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 Post subject: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 06:31:59 am 
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I am doing a bit of research as to when disinfection of covers came into effect and which countries used it. I would appreciate any help that any of our members can provide. Anyone knows of any literature?

Yannis


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 08, 2009 17:30:27 pm 
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Yannis,

Excuse my ignorance but what is "disinfection"?

Do covers go through a "spraying" type process for "bugs" or am I missing the point? :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 01:10:43 am 
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Pete,

That is exactly the point! And such covers would have markings to show this had been done; often the covers were slit to allow disinfectent to get inside and the PO would advise that this was done officially.

Unfortunately I don't have any of these covers to show, but if any members can illustrate the thread, that would be useful :idea:


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 02:03:55 am 
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Here is one such beast currently up for auction in the Italy and Colonies Study Circle:

Image

It's described as --

1855 EL to Urbino from Acqualagna, bearing s/l "Cagli" transit and very fine oval "Urbino/Netta Dentro E/Fuori" cachet applied in transit. It had been disinfected by slitting.

Courtesy of Wikipedia --

Disinfected mail or fumigated mail is mail that has had some form of disinfection or fumigation applied to it by postal authorities, with the intention of preventing the spread of epidemics via letters sent from infected areas.

The usual practice was to puncture the envelope with small holes, often in a grid pattern, or to snip off one or more corners, in order to let the fumigation gases in. In addition, a special postal marking may note the disinfection process.

The process did not necessarily have a scientific basis; the practice dates from before an understanding of the cause of contagious diseases, and the fumigant was as likely to be based on folklore. For instance, in the Middle Ages Mediterranean ports such as Venice would smoke received covers or douse them with vinegar.

The cholera pandemics of the early 19th century led to widespread treatment of mail, although the concern had died down by the 1840s. Mail from the tropics, particularly Hawaii, was treated against yellow fever. In the 20th century some mail was heat-treated to prevent the spread of smallpox.

By the way, and for what it's worth --

There is a philatelic group dedicated to the study of disinfected mail.

Disinfected Mail Study Circle --

http://www.stampcircuit.com/Societies/Dmsc/index.htm

It's based in the U.K. and dues are about £15 per year, which includes their journal Pratique, published three times per year, and which includes member auctions in each issue.

Of course not to snub the Italy and Colonies Study Circle --

http://www.icsc.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 02:16:58 am 
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There have been a couple of threads on the board which might be of interest:

Stamp trivia question from July:
viewtopic.php?t=6905

Throughout much of the 1800's mail coming from Malta regularly bore oval/circular seals or handstamps marked with text such as "LAZARETTO/MALTA" or "LAZARET/MALTA" etc, with slits in the covers.

What was the significance of this?

It indicated fumigation of the mailed item.
Trade to Malta brought a regular risk from contagious diseases being brought from north Africa and the East. Sanitary regulations were introduced in 1524, with incoming vessels quarantined in Manoel Island when a new lazaretto was built in 1726.

In 1749 and again in 1786 the Knights of Malta obtained advice from the Health Authority of Marseilles regarding the fumigation of mails. Initially fumigation was effected by sulphur fumes, but later letters were disinfected using nascent oxygen from the addition of formaldehyde to potassium permanganate. Originally letters were opened for fumigation and resealed with the lazaretto's red wax seals but, after complaints regarding the security of correspondence, this practice was replaced by slitting letters and applying the lazaretto's handstamp.

http://www.rpsl.org.uk/malta/index.html


New Australian quarantine label
viewtopic.php?p=358717

Also , if you look at the Stampboards wiki there are a number of alternative foreign terms listed for disinfected


Cheers
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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 03:48:04 am 
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I wonder if there is/was anything that it is actually possible to catch via a letter from an infected person.

I am well aware that it is possible to intentionally contaminate mail (i.e. the anthrax scare a few years back, and the new version of disinfection where mail was irradiated). But could it happen that Joe, home with his case of Bolivian Spotted Fever, writes you a letter and you get sick from it?


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 19:39:17 pm 
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The bible on disinfected mail is a book of the same name by Karl Meyer published in the early 1960s. It describes the various methods used to disinfect mail through the ages and around the world, excepting Australia! You should be able to pick up a copy pretty easily for $75-$100. Less if you're patient and shop around.

As mentioned the book omits any reference to Australia and this oversight is being addressed by Denis Vandevelde, supremo of the Disinfected Mail Study Circle and editor of their journal "Pratique". I am one of a number of people assisting Denis with research on this side of the world and I have become slighty hooked, dare I say infected, by the topic and have started a small collection. As a result I have visited the quarantine stations at Sydney and Adelaide and have done research in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide as trips allow. Here's a few pics I happen to have on my computer.

In Australia mail was treated to prevent spread of disease to humans. Nowadays it is treated to protect indigenous wildlife and our agricultural industries. Mails have been sprayed, gassed, scorched, baked, irradiated, detained and soaked in the pursuit of cleanliness. The most sought after covers are those from detainees in quarantine or from ships arriving with cases of infectious disease aboard.

1938 Melbourne
Passengers from the Strathaird were detained in Melbourne at the Quarantine Station at Portsea in 1938. This was the second to last occasion the temporary post office was opened at the station and by this time the collectors of special postmarks and registration labels were quite active. i have recorded more covers from this incident than any other in Australia but ironically I'm still trying to get a cover. Here's one offered by Charles Leski a few years ago. Note the corners have been cut off the envelope to allow the formaldehyde gas to reach the letter inside.

Image


1935 Sydney
Passengers from the Aorangi were quarantined in Sydney at the North Head Quarantine Station in 1935 following a case of smallpox aboard the ship. Covers were also treated at the station and passed out through the nearby Manly office. This picture comes from an early Gary Watson catalogue and shows only the top half of a registration envelope from the quarantine station. It sold for the princely sum of $52! I would happily give the owner a twenty-fold return nowadays.

Image


Disinfection certificate
Goods imported into the country can still be seized and treated or even destroyed. Here's a certificate showing the disinfection of wine flagons imported from Timor. The parcels post section of every state sent goods to be disinfected to their local quarantine station or board of health. Parcels of second-hand clothes or animal products were often treated. Does anyone have an example?

Image


Letter Fumigator

Here's a photo of one of two letter fumigators from the quarantine station at Torrens Island here in Adelaide. It is now on display at the National Museum in Canberra. I believe all Australian quarantine stations received a pair of these. Sydney still has theirs and I believe Melbourne's are on display in a seaside museum at Brighton. Perhaps a Melbourne stampboarder can check this out for me.

Image


1897 Himalaya
The P&O Himalaya arrived in Australia in 1897 with a case of smallpox on board. passengers and crew were quarantined at a number of stations from Albany to Sydney. Here's a cover addressed to a lady who was a passenger on the Himalaya and quarantined in Sydney.


Image

The Sydney Quarantine Station has hundreds of rock carvings and here is one made by a crew-member from the Himalaya during their detention. Periods of detention for smallpox contacts could last a few days to a few months depending on circumstances and vaccination history. Rock carving was a popular way to pass the days.

Image

1903 Launceston

Perhaps the most written about incident that caused the fumigation of mail was a small outbreak of smallpox in Launceston. The disease was attributed to a travelling performer who visited Launceston after contracting the disease on tour in India. Mail was fumigated and handstamped as shown in the picture. This cover was in Patrick Reid's fine collection of Tasmania sold recently by Prestige Philately.

Image

There are quite a number of incidents where mails were treated in some way. I can recall seeing an example of mail shown in a philatelic exhibition in perth with a covering letter from a postmaster stating he had washed the letter in disinfectant after some kind person had dropped dog poo in the pillar box!

best regards

Martin


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 22:15:57 pm 
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Great post Martin.

There is also mail from the Australian Colonies that was fumigated in Italy due to the outbreak of cholera in Egypt in the early 1880's. It was known to medical science by then that cholera was water-borne and not air-borne however there was still a great amount of fear about cholera.


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 23:04:49 pm 
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I concurr! Fantastic posts from all participants!

You really do learn something new every day!
:shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:43:01 am 
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I have just bought 4 Disinfected covers .... related to Egypt

here are the first two
Image

and their back
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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2012 10:50:28 am 
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here is the second two
Image
and their back
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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 13:15:55 pm 
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An Australian item that could fit into this thread.

Quarantine (NSW) Postmark on KGV imprint block.

Yours for $580 from 8479smacma as eBay item number: 370568606826 LINK

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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 13:20:09 pm 
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Well I've learnt something new about stamp collecting today!

Some interesting covers above, some postal markings I've never seen. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 15:32:21 pm 
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Location: That's on a need to know basis - and YOU do not need to know!
The KGVI block looks like a 'per favour' cancel, as no date. :idea:

I've stayed at the Quarantine Station in Sydney in recent times - they have lovely upmarket cabins there.

The old PO building is still there, with covers showing this cds, so I suspect for a time "funny business" went on with the cds.


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 16:50:55 pm 
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In 1962 I was the Postmaster and Savings Bank Officer at Aitape, TPNG and there was a Leper Hospital about 3K down the coast. Every fortnight the patients would be paid their allowance and would walk into the village to do some banking and post letters to their familes.

I had been assured by the Doctor that all the money and mail that the patients used had been through a disinfective procedure and I could not contact leprosy by handling this money and mail.

I could smell the patients disinfective long before they appeared but I got used to it.

I did not think about ms noting 'disinfected mail' but even if I had, the letters were all addressed to native villages and would never have been saved.

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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 17:56:28 pm 
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A semi related post here:

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=16996


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 20:40:40 pm 
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Try this: http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=16996

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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 21:06:02 pm 
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The J.B. Catalogue of Malta Stamps and Postal History 2010 lists all the Maltese disinfected red wax seals and cachets. In all there are 6 different wax seals (c.1816-1844) priced between €930 and €2330, and 9 cachets (1830-1911) priced between €93 and €2330.

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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 21:16:04 pm 
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reading more about Disinfected mail ....

It looks that Malta was the main center for this operation during the 19th century

but it was also mentioned that Alexandria, Egypt has a small operation

does anyone have more info or an example of those cachets


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 21:24:00 pm 
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I found this on Virgin Stamps:

http://www.virginstamps.com/browse_item.html?category_id=3152&item_id=1935

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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 06:26:45 am 
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Hi

I purchased these covers in a lot chasing one other cover. Now I do not know what to do with these or their value as they are outside my collecting interests and know nothing about them.
I am tempted just to set them off on ebay at 99p and see where they go but worried I may miss the most important bit out of the description.
Anyone any better idea? I know they may not all be true disinfected covers.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Thanks

Colin


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2012 06:30:27 am 
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They certainly 'look' expensive! 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 06:24:17 am 
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They are on ebay now so we will see. No bids after 24 hours...maybe 99p is too much!


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2012 21:41:18 pm 
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Dear Colin,

since these are not disinfected covers ..... but they are related

I would advice that you write in your ebay subject line "NOT disinfected" so that collectors looking for Disinfected covers ... will at least see these in their query results & decide whether they do fit within their collections or not.


best regards


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 01:01:21 am 
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I just got my first disinfected cover (actually a folded letter) today :D . It was sent from Alexandria, Egypt to Malta on 22 September 1843.

Image

The disinfected handstamp is JB no. 9, which was used from 1838 to 1865, and again in 1883. It is one of the cheaper ones, and is catalogued at €93 (the cheapest one is catalogued at €70). I got the cover for a little over €20 :) .

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 01:49:39 am 
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As a retired nurse, I can answer the question regarding the spread of infection by mail. Yes, it is possible, but very unlikely. Paper is not a good vector in the first place, and the aeration and abrasion caused in transit would remove any 'bugs' that were present. Back in the day, there were cases of Scarlet Fever transmitted within families by books, and a suspicion that Tuberculosis was similarly spread.

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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 18:15:29 pm 
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I have always been interested in disinfected covers from Hawaii. I have a lovely one right now. The board restricts my resolution I use for my listings, but hopefully not my link! Forgive me if it's a Faux Pas.

http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i335/lafranklin2009/Hawaii/4712.jpg

the back if anyone cares:

http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i335/lafranklin2009/Hawaii/4712A002.jpg

I suspect disinfected covers would make a lovely specialized collection!


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2012 18:36:55 pm 
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Re Disinfected Covers:-

Posted January 24 2012 on "Collecting Censored Covers - A Discussion"

[quote="bazza4338"]

Image

Image

CC579 F & R

From: P. (Pandelis) J. Drossos, 1 St. Denys Place, Athens (Greece)

To: Mr. A. Gittler, POB 264 GPO., New York.1.N.Y. USA

Disinfected Mail:-

DISINFECTED MAIL-K. F. Meyer, Ph.D., M.D., Director
Emeritus George Williams Hooper Foundation and
Professor Experimental Pathology, Emeritus, University
of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, California,
U.S.A.; in collaboration with the late Professor C.
Ravasini, M.D., Trieste; ..... P. J. Drossos, Athens, Greece .....
The Gossip Printery, Inc., 116-118 E. 5th
St., Holton, Kansas, 1962. 341 pages, $12.00.

To all members of the medical profession around the
world but especially to his colleagues in California, Karl F.
Meyer epitomizes the scholarly medical scientist. His grasp
of communicable diseases: at the patient's bedside, at the
laboratory bench, and by their fusion in epidemiology, is
truly unique. His qualities as a medical historian are
equally famous. From time to time we have glimpsed his
renown as a philatelist. Now, in Disinfected Mail, we see a
fascinating and monumental synthesis of all of these amazing
abilities of our revered colleague.
In his Foreword, Claude Dolman deftly describes Disinfected
Mail as "a fascinating compendium of information
on postal arrangements, disinfection procedures, and epidemic
visitations." After a broad Meyerian historical introduction,
the monograph proceeds with a description of the
techniques of disinfection used in each country. It is superbly
illustrated with magnificent reproductions which
appear to be three dimensional.

The systematic philatelic classifications are presented in detail.
As one would anticipate, our own San Francisco measures for disinfecting mail against plague are colorfully described.
Disinfected Mail is recommended to all professional people,
be they physicians, historians, political scientists, microbiologists
or philatelists, each of whom has kinship with Karl F. Meyer.
CHARLES E. SMITH, M.D.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... -0071c.pdf"

Further information:-

http://www.davidfeldman.com/shop/index. ... ected.html

http://www.fwpl.org/disnfect.htm


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 18:13:16 pm 
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HR Harmer has a nice selection of disinfected covers in their current catalog.


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 06:37:12 am 
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saphilatelist wrote:
There are quite a number of incidents where mails were treated in some way. I can recall seeing an example of mail shown in a philatelic exhibition in perth with a covering letter from a postmaster stating he had washed the letter in disinfectant after some kind person had dropped dog poo in the pillar box!

How about when you post your letters in the dog poo box? http://stage.sundaysport.com/?p=1296 :shock:

The actual Post Office box can be seen in the picture further down the street on the other side - they do look alike!


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:31:19 am 
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http://clubs.just4stamps.com/club-socie ... &csid=2342
This is a link to the Study Group for Disinfected mail but not much info shown about the subject itself.


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:32:34 am 
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A good example of disinfected mail as you can see the slits very well.
Image
Constantinople 1819, Disinfected Entire to France.


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:41:04 am 
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HalfpennyYellow wrote:
I just got my first disinfected cover (actually a folded letter) today :D . It was sent from Alexandria, Egypt to Malta on 22 September 1843.

Image

The disinfected handstamp is JB no. 9, which was used from 1838 to 1865, and again in 1883. It is one of the cheaper ones, and is catalogued at €93 (the cheapest one is catalogued at €70). I got the cover for a little over €20 :) .

Image

A better image of this cover:

Image

Image


The disinfection slits can be seen here as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:44:30 am 
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1/2d. Yellow,

have you figured out what comes after,

Col Vapore Inglese ?????,

David B.


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:52:50 am 
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David Benson wrote:
1/2d. Yellow,

have you figured out what comes after,

Col Vapore Inglese ?????,

David B.

It looks like "Geyser". There was a HMS Geyser in the Mediterranean in the 1840s, so it is probably the same ship:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Geyser_(1841)

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(image taken from http://www.wiederseim.com/auction_11-26-05/prices_realized_112605j.html)

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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:57:36 am 
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1/2d. Yellow,

has to one and the same, nice to have covers that travelled by Naval Ship,

David B.


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 Post subject: Re: Disinfected Covers
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 18:04:56 pm 
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I concur !
The manuscript instruction 'Col Vapore Inglese Geyser' translates to ''send via the English steamship Geyser''.
A fairly precise instruction. The Geyser being a 'steam frigate' and right on as far as dates go would, I think be the correct ship.
Regards
Carl

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