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Latin America/All : Caribbean cancellation puzzle

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pigdoc
12 Jan 2021
07:32:41pm
I've been building a Caribbean cancellation collection.

I just received a lot of Jamaica stamps to sort through, and this one (Jamaica Sc7, with the crown and CC watermark, issued 1870) has me puzzled:
Image Not Found

The cancellation does not look like something a postal authority would have applied. I believe it is a 'consignee' cachet. Consignees accepted consignments of mail from business concerns to be forwarded to postal authorities for delivery. There were many of these concerns operating. The markings were commonly applied to the left side of covers and lettersheets. Often, these markings were shaped like an American football, and this marking also seems to be shaped that way.

I was hoping someone might recognize it.

Across the bottom, I see ST T
ST THOMAS?

Across the top, I see a partial N, then OO and then there's an AL under the ST of "POSTAGE". It's difficult to decipher, because it looks like the stamp was struck twice, and the upper strike is upside down. In the upper left corner of the stamp, I see an upside down A.

If I had a list of consignees from the early 1870s, I could probably find a match. I would just like to confirm it was marked in St. Thomas. Seems strange if that is so, but there are a lot of odd markings in the Caribbean steamship era. And, lots of examples of a stamp issued by one authority being cancelled by another.

That's why I'm collecting them! The Caribbean postal system of the steamship era is a sprawling puzzle.

Thanks,
-Paul



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DaveSheridan
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12 Jan 2021
10:37:11pm
re: Caribbean cancellation puzzle

As the cancel is dated, I'm not sure it would be a forwarding agent cancel. I haven't seen a dated example. It's more likely to be a revenue cancel I think.

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pigdoc
12 Jan 2021
10:43:36pm
re: Caribbean cancellation puzzle

Finally found a LONG list of mail Forwarding Agents, here:

Forwarding Agents by Cities

Haven't found a match for the marking on the stamp, yet...

Just a nugget, from Robert G. Stone's book, A Caribbean Neptune which explains the proliferation of forwarding agents (or consignees):

Quote:

"The St. Thomas economy from 1816 to about 1880 was dominated by the entrepot trade, operated by various commission houses of foreign merchants - British, French, U.S., Spanish, German, etc. Goods were imported from Europe and the United States and re-exported to the Antilles islands and the Spanish Main. This involved an enormous correspondence and put a premium on finding ships that could carry it - an often hectic and frustrating business. In connection therewith, the St. Thomas merchants increasingly engaged in the practice of forwarding mail for their customers and later for others as well. At times they operated private post offices to facilitate mail forwarding."



-Paul



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pigdoc
13 Jan 2021
10:42:04am
re: Caribbean cancellation puzzle

Hooboy, coming up with VERY little in my research.

I did find a listing for a Harmer auction that was tantalizing:

Quote:

"from St Thomas, New-York Ship/ 7cts,Jan 16 incoming strike on 3c Red on buff entire, with printed Nesbitt seal on reverse flap, mss Due 4 at center, addressed to Connectucut, origination at St Thomas VI with mss "Forwrded by your humble svt, Hy Degsan & Thoop, St Thomas 3/1.54", clear oval "Foreign Letter Office, St Thomas" very scarce forwarding agent marking on Nesbitt "



"THOOP" would seem to fit the marking, and may have had the custom of dating their forwarding marks. Very tenuous evidence...

If I see Phil Bansner or Alan Warren, I'll show them this stamp and get their read on it.
Otherwise, I'm at an end on this one.

-Paul



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