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United States 1869 Pictorial Issue
90c Carmine & Black (122). 90c 1869 tied by segmented cork cancel, used with 1870 12c Dull Violet (151), tied by same cork cancel, a missing 10c 1870 has been replaced by a stamp with a similar cancel, the three paying the $1.12 quadruple 28c British Mail via Brindisi rate on legal-size cover addressed to “Mr. Jas. H. Bancroft, Ice House, Calcutta, E. Indies” with sender’s routing “via Brindisi” and “Nevada” ship designation, the cover was actually carried on either the North German Lloyd Rhein or the White Star Line Baltic, both of which departed from New York on Saturday, August 9, 1873, sender’s blue oval datestamp on back “TUDOR COMPANY, BOSTON, AUG. 8, 1873”, red “BOSTON PAID AUG. 8” circular datestamp on front, red “4” in crayon indicates quadruple rate, red crayon “96/4” indicates quadruple credit to Great Britain, red “LONDON PAID 19 AU 73” datestamp applied in transit, carried overland to Brindisi, then by the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company’s (P&O) steamer Poonah, departing Brindisi on August 25 and arriving at Alexandria on August 28, carried overland to Suez, “SEA POST OFFICE B 29 8 73” (August 29) oval datestamp on back indicates departure date from Suez on the P&O steamer Orissa (Bombay Line), red “CALCUTTA 15 SEP” receiving datestamp, there is a large sealed tear that passes through the upper left quadrant of the 90c stamp, severing it into two pieces, the stamp has been repaired and the tear in the cover is slightly discolored from sealing adhesive, the 12c stamp has minor faults, the cover’s overall appearance is very attractive, and some modest work by a skillful paper restorer could remove the discoloration from the tear in the cover
THE UNIQUE AND FAMOUS “ICE HOUSE” COVER. THIS IS THE ONLY DOCUMENTED AND AUTHENTICATED EXAMPLE OF THE 90-CENT 1869 PICTORIAL ISSUE USED ON COVER. DISCOVERED IN 1914, LAST OFFERED AT PUBLIC AUCTION IN 1943 AND LOST TO PHILATELY BETWEEN 1967 AND 2006, THE “ICE HOUSE” COVER NOW RETURNS TO THE COLLECTOR MARKET TO TAKE ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE ALONGSIDE THE WORLD’S MOST IMPORTANT PHILATELIC RARITIES.
Illustrated in “Great Stamps Make Greater Covers”, Richard B. Graham, The American Philatelist, October 1977. Ex Squires, Ackerman, Krug, Luerssen and Baker. With 2009 Philatelic Foundation certificate (number 476371).