A Cover Which Tells its Own Story – Of Some Historical Interest

I was listing items on my webstore https://www.airmailandsurfacecovers.co.uk/ yesterday. One item that caught my eye was a Registered cover sent from Grimsby in Lincolnshire to Monroe in Michigan, USA.

It often takes some time and effort to track the route a cover has taken on its journey. In this case it told its own story. The cover carries postage of 4½d, made up of 2½d letter rate and 2d registration fee. The cover is cancelled with a Grimsby Registered Oval and is dated 10 May 1902.

The reverse of the the cover is also stamped with the Grimsby Registered Oval across the flap.

The cover was carried by rail to Manchester and is stamped with a Manchester Registered Oval ‘7 PM 10 MY 02’ and is further stamped with a Liverpool Registered Oval ‘10.30 PM 10 MY 02’

The Cunard Line SS Campania sailed from Liverpool to New York on 16 May which is the ship the cover would have been carried on.

SS Campania

The cover arrived in New York on 21 May as witnessed by the backstamp.

The cover arrived at its final destination – Monroe, Michigan on 23 May at 8:30AM

The story of the cover does not end here however. The original letter is enclosed. Written by V J Bertrand on 10th May 1902 it is addressed to Dr George F Heath ‘Publisher and Editor of The Numismatist.

Originally published by Dr Heath in 1888 as The American Numismatist the name was shortly changed to The Numismatist. The name was eventually purchased by the American Numismatic Association. The magazine is still published today.

Dr George F Heath

The contents of the letter are fascinating. Mr Bertrand tells us that ‘My speciality in collecting is Napoleonic medals and commemorative medals and paper money and English coins’

He goes on to request an advert in the ‘wanted’ column and encloses a money order for 4 shillings and 2 pence to cover this and his subscription to the magazine.

Archive.org rather helpfully has all of the issues of The Numismatist, vol 15, 1902 and Mr Bertrand makes four appearances within its pages:

V J Bertrand, Application For Membership
V J Bertrand, Application for Membership, June 1902 Issue
V J Bertrand, New Member, July 1902 Issue
Advertisment, July 1902 Issue
Advertisment, July 1902 Issue
Except from letter, September 1902 Issue

The cover and contents are currently for sale (30 June 2020) on my Webstore

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