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: Interrupted Mail Clear

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PSRE from COUVA with REGISTRATION NOT ACTIVATED, Trinidad postal history
1890 use of QV 2d PSRE with added QV 4d grey, pair QV 6d olive-black (SG.110,111) pmk'd COUVA B/NO 6 90 to Bishop Auckland, England arriving A/NO 20 90 being an extremely rare example of quadruple 4d postage but due failure to transit through Port Of Spain (circumstances of interruption not yet established) the 2d registration fee could not be employed resulting in there being no Head Office transit cds, no registration label affixed by Port of Spain, and no hooded REGISTERED LONDON transit cds being all the requirements of secure mail.
Mail left Port of Spain NO 6 1890, arrived Barbados NO 8 1890, arrived Plymouth NO 19 1890 as per RMSP homeward schedule attached.
£350



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

AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE CASE OF "O.R.", Victoria postal history
1876 interrupted mail cover to Horse Shoe Bend with QV 1d, 2d pmk'd Sandhurst "4" duplex dated B/MY 29 76. Marked in manuscript "O.R." (Officially Registered) as it contained something of value contrary to law with two strikes framed REGISTERED and oval MORE TO PAY appended "6d" in matching ink. Some faults, soiling and backstamped Redesdale Victoria MY 30 76 clear of missing flap. RPSV Certificate (2008).
The expectation is that the survival rate of Officially Registered covers, because they contained coin or other valuables, for the pre-1885 adhesive period is approximately 1 within every 10,000. This means that most countries can offer no examples. For the whole of the British West Indies group I record only one cover which was compulsorily registered.
£1650

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 1¼ 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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