Great Britain 1896 Overseas Mail, SG201.
Attractive pair of covers to Captain A. Mostyn Field R.N. Post Office, Fiji. Each prepaid by a 2½d "Jubilee" tied by Dorking "257" duplexes JU.25.1896 & JY.2.1896.
The earlier cover includes a handwritten note on reverse "I will send some of Mia's hair next week", Cecilia Maria was his recently born daughter. The second cover is complete with the aforementioned lock of hair. Some minor soiling and both covers without backflap, nevertheless a very unusual pair of destination items.
Captain Mostyn Field of the Royal Navy Survey ship HMS Penguin was surveying the islands of the Western Pacific for the routing of a proposed new telegraphic cable with a secondary objective to deliver the "Funafuti Coral Reef Boring Expedition of the Royal Society" to Funafuti (Vanuatu archipelago) to test Charles Darwin's hypothesis for the formation of coral atolls.
A quite remarkable piece of postal history and certainly the only postal history I am aware of which comes with hair from 1896! Sure to be the talking point in any exhibit.
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