VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A COLORFUL AND EXTREMELY RARE MIXED-ISSUE COVER TO ROME WITH RED BALTIMORE FOREIGN MAIL MARKINGS, SENT FULLY PAID TO ITS DESTINATION BY NORTH GERMAN UNION CLOSED MAIL.
Rome at this point was still part of the Papal States, defended in part by French troops and not yet incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy. The most common route for mail from the U.S. to Rome was via French Mail. The mate to the cover offered here (ex Vogel, Siegel Sale 995, lot 2203, realized $8,500 hammer) was the subject of an article by George Hargest in Chronicle No. 45. At the time of mailing, Baltimore was an exchange office for some foreign mails. This letter was routed through New York where it went by Closed Mail via England to Ostend, then by the travelling post office from Verviers to Cologne, where the bag was opened and an accounting was made. It was then likely exchanged with the Italian railway post office that carried the letter to Rome.
With 2008 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. A SPECTACULAR AND RARE MOURNING COVER WITH 1869 PICTORIAL STAMPS PAYING THE 19-CENT RATE TO ITALY VIA NORTH GERMAN UNION CLOSED MAIL. VERY FEW HIGH-DENOMINATION 1869 PICTORIAL COVERS EXIST WITH STAMPS CANCELLED IN RED.
This was carried on the Inman Line's Siberia from New York on January 22, 1870, arriving Liverpool February 2. It is the latest recorded use of the red Baltimore "Four Diamonds" foreign mail cancel. A nearly identical cover (ex Dr. LeBow and Walske), mailed from Baltimore one day earlier, realized $8,000 hammer in our 2005 Rarities sale