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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Mail to the "U.S.S. Michigan" (Fenian Raids/Canada), MALTA postal history
1872 cover marked "Via Italy & Germany" to a U.S. Naval Lieutenant on the U.S.S. Michigan, Erie, Pennsylvania with GB QV 1d, 3d, 6d pmk'd Malta "A25" duplex dated B/NO 18 72 showing London Paid (NO 26) but without arrival backstamps, small corner fault.
U.S.S. Michigan was the first iron-hulled ship in the U.S. Navy and was built in response to the British Government arming two steamers in response to the Canadian rebellion in the late 1830's and operated on the Great Lakes out of Erie, Pennsylvania. Irish immigrants in the Fenian Brotherhood, after the American Civil War, saw their opportunity to attack the British Empire at their weakest point on the borders with Canada, and seize a sufficient portion of Canada to form a belligerent government recognised by the United States. In early June 1866, 850 Fenians led by Col. John O'Neill crossed the Niagara River. Battles with Canadian Volunteer Forces and British regiments were fought at Ridgeway and Fort Erie, and with some 2,000 to 3,000 re-inforcements unable to cross from Buffalo the raid was effectively over. In 1866 the 'Michigan' intercepted and interned the army of the Fenian Brotherhood as it returned from its invasion of Canada near Buffalo (see pages 82-83 of enclosed book).
£625


QUEENSLAND postal history
1875 Wagstaff family cover from California with U.S. 3c x 2, 10c tied segmented cork cancels with adjacent red SAN FRANCISCO PAID cds dated MAR 8 and marked "per City of Melbourne Ship" to John Wagstaff, Agricultural (Station?), Rockhampton, Queensland forwarded with tied Queensland QV 2d blue to Lily Vale via Gainsford, backstamped Brisbane AP 5 75 with Rockhampton AP 9 75 arrival and forwarded Rockhampton AP 22 75 with Lilly Vale MY 3 1875 arrival. An exceptional combination.
On JA 1 1874 the rate to all Australian Colonies, New Zealand and Fiji was reduced to 2d.
£3000







THE UNIQUE B.W.I. "DOUBLE COUNTRY" JAMAICA and BAHAMAS SAILOR'S CONCESSIONARY RATE ENTIRE
1835 entire "From Alexander Spain on board His Majestys Brig Wasp" to his sister Charlotte Spain in Southampton countersigned on face by J.N. Syke, Lt. Acting Commanding Officer with "Paid 1" in horizontal oval and matching red ink LIVERPOOL AP 14 1835 arrival backstamp. Written at Port Royal, Jamaica 12th February, travelled with him to Belize, with cross-written finish at Nassau, Bahamas 12th March with "since writing the first part we have been with troops to Honduras in New Spain and thence to this place on the same errand". Opening tear into address panel hardly detracts, some small internal splits but clean with delightful content including mention of fond memories of picking buttercups and daisies on their way to school.
No privilege rate countersigned pre-stamp Sailor's letters are currently recorded from Jamaica (which is quite extraordinary for such a large island) or the Bahamas, and the only two recorded entires as such for the B.W.I. group, are from Antigua (HMS Pique MY 26 1845) with rate paid by attached sewn 1d coin, and 1d paid from Alexander to his sister Charlotte Spain on the Wasp while again at Belize 30 June landed Dartmouth 29 August 1835. The "Wasp" was built during 1811-12 and at this time was on duty on the North America and West Indies station with 85 officers and men, 24 boys, 20 marines. Alexander Spain was a first class boy waiting to be rated. He mentions homecoming in about 20 months - the Wasp arrived Portsmouth 15 April 1837 having left Jamaica 11 February but during a gale on 4 April she lost her foremast and straps plus her bowsprit during a mid-Atlantic collision with the Elizabeth due poor visibility.
£2800



VICTORIOUS "PORTLAND" RAN AGROUND in RIVER SHANNON and STRANDED, ANTIGUA INTERRUPTED PACKET MAIL
This entire is headed “Antigua 28th Octr 1796” and marked “by Portland packet” from the Tudway correspondence to Wells, Somersetshire with handstruck S:KITTS rated 2/- changed 3/2. The “Portland” had left Falmouth with the mails for the Leeward Islands on AU 29 1796 and when off Barbados was attacked by a French privateer in which she beat off the attacker and preserved the mails. The Cook, William Thomson, lost a leg during the fighting and subsequently died of his injuries. In calm seas, near Guadeloupe, another armed privateer, the “Temeraire”, of much superior force gave chase. At daylight on October 18th the enemy hoisted her French colours and came alongside to board. The Master, Nathaniel Taylor, organised the passengers to open their musquetry upon her killing or wounding 41 of 68 on board. Captain Taylor was killed in the moment of victory. The “Temeraire” was taken into Montserrat as a prize, and the “Portland” left St. Kitts on 30th October bound Falmouth. Due a shortage of fresh water she put into the River Shannon on the west coast of Ireland on 6th January 1797. Sailing shortly after she had to put back because of bad weather, and whilst sheltering she was driven from her moorings and higher up the river ran aground. Stranded and waiting to be refloated on the Spring Tides she eventually arrived at Falmouth on 25th March. In the interim the Mate, Richard Leonard, personally took the mails from Limerick to London and they were placed in the post JA 14 97 per backstamp. This is the first recorded “Portland” interrupted mail entire clearly documenting its journey. The full story can be found in “The History of the Sailing Packets to the West Indies” by Len Britnor Pages 72-73 published by the BWI Study Circle 1973.
£2250


HRH Prince Alfred round-world-voyage 12 days prior assassins bullet, New South Wales postal history
1868 (MR 1) concession rate cover, signed by Francis H. Poore Commanding Officer, to London from Sgt. Wm. Grimes 61 Company Royal Marines H.M.S. "Galatea" - Sydney with 3 x GB QV 1d red Plate 93 pmk'd mail-boat "A99" with London AP 26 68 arrival. Perf. faults and edge soiling. 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 but the tour was abruptly curtailed in Sydney New South Wales 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". His Royal Highness 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.
£1750


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

BERMUDA postal history
1884 cover marked "per Orinoco" to Roxbury, Massachusetts with QV ˝d stone, QV 2d bright blue CC wmk (SG.19,4) tied K3a "5" duplex used Paget East dated A/AP 10 84. A rare combination as such.
The David Pitts chart only recorded K3a "5" on one example 2d blue CC (SG.3/4) and two examples on ˝d stone. My own chart could only record K3a "5" on one 2d blue CC and one copy ˝d stone.
£1750


BERMUDA postal history
1883 cover p. S.S. "Orinoco" to Troy, Ohio with QV ˝d stone, pair QV 1d rose-red (SG.19,23) tied HAMILTON K3 "1" duplex dated A/DE 6 83 during the first blue ink period March 1882 to January 1884. This is a very rare combination as the few covers known in this band of use are normally made up with QV ˝d, 2d franking.
The OC 1 1876 USA-Bermuda postal convention set a 2d rate effective OC 3 1876 between the two countries but allowed Bermuda to charge 2˝d per half ounce. Bermuda had no ˝d adhesive until the ˝d stone was issued MR 25 1880 and accepted the loss during the interim years.
£375

BERMUDA postal history
1884 cover marked per "Nubian" with 1880 QV 4d orange-red (SG.20) pmk'd ST. GEORGES K3 "2" duplex dated A/FE 21 1884 to London locally directed with crowned "R" handstamp to denote no additional charge, reverse with (early) black HAMILTON (H1, first period blue ink ended January 1883) dated B/FE 21 84 and red London MR 13 84. A rare cover from the second voyage of the "Nubian".
The first voyage of the "Nubian", in transit from Virginia on an experimental new service for the Union Line, was announced to call at Hamilton on JA 10 1884. The ship was five days late and single covers are known from St. Georges pmk'd JA 10 1884 and JA 15 1884 and both landed with red LIVERPOOL SHIP cds.
£450
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