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A cover which rewrites history

There is something special about paquebot covers.

It is the romance of the sea, caught on a piece of paper. Such a cover can be mail from passengers or crew, or it might have been picked up at a port without postal facilities to be taken to the next port which has.

When the ship reaches a port which has a post office the purser or postal

officer delivers all mail received during the voyage. The mail is then marked

"Paquebot" or the equivalent and is postmarked by the post office and off it

goes with the rest of the mail for delivery.

There are quite a few books on Paquebot covers, the ‘bible’ being Roger

Hosking’s ‘Paquebot cancellations of the world’.

On the back of the second edition is an illustration, shown here (yellow

sheet), of a cover from Sassnitz to Trelleborg.

It is rated at rare, but one of our members managed to pick up an example

for just £23.95 – so a bargain.

But it was a lot better than that.

According to Hosking the earliest recorded use was 1911, but the purchased

one (below) is clearly dated 1910, so rewriting the history of this particular


What adds extra spice is that the front of the card shows a picture of

the ship it was written and posted on so everything ties up.

A simple card, but it goes right back to the early days of motorised transport between North Germany and Scandinavia, probably involving  carriages rather than cars. 

A touch of romance in a little piece of postal history.

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