Envelope from hijacked flight selling at Ace Stamp Auctions

A British airmail envelope delayed by a tragic hijacking is coming to Ace Stamp Auctions' October 29-30 sale.

The letter, from the UK to Australia, was in the hold of a British Airways VC10 hijacked at Dubai airport in 1974.

Hijacked envelope
The hijacking lasted 84 hours

The four Palestinian hijackers, posing as airport workers, demanded the captain fly to Tunis where they sought the release of seven Palestinian terrorists.

The hijackers killed a German passenger before giving themselves up.

The hijacking lasted 84 hours, meaning this letter reached its destination of Perth several days late. That delay saw the addition of two "DELAYED EN ROUTE - AIRCRAFT HI-JACK" cachets.

Ian Boulton of Ace Stamp Auctions comments: "These are rarely seen and the last one we had sold for AUD$210 ($160)." This one has an AUD$120 ($90) estimate.

The auction features 2,500 lots of Australian and international postal history, as well as coins and banknotes.

Cannibal letter flight
Spared by the cannibals - a rare surviving letter from a tragic plane crash in the Belgian Congo

A 1930 cover from Madagascar to Paris, retrieved from a cannibal-inhabited area of the Belgian Congo, also features.

The envelope, which still contains its letter, was on board a flight that crashed in dense forest, killing the three-man crew. Cannibals ate the men's bodies. A rescue party recovered the letter (one of few to survive) two months later.

It features a "RAID MADAGASCAR FRANCE ACCIDENT DU 13 JANVIER 1930" cachet on the reverse. Its rarity, and fascinating and grisly story, demands an AUD$400 ($304) valuation.

Other leading lots include a rare 1999 £5 brown Machin imperforate horizontal pair, valued at AUD$1,400 ($1,060), while a China mint miniature sheet produced for the 1961 World Table Tennis Championships has an estimate of AUD$1,000 ($760).

A comprehensive collection of King George VI Commonwealth stamps should be the most valuable lot. Presented in a 1956 Stanley Gibbons illustrated album, it has an AUD$10,000 ($7,600) valuation.

The University of Western Australia Guild Function Centre is hosting the auction.

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