Foreign Section 2.

Foreign Section — Circular datestamp 1800-1806

F.O. 1801 click here for details

This is a rather poor smudged example of the new type that came into use in 1800. It showed the words FOREIGN-OFFICE at the top, the year in 4 figures at the bottom of the stamp, with the date in a centre circle. The stamps varied in size between 29 and 32mm and this one is 29mm. They were applied in black ink. This is another mark which is relatively common according to the Willcocks & Jay catalogue, but this is the first one we have seen or obtained.
received 30th June click here for details The interesting thing about this letter is that the postmark is the only indication that it came from abroad. The first part of the letter has been torn away so that there is no originating address. The only other postal marking is the charge mark of 2/2. But the recipient has made a note on the outside of the letter that it came from Mr. Trail, 14th May 1801 and was received by him six weeks later, on 30th June. This is odd, as the London postmark appears to be 30th May.
address panelclick here for details This is a new type introduced in 1806 and in use until August 1816. It varied between 24 and 26mm had only the word FOREIGN at the top of the stamp. This letter was sent from Paris, France 30th April, 1814 and arrived in London May 5th. It was written by a lady to her mother, one week after Napoleon had abdicated and was banished to Elba. The Foreign Stamp -in black- has been superimposed on the Twopenny Post stamp -in red-, and this should have been the other way around, as the letter should have gone to the Foreign section first, and then onto the Twopenny Post for delivery. However, the two datestamps explain why the cost was changed from 1/2 to 1/4 — this would have been the extra two pence for delivery to Croydon.
There is another interesting thing about this postmark. The figures of the date are sideways in relation to the word FOREIGN, and yet most of these stamps have the dates upright, as illustrated below.

sideways   upright

Copyright 2002 E. J. Shanahan

By EARS Leisurewrite
Foreign Office, part 3.

Introduction

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