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Sale 89: The John Barwis Collection of Philadelphia Postal History

Table of Contents

Philadelphia Foreign Mail: 1775-1784 Revolutionary War Period

Lot 3031    

1775 (Aug. 2) Philadelphia Pa. to London, England, folded letter with Quaker dateline "Philada. 8 mo 2d 1775" from Samuel Pleasants to James Gordon in London, blockade run by ship Chalklet from Philadelphia Aug. 9th to Bristol arriving Sep. 17th, entered mails with "BRISTOL/SHIP LRE" two-line handstamp and manuscript "5" pence rating for 4d inland plus 1d ship fee, London, Very Fine early Revolutionary War ship letter from the Colonies to England through the American privateer blockade, ex-Siskin, Dr. Robertson, Walske.
Estimate    $1,500 - 2,000.


American privateers began attacking British shipping in the Spring of 1775. As America's largest city, Philadelphia was a center of trade, so British vessels in or out of Delaware Bay offered attractive prizes. By the Summer of 1775 Royal Navy warships were patrolling the mid-Atlantic coast between Cape Henlopen and Chesapeake Bay to thwart privateer attacks.

"Fifteen large galliots carrying at their bows from 32 to 48 pounders, swivels, etc. and fifty men each, are built at Philadelphia, and are to be stationed in Delawar [sic] River about Redbank, to oppose any men of war, who may attempt to come up the river, and to defend the machines sunk in that narrow part of the river." from The Ipswich Journal, England, 23 September 1775

Delaware Bay was not under a British blockade until March 1776 when the frigate HMS
Roebuck entered Delaware Bay and stood off Lewes. Despite defensive measures along the Delaware, Philadelphia was invaded and occupied in September 1777.

Realized: $6,250

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