STOCKHOLMIA 2019 Private Treaty Sale



 
Lot 70



France, 1876-1901, Maritime Service of the 15c Sage, from Marseilles to and from Corsica and North Africa. A single-frame (16-page) exhibit showing the Peace and Commerce issue's use on the high seas. Issued to pay the domestic single-letter rate, the 15c was also valid for Corsica, Algeria and, from 1881-83, Tunisia, as each territory was considered part of Metropolitan France. Unlike the pre-philatelic and Classics periods, the postal history of the Sage issues on these routes has been largely ignored.

This collection, focusing on the single value for the specific time period, with usage solely (or nearly so) to or from Marseilles, is a tour de force of dogged determination and the quest for scarce material. Built, as the exhibitor notes, over decades, the presentation focuses first on Corsican service and then on North African routes, with each of the 11 Mediterranean port locations represented. A total of 27 covers—eight of which are designated as particularly elusive to scarce—illustrate the markings used, many of which for only very short periods.

Beginning with legacy "Bateau à Vapeur" (in full or abbreviated) markings, the collection continues with the "Ligne de [port]" cancels. Numerous corner cards and company cachets adorn the covers, all of which are in exceptionally bright and clean condition. Most are singly franked by either gray or blue 15c, though one cover bears an additional 10c to meet the pre-1878 letter rate t Algeria, and another bears a pair of 15c to Genoa (from Philippeville, Algeria).

We note one cover (December 13, 1880) addressed to Marseilles, with two strikes of the red octagonal "Alger à Port Vendres" dater, known only outbound from Algiers and used only occasionally between August 1880 and July 1881. This is accompanied by a 2014 Roumet certificate.

There are also two incredibly difficult-to-find "Boîte Mobile" or "B.M." cancels, one on a cover to Algiers, the second to Bône, both from Marseilles. These "Moveable Boxes" were located either on the dock or at the shipping line's offices, with mail collected from them before the ship sailed. As their name states, these boxes were never stationary, making the discovery of one cover (much less two!) for a given route that much more improbable.

A very pretty compilation of difficult maritime postal history material. Available online for viewing in full.

Price: $2,500; £1,960; €2,125; 25,000 SEK; HK$19,500.



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