Cape of Good Hope 1862 1d Port Elizabeth "Drop" Letter "Pr Rose"


  • Folded blue wrapper endorsed Pr "Rose" and below that "1d", the latter apparently a reminder to the bearer of postage to be paid.
  • Carried from England to Algoa Bay on the named barque and posted locally within Port Elizabeth upon arrival (oval datestamp AP 21 1862 on reverse).
  • Addressed to "Messrs Wm Birt & Nephew / Port Elizabeth / Algoa Bay".
  • Franked 1d deep rose-red (SG 5b) triangular just clear to full margins neatly tied by triangular defacer leaving Hope unobscured.
  • F-VF, an exceedingly rare example of this local 1d franking (within the Colony's secondary city) of which we record only four representative examples,
  • none others having the additional interest as this with deliberate evasion of English postal regulations, letter being handed to the Master or crew member of the vessel so saving the 8d ship letter charge.
  • The writer apparently knew that in 1862 there was no wharfage at Port Elizabeth and ships remained in the bay, unloading into lighters.
  • Thus the letter was sent ashore and taken directly to the post office where charged the local 1d rate.
  • An exhibition piece for the postal history connoisseur.
  • Signed: Holcombe. Ex collections Roth, Goldblatt, Johnson & Dillaway;
  • illustrated Pg 167 "Postmarks of the Cape of Good Hope", R Goldblatt 1984.and extensively written up in the SA Philatelist 05/1972 Pg 115 by Douglas Roth.
  • See additional image and of reference articles.
  • The term "Drop Letter" refers to those letters mailed within the municipal boundaries of a town providing the service/rate. It was effective in Cape Town from 15th September 1860 and from 1st May 1861 in Port Elizabeth, a requirement being that at least twice-daily services existed between the dispatch/receiving offices. PILLAR BOXES were provided in select locations, thus the term "Drop Letter". As postal services expanded the reduced rate came to apply to regional mailings, examples still uncommon, but not to be confused with true within-city-limits Drop Letters.
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