Today in Postal History


France to Turkey
January 5, 1871

This cover was flown out of Paris during its seige in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71.*
It was postage paid to destination of Constantinople (note boxed PD).

The simple corner card - PAR BALLOON MONTÉ - was present on preprinted letter sheets for the mail.

This service began in Paris on September 23, 1870.
The 67th and last flight was made on January 28, 1871.
Other balloon flights were made from the besieged cites of Metz, Neuf-Brisach, and Belfort.

There are additional notations on the cover which are probably notes of the recipient.

With help*, the stamp can be identified as 1868 Napoleon III Laureated 80c Bright Rose (Scott 36).
This would have provided the proper rate to Turkey by land.
The Par Balloon Monté rate for French destinations was 20 centimes.

*Thanks to David, Christo, and Paul in identifying the stamp and adding illuminating comments.
Also to Jim Whitford-Stark for catching the 1870 typo.


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