This cover displays the earliest known postal markings applied in New Orleans.
It dates to 1784 and looks set to be one of the highlights of Robert A Siegel’s auction of the Steven Walske Collection of North American Blockade Run Mail and French Royal Packet Mail.
The letter is marked YNDIAS (Indies)
The lot was sent to France, travelling via Cuba and Spain.
The Spanish set up packet connections between New Orleans and Spain, via the city of Havana, in the mid 18th century.
The final section of the journey, from Spain to France, was made overland.
The service was disrupted between 1779 and 1783 due to the revolutionary war. This is one of only three surviving covers sent from New Orleans to France post-1783.
It’s expected to sell for around $30,000-35,000.
A letter sent from Rotterdam, Holland to Richmond, Virginia in 1861 is valued at $7,500-10,000.
When the US civil war broke out, the Union navy blockaded Confederate ports. In response, fast, lightweight ships known as blockade runners were used to carry mail.
These were of little use though. By the end of the war, the Union navy had captured or sunk close to 1,500 of these vessels.
This shutdown of supply and communications was a huge factor in the military success of the northern states.
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