Thursday, December 1, 2016

Around the World

The month of December makes it official, Rob is allowed to revisit his postal history hobby at least a little bit.  I realize many people who do read this blog have very little interest in this topic - but I do try to keep it light.  And, after all, this is a reminder to me and to everyone who reads this blog that each of us is more complex than the box we are normally placed into.  Many of you know me as "Farmer Rob," but the farmer does have other things he likes to do other than farm!

I enjoy postal history that illustrates mail in the 1800's that crosses national borders. It's a combination of the use of postage stamps, the markings placed on the envelopes, the modes and routes of transportation, the agreements between countries and sometimes, the content and addressees of the mail.

We start our journey in Austria.  No reason why, other than the fact that I have this item from Graz in the southern part of the country.  Graz is currently the second largest city in Austria after Vienna and has Slovene origins.  Sadly, whoever sent this item to the United States didn't put enough postage on it!
Austria to the U.S. 1884
Since I focus more on items that originate in the United States, it is easier for me to find something from here that goes elsewhere.  Perhaps we should go visit the scene of Romeo and Juliet in Verona?  This letter was sent 'Registered' which increased the tracking of the mail's progress.  It cost 15 cents at the time, so this must have been important!
U.S. to Italy 1889
While in Italy, we can run on down to Tuscany and visit the city of Firenze (Florence to you and me).  While we are there, we could look at works by Botticelli, da Vinci and Michelangelo.  Next stop, Amsterdam!
Italy to the Netherlands 1868
For some reason, I've always enjoyed the stamps of the Netherlands.  And, I have a fondness for postal history in the 1860's.   So, of course, I was more than pleased when this item came my way.  You might notice that many of these letters have private company markings (see bottom left on this one).  Much of the postal history people like me collect have survived because of company archives that were eventually released for sale to collectors.
the Netherlands to England 1865
Cross the channel going North and now we go back across the Channel to the South.  It is possible that the highest volumes of mail on the planet at this time crossed the channel at some point between England and France.
England to France 1868
Part of my motivation for doing this was a recent trip to Chicago for Chicagopex, which gave me opportunities to find and purchase a few items of interest to me.  I do not get to do this very often, so I was very pleased to have the opportunity.  A couple of these items were purchased there.  None of them are incredibly rare or expensive, but I enjoy them - and that is enough.

So, we return across the Atlantic on a French ship that leaves from the French port of St Nazaire, arriving eventually in Mexico.  We'll just have to find a way to cross the border on our own since I do not have anything that goes from Mexico to the United States right now.
France to Mexico 1869
I hope you enjoyed this quick trip around the world.

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