New Orleans early cover sells for $25,000 at auction

A cover displaying the earliest postal markings issued in New Orleans achieved $25,000 at auction yesterday.

It led the sale of the Steven Walske Collection of North American Blockade Run Mail and French Royal Packet Mail.

New Orleans post

Yndias (Indies) was the name for the Spanish colonies in the Caribbean and South America

The letter was posted from Louisiana in 1784 and travelled via Cuba (then a Spanish colony), across the Atlantic to Spain and then overland to Paris.  

Along the way it collected an excellent range of handstamps.

The Spanish mail service was disrupted by the American revolutionary war from 1779-1783.

This cover is one of three survivors to be carried by Spanish Royal Mail Packet post-1783 and one of a further three to display these particular New Orleans and Cuban markings.

A wealth of civil war blockade run stamps were also featured.

During the civil war, the Union navy blockaded Confederate ports – making it near impossible to ship mail out of the southern states.

Blockade run

Blockade running was a highly dangerous pursuit 

In response the Confederates tried to use blockade runners. These were small, fast and agile ships that could slip past the Union battleships.

Very few of them were successful. 

By the end of the civil war, around 1,000 of these ships had been captured or sunk. This makes blockade covers that actually reached their destinations extremely rare.

This cover was sent from New Orleans to Danville, Virginia on February 18, 1962. By April, the city was under Union control and no more blockade runners left the port.

The lot realised $17,000, a major increase on its $7,500 estimate.

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