Cape of Good Hope 1864 Diamond Line Letter, First Sailing


1864 DIAMOND LINE LETTER: Neat small format envelope likely from Port Elizabeth to England endorsed "per Eastern Province Steamer". Franked De La Rue 4d deep blue triangle (SG 19), good to enormous margins, neatly cancelled small triangular defacer. London PAID JY 31 struck in red on front. Pencil notation on reverse "The letter which was inside was dated 20 June 1864." Assuming mailing at Port Elizabeth on that day, the letter was carried on the very first sailing of the Diamond Line leaving Port Elizabeth on 20 June 1864 and arriving Falmouth on 30 July. Manchester backstamp AU 1. Accountancy mark "2" crediting 2d to the UK out of the 4d paid. VF, an attractive De La Rue franking and a rare representation of Diamond Line mail. The Diamond Line service was inaugurated on May 25 1864 on arrival of the SS Eastern Province. By the middle of 1866 only three ships remained in service. The line ceased operations in 1867, an extremely short period of only 2½ years. ANY mail (ie from/to UK, Cape or Natal) carried by the line is exceedingly elusive.
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