Great Britain 1842 Guernsey Ship Letter.
Handstamps England Guernsey 1842 entire to London, rated "2/8" and showing, on reverse, fine Guernsey double-arc date stamp (20.4) and very fine step-type "guernsey/ship letter" (Type S.4) with large part red arrival datestamp alongside.
Almost certainly the finest known example of this very rare handstamp.
A rare piece of early Channel Islands postal history.
Provenance: Ex The Peter Stone Collection of Great Britain & Postal History (Spink sale 14/7/2010), John Sussex, 1983. Ex. "Mayflower" Grand Prix Collection.
The establishment of the Post Office in the Channel Islands brought with it the same procedures that were uniform throughout the United Kingdom. In the case of letters carried by private ships, it meant that these letters would be subject to the standard ship letter charges, at rates that were higher than the standard Post Office packet mail.
The setting up of the Ship Letter Office in London in 1799 saw the introduction of SHIP LETTER hand stamps. Jersey and Guernsey were not exempt from the use of these hand stamps. However, there was considerable opposition to the imposition of the ship letter charges within the Channel Islands, and people felt it was an “outrageous procedure”.
Consequently most of the mail was not handed over to the Post Office but delivered by other private means, thus accounting for the lack of use of these hand stamps on incoming mail and hence their great rarity, with only one or two examples existing of some types.
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