that this beautiful entire had a long repaired tear into address, so we canceled the sale.

Not only did we misidentify entire, we missed the expert repair.

Shameful, really.

Posted Oct 14, 21 18:13 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Siegel Eubanks sale

Lot 262 is shown as unsold. Siegel described it as a Scott U10 envelope, but it is Scott U2.

Posted Oct 14, 21 17:15 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Eurbanks sale

One that ook my breath away was the nearly $21000 net for the pointing hand way marking cover.   And it did not go to either of the two way cover collectors.
Also, the Washington Franklin illustrated postmark cover, alas, was not even close to finding a home in my fancy manuscript marking collection.  

Posted Oct 14, 21 15:35 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Brits in World War I


APRL has Charles R. Entwistle, A brief outline of the British Army postal services during World War I and, same author, A priced checklist of British Army & field post offices 1914-1919.

Also this: James N. Boyden, A postal history of the American Forces that used the British mails during World War I, 1917-1923

Posted Oct 14, 21 13:58 by Steve Walske (steve w)

Obscure Question

Can anyone point me to a reference that identifies the World War I British Expeditionary Force Army Post Offices and Field Post Offices?


Posted Oct 13, 21 19:37 by Scott Trepel (strepel)

Artificial Legs

Benjamin Franklin Palmer’s patented prosthetic leg was a well-known invention. You can learn about him and it with a Google search. Richard’s hunch about the Crimean War is logical, but I haven’t found any direct links yet. A good research project.

Posted Oct 13, 21 17:53 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

The 1851 sale

Thanks to all who supported the sale. As with most sales some bargains and some prices took my breath away. Overall about 50% above estimates. As far as I know, no lots were passed ie every lot sold?

I have to thank Siegel Auction Gallery and Scott Trepel for an extraordinary effort from start to finish. I could not be happier that many collectors can now appreciate the items as I did. During the entire sale it felt like the hobby is strong


Posted Oct 13, 21 16:47 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Artificial Legs

"Cannon to right of them, cannon to left of them..."

I guess we should expect a description like the one RF mentioned, from someone who created an exhibit with the title Well Hanged.

The results speak for themselves. Offhand, it looks like over $3 million hammer price total with .2% Unsolds.

And for those of us who care about such things, we now have an additional yardstick to help analyze an auction: How few lots are sold per hour.

I liked how the essays, proofs, stamps, and covers were intertwined. Don't recall seeing it done this way for a long time, maybe not since Ishikawa's Hong Kong in 1980.

Posted Oct 13, 21 15:22 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Artificial Legs

In the wonderful Eubanks Part II sale at Siegel today, I did not think fast enough when the 1856 cover below flashed by. Description included "prosthetic manufacturers' corner cards are rare--they are especially unusual before the Civil War, when business was a-boomin' due to field hospital amputations" -

After the lot closed it hit me, Crimean War!


Posted Oct 13, 21 13:53 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

'Germany' Overprint

Thank you Dave and Ken. Yes, I was in contact with Greg off-board and he mentioned he would be forwarding this cover out for diagnosis.

Technically, this isn't an 'overprint,' is it? Wouldn't 'private handstamp' be more accurate?

Dave: I smelled a philatelic connection when I came across this cover. Thanks for fleshing it out for me.

Posted Oct 13, 21 5:53 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

"Germany" overprint

Yesterday Greg Shoults asked me about that cover. This was my reply:

Earlier, Charles Sidney Thompson overprinted 1¢ W-F stamps WAR STAMP as a suggestion that the POD charge a postal tax to fund the WW1 war effort. Congress did raise the letter and postcard rates by 1¢ as a war tax. Your o/p appears to be either an acknowledgment that the rate increase was cost by Germany, or a protest against it.


Posted Oct 12, 21 23:02 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Schroder correspondence

Somewhere I have a couple of covers about the same time from that orrespondence.  Don't remember the origin, maybe US.  What I do remember is that they were once owned by Chase, who spent time in France.  And that they had manuscript rate markings which do not make any sense and which are, I believe, fake.  Which is passing odd.

Posted Oct 12, 21 20:40 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

George D - re Percy Mann

He was a Philadelphia dealer and collector who enjoyed creating "unusual souvenirs". For example, see Bomar's third edition, pages 516 and 517.

Posted Oct 12, 21 20:09 by Mike Ellingson (mikeellingson)


Big enough territorial collector to have his own sale I guess..

The sale had almost 80 lots of Dakota Territory material totaling almost 400 Dakota covers, including a balance lot of 212 different Dakota covers, which sold for the whopping sum of $200.


Posted Oct 12, 21 19:47 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

'Germany' handstamp on 1917 one-cent GW issue

This cover was mailed from Shreveport, La to Philly in 1917 franked with a 2-cent GW and a one-cent GW. The one-cent has a purple diagonal overprint or handstamp that reads 'Germany.' I know I've seen this somewhere before, but for the life of me can't remember the purpose of the handstamp. Can anyone shed some light on this? Also, note the manuscript cachet. Could the two be somehow related? Verso of the cover has no markings of any kind.


Posted Oct 12, 21 18:53 by Rick Kunz (segesvar)

Who, or what was Darlington?

Recently I sold a Dakota Territorial cover which was backmarked "Ex-Chase" and "Ex-Darlington." Chase is no problem, but who or what was Darlington?

Posted Oct 12, 21 14:12 by Barry Elkins (elkman3)

andalusia pa - last post

attached is a scan of the top of the 1st page of the letter - date is 5 mo 2_ 1816


Posted Oct 12, 21 8:48 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Guess Once Again

Distances were calculated based on postal route the letter was actually carried. So, They used postal maps to determine and contractor information.

That small office would not have made a mistake in the mileage to Philadelphia or to New York. You are reading the date incorrectly, or the rate is correct.

Posted Oct 12, 21 8:11 by Barry Elkins (elkman3)

Andalusia to NY

I used mapquest to calculate:  Andalusia to Bristol PA; Bristol to Trenton NJ via current USA Route 13; Trenton via Princeton & New Brusnwick via current USA Route 1 and Holland Tunnel to New York = 77 miles.  My interest in this cover is that the letter is headed Byberry (in Philadelphia County), post office opened around 1826.  Thanks everyone for your help and suggestions.

Posted Oct 12, 21 7:42 by John Barwis (jbarwis)


Look up the distance the post office used for Philadelphia to New York. That has to be greater by a few miles than the distance from Andalusia to New York, because Andalusia is northeast of Philadelphia. Mail from Andalusia took the same route from the Delaware river crossing to Manhattan.

Posted Oct 12, 21 6:19 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

Guess Again

Try calculating from the Bradley Postal Map here

Or maybe the date is incorrect ....

I am tied up preparing for the big “whale mash” at Siegel this morning.

Posted Oct 11, 21 20:41 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)


Considering the importance of New York and Philadelphia, could the distance between the two have been the basis for the 80-mile standard, and could the actual number have been finagled by the national post office authorities to fit the immediate, higher purpose? If they did, but that led to anyone complaining, what would the complainants do about it, secede? In 1816, right after the war ended?

Posted Oct 11, 21 19:20 by Mike Ludeman (mml1942)

Andalusia-NYC Distance

I am not sure how the measurements worked in the Post Office Departments guide "Table of Post Offices in the United States for 1819", as all distances in this book are given in terms of miles from Washington and the state capital.

For those unfamiliar with these, they are the equivalent of what later became the Postal Guides.

However, this 1819 edition shows Andalusa at 143 miles from Washington and 6 miles from the capital. And New York City is 227 miles from Washington.

The only way I can see a postmaster using this Table to compute distances is to use the values to compute the difference in the distances, which is 227-143 or 84 miles.

If this is an incorrect assumption, then would someone please explain how the postmaster was supposed to use the mileage numbers in these handbooks to determine the distances between post office.

I have examine this one and other earlier editions, and none provide an explanation.


Posted Oct 11, 21 18:37 by Matthew Liebson (liebson)

I extracted a 77.5 on google maps today by avoiding highways, which I think gets a route closer to what the roads of the time would have been.  I expect it was rated as under 80.

Posted Oct 11, 21 17:36 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Andalusia-NYC Distance

I also found 84.7 on google earlier today, but did not report that in, as that number is driving distance on today's highway system. I have no idea what the post road distance was back then, or even how they measured it to determine a rate. Could that distance have been less than 80?

Posted Oct 11, 21 17:23 by John Barwis (jbarwis)

Andalusia borders northeast Philadelphia. According to Google maps the distance from Andalusia to New York is 84.7 miles.

Posted Oct 11, 21 10:16 by Barry Elkins (elkman3)

Andalusia PA

I seem to have misplaced my reference books since my move.  Can someone please check the postal road distance from Andalusia PA to New York?  I have a cover with a May 30 manuscript postmark, letter headed May 28, 1816.  The rate on the cover is 10c.  Andalusia appears to be right on the cusp between 80 and 90 miles from NY, so if the distance was >80 miles, the correct rate should be 12.5c, not 10c.  If <80 mioles therate is 10c, according to the changed rates of May 1 1816.  Between March 31 and May 1, the rate for 40 to 90 miles was 10c.  Was this cover incorrectly charged the restored rate, or was  the distance <80 miles?  See the attached cover; postal markings best viewed in the negative.


Posted Oct 10, 21 20:48 by Terence Hines (thines)

WWII postal history - forwarded special delivery cover.

This cover was postmarked August 25, 1939 (well, I think it's Aug. 25) in Chelsea and sent to Dayton by Pan American airways. There is no receipt mark on the back. When the cover reached Dayton the addressee, Miss Tatlock, had gone to New York to start her trip to England. The cover was forwarded to her on September 1, 1939 by airmail special delivery to the Hotel New Yorker in New York City. The hand written note on the cover reads "Germany invaded Poland / Trip to England cancelled." There is a Sept. 2 New York, NY receipt mark on the reverse.


Posted Oct 10, 21 19:44 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

WWII Postal History


It's a real pleasure when you can find postal history that has a personal connection. In 1964 as a youngster I traveled with my family to Europe via the MS Saturnia, an Italian ship. My father was a not very well to do professor on sabbatical, so the stateroom for us 4 kids barely had enough room for us to stand up and turn around.

We traveled back the next year on the Hanseatic. Thanks to an inadvertently successful visit to the casino in Monte Carlo by my father, we had nicer staterooms on the trip back.

I have a few items of postal history relating to these ships that I have picked up over the years that I really enjoy.

Posted Oct 10, 21 19:08 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

Queen Mary

"In 1940 the Queen Mary was turned into a British troop carrier."

And in 1967, my parents and I took her across 'The Pond' when we moved from New York to London.

Terrific cover !

Posted Oct 10, 21 18:11 by Ravi Vora (nusivar)

1784 Port Au Prince to Bordeaux FL

Thanks to all for help on this item. Sorry I misread the origin.

Posted Oct 10, 21 17:53 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

WWII Postal History

Reverse of cover to Queen Mary.


Posted Oct 10, 21 17:51 by A. Lavar Taylor (lavart1)

WWII Postal History

The outbreak of WWII in the European theater on 9-1-1939 generated some interesting postal history. The cover shown below, and in the next post, crossed the Atlantic four times between August and November of 1939.

The cover, franked with British KGVI stamps of 10d and 5d, was sent airmail from Esher, Surrey, on August 18, 1939 to a third class passenger who the sender believed was sailing on the Queen Mary, scheduled to depart NYC on August 23rd. The cover made it to the Queen Mary before it sailed, but the addressee was not found on the ship. The story told by the various markings on both sides of the cover is as follows.

The cover was received by the Cunard White Star Line in NYC on the morning of August 21, per a marking on the reverse. The cover was carried by the ship to the UK. On August 28, the cover received a marking on the reverse which indicated that the letter was "Unclaimed on Board."

Why the cover was not returned to the sender in the UK after the Queen Mary reached the UK is a bit of a mystery to me. Perhaps someone on Board determined that the addressee might be found in NYC. In any event, the cover crossed the Atlantic once again, almost certainly via the Queen Mary.

The Queen Mary departed for NYC on Aug. 30, 1939, just before the Germans launched their attack on Poland. War had been declared by GB on Germany by the time the ship arrived in NYC, so the ship stayed in port for the time being.

There is Sept. 7 NYC arrival marking on the reverse. There was an effort to find the addressee in NYC. There is a marking on the reverse which reads "Inquiry Section Sept. 9, 1939, Returned to New York, NY PO by Care as Unclaimed," and there is a marking on the front which reads "Hotel Parti Left New York, NY, Oct 13, 1939, Rebut." There are two additional markings on the front directing that the cover be returned to the sender.

Finally, there is a partially legible London receiving marking from November of 1939. I haven't checked the sailings from NYC after the outbreak of WWII in Europe to see what ship carried this cover for its 4th crossing of the Atlantic.

In 1940 the Queen Mary was turned into a British troop carrier.


Posted Oct 10, 21 14:22 by Richard Coffey (rcoffey)

Schroder & Schyler

Ravi — Your cover is addressed to Schroder & Schyler the famous (and adventurous) 18th century spice trader that shipped between France and the West Indies, even during the Seven Years’ War. The company website said that the frigate Eulalie was acquired and armed during late 1790s to work their trade with Santo Domingo. Four of the company leaders (from Hamburg) came close to losing their heads during the French revolution. The Bordeaux connection saved them—and probably the company.

Posted Oct 10, 21 13:34 by David Handelman (davidh)

Port au Prince

Per le Mistrale (a ship; but it also means a cold wind, more or less the opposite of a chinook, and on different continents) if that helps at all.

Posted Oct 10, 21 10:57 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)

Port au Prince, Saint-Domingue (Haiti)

Not Portland

Posted Oct 10, 21 10:56 by Ken Lawrence (kenlawrence)


Use the APS Translation service.

Posted Oct 10, 21 10:28 by Ravi Vora (nusivar)

1784 FL Portland (Maine?) to Bordeux, France

I am sharing this two page folded letter from Portland to Bordeaux datelined 1784. I have several questions:

1. Is this letter from Portland, Maine? 2. How was this letter sent (appears to have received in Bordeaux per manuscript marking) in absence of any postal or manuscript marking? 3. What is the earliest mail known from Portland or Maine to France?

Any suggestions on getting letter translated as it appears to be in French. Thank you.

Ravi Vora


Posted Oct 10, 21 9:03 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Postal History Sunday

This week in Postal History Sunday: Things that catch the eye, things that puzzle me, things where I recognize something others don't and things that have a story. 
Have a good day all.

Posted Oct 9, 21 22:12 by steven frumkin (sfrumkin)

Mystery Writing

Hindi or Nepali?

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