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Asia/China : Tucked into US Lot

13 Aug 2014
Now and then, I just roll the dice and buy lots, maybe like some of you. I purchased a very small lot of US covers on eBay and this one was tucked in among the US covers.

Note that the address is from a C.A. Ingalls aboard the USS Helena, Nanking China. The cover received a nice Rutland Vermont Flag backstamp and an additional Chinese CDS that appears to be Shanghai. Rutland must have been a transit point for mail addressed to Chittenden, Vermont.

A little quick checking informed me that Helena was a US gunboat built at the shipyards of Newport News, Virginia in 1896, so she would have been about 10 years old at the time of this mailing. The gunboat saw action in the Spanish American War and well as the Philippine American War. After that period the Helena was transferred to China.

There are two groups of people on two bridges in the illustration. The top bridge appears to have 5 military men and the bottom bridge has 5 Chinese men in traditional garb for the era. The illustration is very lightly hand tinted.

At some point, I will research this stamp on cover.


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Editor, Seal News; contributor, JuicyHeads
14 Aug 2014
re: Tucked into US Lot

incredible cover. I occasionally see mail from sailors and marines on China station on gunboats; mostly philatelic.

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