Sale 1248 — The Magnolia Collection of U.S. Mail in China and Japan: Part 1
Sale Date — Thursday, 16 December, 2021
Category — Mail to China
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE COMBINATION OF THE 30-CENT 1868 F GRILL AND 12-CENT 1869 PICTORIAL ISSUE TO PAY THE 42-CENT RATE TO HONG KONG BY BRITISH MAIL VIA MARSEILLES. ESPECIALLY DESIRABLE WITH THE HONG KONG MARINE SORTER BACKSTAMP.
According to the Webb book, the sorting of mail on board ship was first tried in 1857 and was found to speed the delivery of the mails on arrival in Hong Kong. The Governor of Hong Kong petitioned to make this a permanent position, but the scheme was not implemented. Seven years later, after the GPO decided that Hong Kong should assume greater responsibilities, the sorting plan was green-lighted. An official from the Hong Kong post office would meet the P&O steamer in Singapore and sort the mails during the trip to Hong Kong. The mails could then be delivered immediately on arrival or forwarded faster to their final destination outside of Hong Kong. The new service started with the arrival of mails at the end of July 1868. Mails were sorted between Singapore and Hong Kong, and another line was also established to sort mails between Hong Kong and Shanghai. There are five sub-types of Webb's Type B-2 Marine Sorter marking showing the date of trip. The example offered here is lightly struck, but appears to have the dot instead of a dash between the words "Marine" and "Sorter."