MICHAEL HAMILTON
POSTAL HISTORY
POSTMARKS
STAMPS
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SPECIALISING IN THE UNUSUAL - WHETHER IT BE VILLAGE POSTMARKS, THE UNEXPECTED WITH BASIC STAMPS, UNUSUAL POSTAL HISTORY, OR EXCEPTIONAL QV COVERS



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Subject: Disinfection Clear

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THE MARVELLOUS EYE-CATCHING UNIQUE INTER-ISLAND CHOLERA EPIDEMIC COVER
1854 NEVIS to ST. CHRISTOPHER disinfected against cholera: two entires, both with contents, written in the same hand addressed to Wigley & Burt in neighbouring Basseterre. First with no dateline or indication of origin heavily splashed with a disinfection agent, probably vinegar, and showing two 1 inch chisel slits spaced approximately two inches apart having been applied from reverse (penetrating through enclosure and envelope face) conforming with the officially prescribed methods of treatment of the period. Almost certainly written during the 1853/54 cholera outbreaks which spread through the islands leaving 3,920 dead in St. Christopher; 4,000 dead in Trinidad, and over 20,000 in Barbados. Exact dates for the outbreak are not established but a letter from Jamaica dated FE 24 1854 states upwards of ten cases of cholera in Kingston. The second entire, both written by Charles Kenney, is date-lined Nevis 8th July 1854 and was delivered without disinfection as the cholera epidemic had evidently abated by this date. Due the Royal Mail Steamer calling fortnightly, correspondence between the two islands could be exchanged swifter by means of private sloop. Neither entire shows indication of Post Office charge or private conveyance fee. Examples of disinfected mail from one Caribbean island to another are seldom encountered - this being the only recorded entire treated by both splashing and chisels slits which counts as interrupted mail. An exhibition item.
British Parliamentary Papers state St. Kitts escaped the cholera of 1853, while it prevailed in the adjacent island of Nevis, from which it is distant only six miles. A strict quarantine has been kept up, nothing being allowed to land from Nevis except letters, which were first fumigated Communication continued the whole time, but St. Kitts remained unscathed for many months after its cessation in the adjacent island.
£1650
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