CEYLON – Possibly a Unique Registered "PENCE ISSUE" Cover from 1858

3/05/2012     Ceylon

Below is depicted an 1858 (December) entire letter, marked "via Marseilles"; it is registered to John Cook, in Edinburgh, Scotland. It bears first issue imperforate stamps, consisting of the 1s slate violet (SG 10) horizontal pair, and the 6d purple brown on blued paper (SG 1). These paid the Registration Fee and are tied by barred cancels. The reverse clearly shows a "KANDY/STEAMER LETTER" cds and arrival mark, having taken just 33 days in transit.

Since the late 1800s, the classic 1857-59 imperforate issues of Ceylon have attracted the most serious of philatelists. Over the years, several important 'named' collections have come onto the auction market; notably Baron De Worms, Pearson and more recently the celebrated Joseph Hackmey sales. Each of these sales contained a fantastic array of the first stamp issue, including good ranges of rare covers showing the various rates for inland and foreign destinations. Amongst these famous and comprehensive collections however, THERE ARE NO REGISTERED COVERS bearing the first imperforate stamps, and IN FACT very few are known bearing the first perforated types.

The late Martin Wilcox was the leading collector of Registered mail from around the world. He recorded 'ONLY FIVE PENCE ISSUE COVERS THAT WERE REGISTERED, NONE OF WHICH HAVE IMPERF ISSUES'; thus confirming this particular cover's possibly unique status.

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