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Sale 76: Gems of Philately

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Lot 7    

(Colorado) Fort Garland Colo Apr 15, partial clear strike of cds with matching quartered corks on 2¢ brown (157) pair and 6¢ dull pink (159) on Col. James Bassel correspondence cover to Hong Kong, China at the 10¢ trans-pacific rate, endorsed "Via San Francisco" at lower left, Hong Kong (6.5.75) arrival backstamp, top part of letter only with "Fort Garland C.T., April 15/75" dateline accompanies; small opening tear lower left, Very Fine and rare use, ex-Beals; with 2016 P.F. certificate.
Estimate    $4,000 - 6,000.


Col. James Bassel was a West Point graduate (class of 1867) who had served at Fort Garland and went to Egypt in 1874 as part of a contingent of American Soldiers and Veterans recruited by Khedive Isma'il in an effort to improve Egypt's army. Apart from their role in training the Egyptian army, the Americans supervised engineering projects and conducted important mapping expeditions in the Nile River region. Bassel was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of Engineers, but served less than a year because "his unfitness for Egyptian service was apparent from the day of his arrival."After leaving Egypt he was employed in China and Japan by an American ship builder. Lieutenant-Colonel Bassel returned to the United States and ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1878. (see Trepel's article: "The Bassel Correspondence: An American Soldier in Egypt", Chronicle 230, May 2011, pp. 139-145).

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