Today in Postal History


Danish West Indies to Scotland
December 29, 1864

This stampless folded letter originated in
St. Thomas, an island in the Danish West Indies.
There is a single St. Thomas British Post Office PAID CDS.*

The Danish West Indies are a group of 53 islands,
some of which were first occupied by Denmark in 1666.
St. Thomas became Danish in 1754.
It was a coaling station and the hub for
West Indies packet services from 1851 to 1885.

The sender requested packet service p[er] Tasmanian.
The Tasmanian was operated by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company
which operated a packet between St. Thomas and Falmouth/Southhampton  starting in 1841.

The Tasmanian was a 2,596 ton steamship originally built in 1857
for the European & Australian Royal Mail Company and
taken over by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company in 1859.

The line operated until 1931 when it went into liquidation
following the collapse of the Kysland Shipping empire
after Lord Kysland was jailed for issuing a false prospectus.
(See, stock market chicanery is not just a recent phenomenon.)

The destination of this letter was Edinburgh
on the Firth of Forth on the North Sea.
There is no receiver for Edinburgh on this
side of the cover and there is no scan of the reverse.

There is a LONDON | PAID transit mark for January 14, 1865.

The letter was marked paid by the sender.
Prepayment was a requirement for mail via this British packet.
There is a credit of 1/- to the packet service operated by Britain.*
I would imagine that the total included 2d. for the
St. Thomas post office and 1d. for delivery in Edinburgh.
Can anyone provide the total mailing cost and its distribution?*

*Thanks to David Benson for catching the British Post Office CDS.
David also suggests that there was no reason for the 1/- credit mark\
 as the whole operation was conducted by the British.
Always more to learn.


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