Today in Postal History

Martinique to United States
February 8, 1896

This fine commercial cover went into the mail in St. Pierre where it received two CDS strikes.
Note the neat oval sender's cachet on the backflap.
The Van Romondt family were powers in the Carribbean for many generations.**

The sender requested transport aboard the S.S. Montiann (?).
Its destination was Portland, Maine in the United States.
The recipient was
George S. Hunt, owner of the Eagle Sugar Refinery at Portland, Maine.
In addition to the refinery, Hunt operated a fleet of ships that traded
primarily in Maine lumber products and Cuban sugar and molasses.**

Backstamps trace its progress wonderfully.
It arrived in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands on February 13.
Next it went into the US mail in New Orleans on February 24.
On February 27 it was in Portland.

The cover is franked with a Martinique 20c red on greenish paper and a 5c green on greenish paper
from the 1892 French Colonies Navigation and Commerce series (Scott 42 and 36). 

The foreign rate for French colonies was 25c per each 15g from 1878 to October 1, 1907.
Although the rate remained 25c  'til  1922, the weight and surcharges for added weights varied.*

St. Pierre was destroyed and 29,000 people were killed by an eruption of the volcano Pelee on May 8, 1902.**

*Thanks to Paul for the added rate information.
It isn't often that I can use someone's information two days in a row
**Thanks to Jim W-S for the interesting sidelights on the people involved and the destruction of St. Pierre in 1902.


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