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: Maritime Clear

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SAILOR'S LETTER WITH CONCESSION RATE PAID BY 1d COIN, Antigua postal history
1845 entire headed May 26th 1845 from John King, Master at Arms on board Her Majesty's Ship Pique, Antigua (a naval soldier responsible for discipline and law enforcement aboard a ship) countersigned Horace Baker (Lieutenant & Commanding Officer) to his wife in Devonshire Buildings in Bath without the customary manuscript "1d paid" in red ink (as applied on land) but with his last ("my last") GB QV 1d coin sewn alongside the address panel confirmed by London PAID JU 20 1845 transit (not deemed overweight or subject to additional charge). Although a few dozen Soldier's Letters are recorded for the prestamp period this seems to be the only recorded accepted stampless Sailor's Letter from the BWI prior 1850. Contents include mention of discovery that the Foremast is so rotten, and a portion sent to the Admiralty with expectation of being ordered Home by September unless the mast is ordered to be built at Halifax or Port Royal "which I do not think they will do now the ship is three years in Commission". (Between 1841 and 1846 Pique, a sailing frigate with 36 guns, served on the North America and West Indies Station, on 10 March 1842 the Illustrious (see David Pitts lots 39, 159), with the Pique, Fair Rosamond and Spitfire departed Barbados for Antigua and Jamaica).
A scan of the entire has been mounted on card and an actual 1845 1d coin has been sewn on with hemp, using the original 7 in and 7 out needle holes, to simulate how it could have looked, although it was on reverse in actual transit. Only one other BWI prepayment by sewn 1d coin entire is known written January 24th 1847 and posted on land with ANTIGUA double arc JA 27 1847 on a Soldiers Letter (ex Gerald Sattin) to a shoe maker in Edinburgh, the coin evidently was also sewn to the reverse as the circumference of the sewing holes obscure the frontal addressing.
£6500


HRH Prince Alfred round-world-voyage ended by Fenian assassination bullet, Gibraltar postal history
1867 cover from Tinahely to W.H. Symes, HMS 'Galatea', Gibralter (sic) with pair GB QV 1d red Plate 84 and strip of three, single Plate 85 pmk'd Rathdrum "388" diamond numerals when Ireland was a part of Great Britain, Tinahely and Rathdrum backstamps for MR 16 67 with London MR 18 67 transit. Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Victoria's second son (1844-1900) was never expected to be King and joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman aged 12. In 1867 he commissioned and commanded the 'Galatea' for a voyage around the world which would include the first royal visit to Australia. On FE 26 1867 the 'Galatea' left Plymouth Sound for the Mediterranean with stops at Lisbon, Gibraltar (MR 14 to 26), Malta, a stay at Marseilles prior a crossing to Rio de Janeiro, returning via Tristan Da Cunha, staying at Cape of Good Hope prior onwards to Adelaide, South Australia with subsequent stays at Melbourne, Victoria and Tasmania. The tour was abruptly curtailed in Sydney NSW on MR 12 1868 when Henry James O'Farrell, a Fenian sympathiser, attempted to assassinate the Prince - the Duke fell forwards on his hands and knees exclaiming "Good God! I am shot; my back is broken". On board was surgeon James Young, M.D. and Assistant Surgeons William L. Powell and William H. Symes (1851-1933 of Tinahely), the two former names being mentioned as giving immediate assistance to His Royal Highness who was tended back to health by six recently arrived nurses trained by Florence Nightingale.
Full details of the voyage can be found in the 487 page book entitled "The Cruise of H.M.S. Galatea" by John Milner and Oswald Walters Brierly. Prince Alfred was the first serious stamp collector in the royal family. He sold his collection to King Edward VII who shared his enthusiasm, who in turn gave it to his son King George V. Keenly expanded by the latter the two collections became the basis of what is now the Royal Philatelic Collection.
£1250

Cardiff, Wales to Gibraltar postal history
1872 wrapper to Gibraltar with GB QV 2d blue strip of three, single Plate 13 attractively displaying CORY/C perfins pmk'd CARDIFF duplex dated JU 14 72.
At this time the circled "S" handstamp to identify mail routed via Spain was not used (July 1870 to July 1875) as the 8d rate alone was sufficient to identify mail received by the more expensive and thus uncommonly used overland route. John Cory came to Cardiff as a shipbroker and shipowner in 1872 and established 'John Cory Sons & Co". On his death in 1891 he owned 21 steamers with another three large steamers being built on the Clyde.
£350

RARE LATE RE-INTRODUCTION MARSEILLES ROUTE, Ceylon postal history
1871 cover marked "per French Steamer Via Marseilles" to London with DLR 1d blue, 1/- reddish violet pmk'd A/COLOMBO/DE 19 71 duplex with clear red London Paid 15 JA 72 arrival, reverse red Galle Paid DE 20 71 transit cds.
The Franco-Prussian War saw the closure of the overland Marseilles 1/1d route to the UK with mail being switched to the Brindisi route (initially 1/4d, reduced 1/- early 1870). The surface route via Southampton stayed at 9d. After the German victory in 1871 two covers are recorded with 1/1d rate by French steamer (other OC 23 71 with 5d, 8d to Aberdeen). These short-lived late uses come just before the introduction of new currency JA 1 1872. The last Pence issue sailing via Brindisi was DE 26 71
£1000


FIRST EVER MAIL CARRIED BY TWEED - PRIOR START R.M.S.P. SAILINGS FROM FALMOUTH 3rd JANUARY 1842
1841 business entire from Messrs. Stewart & Westmoreland, London to Alexander Logan, May Hill P.O., Manchester, Jamaica initially marked “Paid” and rated “8” with red PAID SHIP LETTER/(crown)/17 DE 17/1841/LONDON, but with the “Tweed” leaving for her West Indies station the following day the entire changed to “p. packet” and duly rated 1/- (unpaid) prior precise inscription of “By Ship” (no R.M.S. prefix as the R.M.S.P.Co not officially up and running) and “Steamer Tweed” arriving as a “ship letter” as handstamped KINGSTON SHIP LETTER (SL3) dated JA 17 1842. An exceptional first page item of R.M.S.P. Co. postal history showing all the intricate detail of “first ever” mail carried by the company to the West Indies.
The R.M.S.P. handbook by Kenton & Parsons notes on Page 10 that the Tweed “carried some Ship letter mail to Jamaica and Arr. 17/1”
£5250
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