Lot 30921840 (Feb. 17) Canton, China to Philadelphia Pa., docketed folded letter from Russell & Co. endorsed "via Manila", carried privately via Manila, flap with red "Forwarded by Russell & Sturgis, Manilla" lined forwarder's oval, then by private ship to London arriving Sep. 17th, London red "Paid, 17 SP 17, 1840" Maltese cross datestamp and red manuscript "1/-" prepaid packet rating, carried as endorsed by Cunard Line Caledonia from Liverpool Sep. 19th to Boston arriving Oct. 3rd, red "Boston Ms., Ship, Oct 3" cds and manuscript "20¾" due rating for 18¾¢ inland plus 2¢ ship fee, Very Fine.
Estimate $2,000 - 3,000.
A REMARKABLE USE FROM CHINA VIA THE PHILIPPINES CARRIED ON THE MAIDEN VOYAGE OF THE CUNARD LINE "CALEDONIA".
Advent of British Contract Steamship Service
Cunard was awarded a seven year contract to convey mails by steamship between Liverpool, Halifax and Boston, beginning on 1 July 1840. Twice-monthly sailings were required. This contract drove the Great Western Steamship Company out of business, and ensured British dominance of scheduled transatlantic mail service by steamship for most of the decade.
When the Cunard Line began steam service to Boston in 1840, delays in Philadelphia's British mails had shrunk dramatically. New York was less than a day away, Boston only two days.