Lot 5217(India) 1870 (Nov. 18) Northampton Mass. to Calcutta, India, Benjamin Smith Lyman correspondence cover bearing 3¢ ultramarine (114) and 1¢ ultramarine (145), each tied by four-ring target cancels duplexed with "Northampton Ms. Nov 18" double-circle datestamp, black "New-York Nov 19" backstamp and matching "Insufficiently Paid" straightline with blue crayon "6", changed to "4" with "Calcutta" underlined and and annotated "Ret. for postage", red "New-York, Dec 15" exchange cds ties stamps and matching "Insufficiently Paid" straightline handstamp, carried by Cunard Line Aleppo from New York Dec. 15th to Queenstown arriving Dec. 26th, red London (12.27) transit and "PAID-ONLY/TO ENGLAND" two-line handstamp, routed via Brindisi with blue Verviers-Cologne transit (1.12) backstamp, Bombay (1.20) transit and Calcutta (1.24) arrival backstamps, "St. Bo. A-P 8-8" due handstamp (8 annas - 8 pie, or 26¢ U.S.), with original enclosure; 3¢ stamp with small tear, cover with sealed tear at top affecting postmark and minor repair along top left edge, a Very Fine use, ex-Coulter, Bailar; with 2015 P.F. certificate.
Estimate $3,000 - 4,000.
A SPECTACULAR 1869 AND BANK NOTE MIXED-ISSUE USE DEMONSTRATING THE COMPLEXITIES OF FOREIGN-MAIL RATES DURING THE 1869-70 PERIOD.
The 1870 US-UK agreement allowed partial payment of 4¢ on mail to or through England, but the New York foreign mail clerk rejected the prepayment. This letter would normally have gone in British Mail via Marseilles, but in November 1870 overland routes through France were closed due to the Franco-Prussian War. The British Post Office sent it via Ostende (Belgium) and Coeln (Germany) through the Brenner Pass to Brindisi, then to Alexandria, Egypt by Italian or British packet. It went to India on a steamship of the British Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.
India did not apply the correct surcharge for this route, instead applying the old 8a-8p due marking for mail via Marseilles route (30¢ less 4¢ because of the "Paid Only to England" marking). The Via Brindisi route was in use for less than nine months.
Benjamin Smith Lyman was a mining engineer for the Department of Public Works in India.