A FASCINATING AND EXTREMELY RARE COVER TO ROME WITH A BLOCK OF NINE OF THE PERFORATED 3-CENT 1857 TYPE I. THIS IS THE LARGEST KNOWN USED MULTIPLE.
This cover combines several interesting features. The presence of both the 23c debit to Prussia for an unpaid letter via Prussian Closed Mail and the 7c credit for a pre-paid letter is contradictory, and neither marking is crossed out. The New York foreign mail clerk may not have initially seen the franking on the reverse and therefore struck the black debit marking before correcting his mistake with the red credit, or he may have struck the red credit marking first and then realized that the letter would be short paid going to Rome and so struck the black marking as unpaid. In addition, despite the fact that under the Prussian convention letters could not be part paid, typically mail that was addressed beyond the borders of the GAPU was accepted as prepaid to the border with the 30c rate. This letter's prepayment was totally disregarded. Whatever the reasons for its handling, this is a rare and fascinating usage.