Today in Postal History

France to Italy
July 17, 1869

This folded letter originated in Marseille on the Mediterranean coast.
The sender was identified by a neat straight-line stamp as G. PERRIER | MARSEILLE.

The letter was franked with an 1868 40c. orange Napoleon III on yellowish paper (Scott 35a).
The 40c stamp was enough to pay the rate to the destination so a boxed PD was added.

The cover was cancelled with a Large Numeral (Gross Chiffre) 2240 in a lozenge for Marseille.
There is also a Marseille CDS.

The destination was Bologna in north central Italy.

There is a CDS stamp on the rear which I believe is a railroad transit mark.
It is somewhat illegible but one can read (or infer) TOULON AU MONT CENIS
(Toulon to Mont Cenis) and the date of July 18.
This indicates rail transit from Marseille north into
the Alps with a crossing to Turin in northern Italy.
A railroad tunnel through the alps was underway at the time
this cover was sent but the tunnel was not completed until 1871.
This cover would have to go over the pass on the road built by Napoleon I in 1810.
It would then travel southeast to Bologna.

The letter was recieved in Bologna on July 19.

There is an oval mark on the back which I believe is a handling mark applied in Bologna.
I think it indicates that this letter was delivered in the 1st distribution on 19 July.

There is one addition oval marking on the back which I cannot explain.
Help, anyone?


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