Today in Postal History



Straits Settlements to United States
January 21, 1895

This cover was sent from Singapore to New Brighton on Staten Island in New York.
Staten Island is one of the five boroughs (subdivisions) of New York City.
It was then forwarded to two new destinations in an attempt to locate the recipient.
Our task is to understand the 12 different postal markings which record this journey.

The first cancels were the two CDS for Singapore on JA 21 95.

The next postmark is what appears to be a reddish London transit mark on the back for February 18.

The next was the partial binocular receiver (two adjacent circles)
at the right side of the back for foreign mail in New York on March 2.
The cover moved that day to the New Brighton branch.

The date on the New Brighton Rec'd. postmark in the lower
right center on the back is illegible but it had to be March 2.
During sorting, the cover was readdressed and a New Brighton MAR 2 4 PM duplex postmark
with CDS dial and target killer was applied to the front indicating rerouting.

The quick action indicates that the addressee had an established
forwarding address so it was redirected during sorting.

The cover then went to New York distribution where it was postmarked at 6 PM on 3 - 2 - 95.
This is the CDS just below the binocular postmark on the rear.
The cover was then forwarded to the new address of Charlottesville, Virginia.

The cover was received in Charlottesville on March 3 at 1 pm.
But Charlottesville readdressed the cover once again and returned it to New York.
It appears that another forwarding address had already been submitted.
There is no evidence of a separate Charlottesville departure cancel.

The return to New York was probably marked by the
NEW YORK, N.Y. REC'D. machine dial on the front.
Unfortunately the date is illegible.

The cover went to distribution on March 4 at 3 PM (?)
as indicated
by the CDS to the left on the rear.

There remain two more New York cancels to analyze.
The first is NEW YORK, N.Y. MAR 5 11:30 AM 1895 E CDS below the stamp on the front.
The next is what appears to be a New York distribution CDS in the
center of the back with what appears to be a PM marking on the March 5.

One would expect one to indicate transfer from a distribution office
and the second to indicate arrival at the final office for delivery.
If this is the case, the times would suggest that the 11:30 AM cancel was transfer
from the distribution office and the PM marking indicates the final office.

As you may surmise some of the above is pure guesswork but I think it fits likely scenarios.

The cover was franked with a single 1894 8c ultramarine Queen Victoria (SG 101).

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