1856 Cover from Faroes to Denmark
I acquired a cover at auction in 2004, described as follows:
"Cover from the Faroes sent via "Lerwick Au 11 1856" via London and
Hamburg to Copenhagen. total postage 9 1/2d (6d. Danish share), 2d
to the City Post of Hamburg noted with red crayon".
Please click on the images above for the full image.
The following cover took a fair amount of research to uncover
what's now known about its route, rate, and marketing. But there are
still open questions. If you know anything more about the following
cover, please contact me at "noer at noer.com" (just change the at to the
symbol; a simple anti-spam precaution). I'd really appreciate it!
Routing and Rate Markings
Routing marks are as follows:
- Front: Boxed, black 11 Aug 1856 Lerwick cancel
- Front: Red London transit cancel "Paid 1856 15 Aug ?N" (see
the scan I
- Back: "K.D.O.P.A. Hamburg" transit cancel dated 17 Aug. (Is
"12-1" the time of day?)
- Back: "17 Aug 56" in oval cancel (Hamburg Stadt Post Amt).
Rate markings are:
- Front: Red "P" in oval on top of indistinct London transit
cancel. Indicates letter was prepaid. From London, Aachen, or
Hamburg (maybe Aachen?). (Anyone know?)
- Front: "2" in red crayon (see "No. 3" in address). Indicates
credit for Danish share of 2 Silbergroshen (= 2 1/2 d = 9 Danish
- Front: Red pen rate in manuscript reads "6 [of] 10 1/2 d"
(not 9 1/2 per auction description???).
- Front: "franco" cancel in black, applied in Hamburg (used
1856-67), indicates pre-payment.
Other comments/explanations I've received:
- 10 1/2 d rate from Faroes to Denmark was same as for cover from
GB to Denmark.
- Most of British/Faroes mail to Denmark was sent via Prussian
closed mail, but it appears that some letters may have gone
directly to Hamburg.
- The 10 1/2 d rate was in effect for covers sent by Prussian
closed mail via Ostende. 4 d went to GB; 4 d covered the
transit via Belgium and Germany; 2 1/2 d went to Denmark. 4
d = 3 1/2 Silbergroshen. The German postal union got 3 Sgr. and
Belgium 1/2 Sgr.
- Mail from the Faroes during this period may or may not have had
an accompanying ships mail cancel applied in Lerwick. The only
known example of one can be seen on an 1852 Faroes cover that was
sold at auction in 2003. But the few others known from this route
did not have this or any other ships mail routing so its absence
doesn't tell us anything.
Why is it from the Faroes?
There are no Faroes markings and no return address. The cover is
just a cover (nothing inside).
The letter is addressed to captain Andreassen of the "Fortuna", the
first ship that carried mail and cargo between the Faroes and Lerwick
in 1856 following the abolishment of the Royal Trade Monopoly at the
end of 1855. The "Fortuna" only sailed between the Shetlands and the
Faroes (and didn't go all the way to Denmark based on the research I
have done to date).
From Nielsen's book "Lost og fast af Faeroernes Posthistorie",
there is a list of all ships that carried mail to/from the
Faroes. This is from the Faroes government journal for 1856 for mail
arriving in the Faroes so I'm guessing the dates given correspond to
the ships arrival dates in Faroes. It seems quite possible that this
cover was sent on the Christian (1.8.1856) from the Faroes to the
captain of the Fortuna (with the address written in English due to the
routing through Shetlands and London?):
- "Fortuna": 1st journey from Shetland, 4.2.1856
- "Fortuna": 2d journey from Shetland, 14.3.1856
- Cutter "Den Forste Prove", 25.3.1856
- "Experiment": 1st voyage, 16.6.1856
- "Experiment": 2d voyage, 23.7.1856
- "Christian": 1.8.1856
- "Havfruen" ("The Mermaid"): 15.8.1856
- "Fortuna": 3d journey from Shetland, 2.9.1856
- "Neptunus": 1st journey, 2.10.1856
- "Havfruen": 4th journey, 12.10.1856
- Merchant Thomsen's cutter, 20.10.1856
- Schooner "Johannes": 1st journey, 11.12.1856
Note that this list is consistent with captain Andreassen being in
Denmark between the 2d and 3d journeys of his ship and that this was a
letter to him while he was there.
Most mail to Denmark with a Lerwick cancel was from the Faroes
since that was the standard route and most Shetlanders/Scottish people
wouldn't have had reason to write to Denmark. As a result, it would
seem probable to conclude that this was from the Faroes except that
Shetlanders doing business with his ship might also have had reason to
Top Remaining Questions
- Was the Lerwick boxed cancel only used as a transit cancel? An
interesting online article (no longer posted) about Scottish
postmarks claimed that starting in 1854, all collecting offices in
Scotland/Shetland were supposed to have their own (mostly undated)
cancels for use on all mail. Since this cover doesn't have any
other British cancels other than the Lerwick and London ones, that
would mean that the only possible non-Faroes origin that would make
any sense would be from Lerwick itself. Given that information, if
the Lerwick boxed cancel was only used as a transit cancel, then
this cover would be from the Faroes.
- How common were unfranked letters sent from Lerwick, 16 years
after the introduction of stamps in Great Britain? If all of the
known letters from Lerwick during that period were franked, then
that might be the best evidence of Faroes origin. This will
hopefully be easy to figure out? So far, it looks like they were
relatively common so if I can confirm that that means this won't
indicate one way or another...
- Can anyone tell me who the "care of" name is and who he was?
That might help guess the nationality of the sender?
Copyright ©2004-2006 Geoffrey Noer. All rights reserved.
Last update: 21 Jun 2006 by noer at noer.com