Sale 30

Lot 589

Japan, 1875 (Feb. 1), rare Degron-kun cover from Col. Munier, sent Yokohama to Versailles, a remarkable, eye-catching cover despite its flaws; addressed to Madame Munier at Impasse des gendarmes, 15 (one of her four addresses during the Colonel's time in Japan), the cover bears the civilian pre-paid letter rate of 1F, paid by a tricolor Cérès franking—5c yellow green on pale blue (Scott #53), large-figure 15c bister (#61) and large-figure 80c rose on pinkish (#63), each receiving a tying Yokohama "5118" dotted-diamond cancel; front also bears a partial, blurred Japanese Post Office Yokohama cancel at upper left, plus Roman-letter "Yokohama/1/FVR/75/Japon" dater and French red boxed "PF" handstamp below; reverse with a beautiful strike of the Type I Degron-kun handstamp (originally in black, here faded to a near gold), with boxed red Shimbashi chop below (as the Japanese would read it), along with French "Marseille a Lyon/20/MARS/75/Special" transit and Versailles 21 MARS 75 receiver; cover with various faults and repairs, including missing the part of the front panel that bore the 2s Japanese adhesive to pay the Tokyo-to-Yokohama inter-city rate (rim of cancel still visible above "Versailles"), but a very scarce and important piece of postal history nonetheless, Fine.
Estimate HK$ 12,000 - 16,000

The rarity of this cover cannot be overstated. According to Jun Ichi Matsumoto (
The French Post Office in Yokohama), there are only about 20-30 surviving Munier covers, of which roughly ten are Franco-Japanese combinations. The franking here is very rare, with Matsumoto noting only 4-10 covers known bearing the large-figure 15c issue (whereas 11-20 are known with the 5c, and 21-40 with the large-figure 80c). And for the Japanese postal markings collector, the Shimbashi Railway Station chop was introduced "from the beginning of 1875" (p. 142), making this surely one of the earliest possible examples.

Realized HK$ 8,500

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