MICHAEL HAMILTON
POSTAL HISTORY
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All world BANK TRANSFERS by WISE to Michael David Cameron Hamilton SORT CODE 23-08-01 Account 58021507. No postal charges
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MAIL FROM THE PROLIFIC FORGER Raoul De Thuin, British Honduras postal history
THE FRENCH PHILATELIC AGENCY, P.O. Box 206, Belize was just one of numerous printed address aliases used by the prolific stamp forger Raoul de Thuin to circumvent the spotting by the U.S. Post Office of his fraudulent activities to particular persons or firms (full details in Around The Caribbean 7). This cover with KG6 2c, 3c pmk'd Belize 3 OC 39 to Berlin, USA.
De Thuin (born Belgium 1890, died Guayaguil Ecuador 1975) started his philatelic “work” as early as 1916 leading to a shop in Brussels in 1927. He entered Mexico in 1931 on the run from French and Belgian police who wanted him for forgery. He was expelled from Mexico for setting up a forgery ring and moved to Tegucigalpa, Honduras where he was jailed and expelled in 1936, and then lived in Belize until moving back to Mexico in 1941 where he settled until 1968 when he moved to his wife’s home in Guayaguil. He specialised in forging overprints of Central and South American countries, especially Mexico, turning common stamps into rarities. “The Yucatan Affair” published by The American Philatelic Society illustrates his fabrications on much of the 523 pages. He is quoted as saying that “I have no conscience at all at having deceived all those foolish people. They are just fanatics who neglect their families for their passion.”
£250


SEA FLOOR, Bahamas to American actor Adolphe Jean Menjou
Illustrated and Williamson signed cover with The Development Board MAY 6 1940 departmental cachet with KG6 4d tied SEA FLOOR (twisted A, dropped R) with handstruck str. line "POSTED IN THE WILLIAMSON PHOTOSPHERE" (lower left), and handstruck str. line "Bahamas - Williamson Undersea Expedition" on reverse below Adolphe Menjou Hollywood 1941 signature.
Menjou (1890-1963) has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6826 Hollywood Boulevard. As an American actor his career spanned both silent films and talkies from The Faith Healer (1921) to the State of the Union (1948).
£120

PUNTA GORDA, stated to be from Mitchell Hedges (regarded by many as the real "Indiana Jones")
1926 cover to Sydenham, England with KGV 2c pair tied PUNTA GORDA AP 24 26, marked at base in ink "From Mitchell Hedges, the explorer", opening fault top right corner.
Michael Hedges (1882-1959) is best noted for having discovered what is termed "The Crystal Skull of Doom" at the Maya ruins of Lubaantun in 1927. In 2008 Paramount Pictures released the film "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".
£80

F87 used SMYRNA, British Levant postal history
1883 cover to Thomas Stephenson, Glen Caladh by Greenock with GB QV 2½d tied "F87" with Smyrna B/DE 15 83 cds alongside, b/stamped Greenock DE 25 83.
Glen Caladh Castle had a number of owners including George Stephenson (1781-1848), nephew of the famous engineer and designer of the steam locomotive Rocket. During World War II the castle, situated on the western shores of Loch Riddon north of the Isle of Bute, was requestioned as a training establishment by Combined Operations becoming the Beach Pilotage School 1942-45, and designated H.M.S James Cook, a reference to the advancing navigation skills that the founder of Australia introduced into the Royal Navy, and reflected the task of operators of troop landing craft and their cargoes, and tank landing operations. The property was demolished in 1960, having been rendered unsafe by dry rot.
£225

MAIL TO CO-FOUNDER OF THE UNITED FRUIT COMPANY, Jamaica postal history
1891 cover with U.S. 5c with SWAMPSCOTT MAY 13 1891 to Capt. L.D. Baker, Port Antonio, Jamaica with Boston (MY 13), Kingston (MY 23) and Port Antonio (MY 24 91) b/stamps, reverse stained. The actual history of the UFCo does not start until its foundation in 1899 but the “legend” of the Company goes back to May 1870 when Captain Lorenzo Dow Baker, a well-known Yankee sea captain and owner of the two-masted schooner “Telegraph” arrived in Jamaica from his home port of Wellfield, Massachusetts and filled spare deck cargo space for his return trip to New Jersey with 160 stems of bananas purchased at 14 cents each. On arrival in Jersey City he found they readily sold on the quayside at $2 per stem, and so began Captain Baker’s interest in the banana industry. Six years later in 1876 Captain Baker joined forces with Andrew W. Preston to found the Boston Fruit Company. Some 20 years later forces were joined with Minor C. Keith who had built a railroad in Costa Rica and was using it to transport bananas from the plantations. The three men, each giants in their own field, evolved plans to form a new Company, and on the 30th March 1899 co-founded a new firm, to be called the United Fruit Company, with assets of some 213,000 acres of land in the Central American Republics, some 110 miles of railway, a small fleet of ships and approximately $11,000,000 in capital. Captain Baker’s initial 160 stems of bananas turned into 17,000,000 stems being shipped annually for consumption in the USA by 1899.
£140



ESCAPE BY ROYAL MAIL STEAMER, St. Vincent postal history
Wrapper with ST. VINCENT dbl-arc JY 25 1846 carried by “Eagle” to St. Thomas (JY 29) and by “Teviot” to Fayal in the Azores (AU 13) with 6 or 7 days prior arrival at Southampton and London (AU 20) as diverted for an unscheduled stop at Madeira, as on AU 9 1846 an enraged mob of islanders broke into the house of a British missionary who had practised on the island of Madeira for several years. They ransacked his property and proceeded to burn his books, prints, medicines and other possessions. The doctor was absent, having fled the previous night, forewarned of the impending outrage. The doctor was sheltering briefly with a friend, and managed to slip aboard a Royal Mail Steamer in Funchal Bay and left Madeira, never to return.
£280


AFTERMATH OF BELIZE G.P.O. FIRE, British Honduras postal history
The Post Office was without handstamps and registration labels after the fire of 30 May 1909. This “used elsewhere” cover with printed United Fruit Company, Puerto Barrios, Guatemala is addressed Las Cascades, Canal Zone, Republic Panama and has temporary supplied use of the BELIZE NEW RIVER SERVICE cds dated E/JU 11 09 tying KE7 1c x 6, 2c x 2 (10c rate) with manuscript “R 143” (a new boxed registration etiquette known 3 days later (JU 14 09, Dr. Matheson ERD).
£375


The GHOSTS of POINT ELLICE HOUSE, the most haunted house on VANCOUVER ISLAND
1898 cover to Mrs (Caroline Agnes) O'Reilly (1831-1899, thought to appear as an apparition in the grounds of her house) at Point Ellice, Victoria, Vancouver Island pmk'd KINGSTON AU 10 98 and then mysteriously spirited some 4,432 miles to DUBLIN (AU 24 98, husband Peter originated from Ballybeg, Co. Meath, only 45 miles from Dublin) before travelling a further 4,502 miles to VICTORIA, B.C. PM/SP 6 98 per b/stamp) with I/SP 7 98 and "10" cents tax due handstamp added the next day, some soiling.
Husband Peter, former Indian Reserve Commissioner, is the subject of supernatural investigations at the house which went live on a YouTube video October 31 2020. Visitors and volunteers have had spooky encounters with lights switching on and off, a piano playing on its own, and apparitions chasing them away. In later years "a nice young lady in a blue dress" had shown visitors around the house giving many previously unknown facts, when questioned they went back inside the house and pointed to a blue gown lying across a bed, "that's the one she was wearing" in daughter Kathleen O'Reilly's bedroom. Kathleen had returned! For many years the whereabouts of the grave of Caroline Agnes was a mystery, but in her final year, being so ill, she made a last visit to her family in England, dying only a few days after arrival. Her remains lie in the cemetery at Cheriton, Folkestone (only 2.1 miles down the road, a 39 minute walk, from me!).
£475





CONFEDERATE sloop-of war transfers YANKEE P.O.W.s to DANISH brig, St. Croix postal history
1863 letter written April 13 by semi-literate Dudley K. Dow to his "mothere" Mrs Thomas Dow, Deer Isle, Maine, USA stating that he had been taken by the Felardy (his hearing/understanding for the Florida) and "Cent in to Cante Croix", his postscript in ink confirms that his stay on the island has been dull "the times hire is dool" but mentions "we shell leave here to day For home", posted in small envelope, slightly trimmed at left, with handstruck SHIP and "5" (due) in black and landed with red BOSTON/MY 6/MASS d/ring. On March 12th 1863 the Danish brig “Christian” took into St. Croix prisoners recently transferred from the Confederate States Steamer (C.S.S.) “Florida”. The “Florida” was a sloop-of-war serving as a highly successful commerce raider in the Confederate States Navy during the American Civil War. She was built in Liverpool and departed England 22 March 1862, and after a collision with a United States Army Transport troop ferry sank on 28 November 1864. The Florida captured 37 prizes during her short impressive career. Two books cover this event: “The Life and Services of John Newland Maffitt” (captain of the C.S.S. Florida). On Page 283 of the journal is mention of capturing the bark M. J. Colcord from New York bound Cape Town on 30 March 1863, and their transfer to the Danish brig Christian some 37 hours later on 1 April 1863. “The High Seas Confederate” book, Page 83, confirms that Maffitt captured “a propaganda” ship, the M.J. Colcord on 30 March 1863, transferring provisions from the prize, that the master of a Danish brig agreed to take all the remaining prisoners, and that Maffitt burned the M.J. Colcord.
£6500


HMS SULTAN (under command of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh), MALTA postal history
1877 cover with H.M.S. SULTAN printed flap to the Honorable Mrs. Lindsay, Woodlands, Cardiff, South Wales (possibly written by Royal hand) with GB QV 2½d rosy-mauve Plate 5 pmk'd Malta "A25" duplex dated D/AP 6 77, flap intact but poorly opened either side of printing clear of light Cardiff C/AP 11 77 arrival.
In 1876 HMS Sultan was refitted and reduced from a small Channel Fleet coastal warship to a barque rig and posted to the Mediterranean under the command of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Albert (1844-1900) second son of Queen Victoria. Alfred married the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovana of Russia in St. Petersburg and their second daughter Princess Victoria Melita was born on 25 November 1876 in Malta. Prince Alfred, Honorary President 1890-1900 of what is now the Royal Philatelic Society, was the first serious stamp collector in the royal family and it is thought that he encouraged his nephew, later KGV, to collect stamps. Prince Alfred sold his collection to his brother King Edward VII, who shared his enthusiasm, who in turn gave it to his son King George V, and keenly expanded by the latter the two collections became the basis of what is now the Royal Philatelic collection.
£225

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.
£625



Wreck of the 'Schiller' (Hoboken N.J, Scilly Isles, Germany's "Titanic"), Canada postal history
THE ONLY RECORDED WRECK COVER ORIGINATING FROM CANADA marked "Via United States" with Small Queen 2c green x 2, QV 6c brown x 2 pmk'd HALIFAX N.S. A/AP 22 75 duplex to The Manager, The Imperial Bank, Lothbury, London taken from the wrecked S.S. Schiller on the Retarrier Ledges, Scilly Isles to London where red London Paid 10 MY 75 cds applied, reverse with handwritten contemporary endorsement of "This Envelope was down in the Sr. Ship Schiller wrecked on a rock off the Scilly Isles in the month of May 1875".
Accompanied by a wonderfully easy to read pre-owned copy of "The Victorian Titanic".
£3000




SMITH'S ISLAND, BERMUDA internal postal history
In July 1609 Sir George Somers left Plymouth on the flagship Sea Venture as part of a fleet of 9 vessels with supplies for the new English colony at Jamestown, Virginia. In a severe storm she was separated and driven onto the reefs at Bermuda with all 150 sailors and settlers saved, this event is thought to be Shakespeare’s inspiration for The Tempest. With materials primarily stripped from the Sea Venture two new ships, The Deliverance and The Patience, were built and most set sail again on May 10 1610 for Jamestown. Smith’s island in St. George’s became Bermuda’s first settlement when three of the survivors, Christopher Carter, Edward Waters and Edward Chard (two were mutineers), set up camp becoming the first accidental permanent colonists. They built cabins, planted beans, melons, tobacco, maize, fished the coast and hunted wild hogs left there from an earlier visit by the Spanish. When the Plough arrived from England July 11 1612 with the first part of planned colonists Governor Moore was delighted with the garden produce because the Somer Isles Company in London had supplied him with some 80 varieties of seeds to try in Bermuda. Many of the first European crops Virginia and later American colonies saw were planted on Smith’s Island. The illustrated QV ½d Post Card, postmarked St. Georges 14 JA 1901, is addressed to C. W. McCallan, perhaps the only resident family on the 61 acre island, and perhaps the replied pricing for pupils at the Grammar School was intended for E.A. McCallan, the 1948 Bermudian author of “Life on Old St. David’s”.
Also included u/m commemorative set plus pre-owned Gail Langer Karwoski's book "Miracle - The true story of the Wreck of the Sea Venture" (64 pages).
£325






THE SEARCH FOR EXPLORERS BURKE and WILLS, South Australia postal and social history
1862 cover to Mr. Edward Palmer, McKinlays Exploring Expedition, Adelaide G.P. Office with pair QV 1d (one defective corner) pmk'd PORT-AUGUSTA OC 6 62 with handstruck "UNCLAIMED", reverse GPO OC 8 1862/7 datestamp. Filing crease crosses adhesives as the unclaimed letter was placed in the accompanying "Returned Paid Letter" back to Mr. H. Mildred, Port Augusta making an exceptionally rare "round trip" pair. In 1859 the South Australian Government offered £2,000 for the first successful south-north crossing of the continent west of the 143rd line of longitude. In 1860-61 Robert O'Hara Burke and Willian John Wills led an ill-fated expedition of 19 men with the ingroup back to report only to find that another expedition under Howitt, which had left June 1861, had already found the graves of both Burke and Willstention of crossing from Melbourne (south) to the Gulf of Carpentaria (north), approx. 2,000 miles. At that time most of the continent had not been explored by non-indigenous people. The south-north crossing was successful but both of the expedition leaders died on the return journey. Only one man, John King, made the eventual return to Melbourne. Six expeditions were sent to search for Burke and Wills. One left August 1861, under McKinlay, and found the remains of Charles Gray, one of the expedition, and a partially empty grave in the Cooper Creek area. McKinley sent part of his in that same area. In December McKinley visited the site of the graves and then went on to explore the lakes region around Lake Moolionburinna. In February he left the Cooper region following Burke and Wills track to the Eyre Creek and the Gulf before turning east to a station on the Bowen River near Port Denison in Queensland, and the party returned by sea to Adelaide.
Edward Palmer was the bullock driver with the McKinley led "South Australian Burke Relief Expedition". Accompanied by previously owned Sarah Murgatroyd's book THE DIG TREE, the extraordinary story of the ill-fated Burke and Wills Expedition (372 pages) and 150th anniversary commemorative stamps.
£1425
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