Today in Postal History

Niger Coast Protectorate to England
March 10, 1894

This registered cover has a complete set of the first stamps
of the Niger Coast Protectorate issued January 1, 1894.
The Niger Coast Protectorate was established May 12, 1893,
when the Oil Rivers Protectorate was extended inland and renamed.

The registered envelope was overprinted with Niger Coast Protectorate.
The stamps include one each of the d vermilion, the 1d pale blue,
the 2d green, the 5d grey-lilac, the 1s black,
and two of the 2d carmine-lake (SG 45-50).
There are several perforations on these stamps
as well as a couple of recognized shade variants
as a result of three printings.
I cannot determine these variations on this image.
SG suggest that these stamps on cover are worth 'from x 10' of such stamps off-cover.

The stamps apparently came from a design which had already
been prepared for Oil Rivers but was modified to obliterate
the Oil Rivers and add Niger Coast in the top margin.

Each stamp is lightly cancelled with a OPOBO RIVER CDS.
Opobo River is at the east side of the Niger River delta.
There is a receiving mark probably for London on April 14 and another for London on April 15.
The destination was Horsham in Surrey.*

Someone has pencilled in a price of $300 - probably a bargain today.

*Thanks to Io for catching my misread of the destination.

Note:  Jim Whitford-Stark (Io) has done some fine research on the recipient of this cover as follows:

C. J. Lucas owned Warnham Court estate.  The estate was one of the past grounds of the Sussex cricket club.  As might be expected, Lucas was an active cricketeer and was president of the Sussex Country Cricket Club in 1907. This was probably in addition to his interests as a philatelist.

Horsham is in West Sussex about 40km south of the heart of London.  It is just south of Surrey which lies between West Sussex and London.

The estate and its owner were well-remembered by residents of the area.   "Almost without doubt, the most well known family name in Warnham would have been Lucas. People born in the village at the end of the 19th century, recalled how well ‘old Mr Lucas' had looked after the workers on the Warnham Court Estate. At Christmas time, all the women were given a pound of tea and a petticoat made of red flannel, renowned for its warmth. . . . .   Warnham Mill and its large pond, where skaters of old would go for recreation in the dead of winter, is actually closer to Horsham than the centre of the village."

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