1854 Plymouth Packet Letter from Mauritius


Packet Letter Mark detail Rare example of the PLYMOUTH PACKET-LETTER mark similar to Robertson type P2 [1] in yellow ink on a folded letter sent from Mauritius via the Cape of Good Hope in May 1854. It was carried by the General Screw Steam Ship Co. steamer Indiana that arrived at Port Louis on 2 April 1854 from India and Ceylon, and left presumably on the 4th, via Cape of Good Hope, to arrive at Plymouth on 27 May 1854 [2]. The cover bears the cachet of the forwarding agent in Mauritius and a fine PACKET LETTER MAURITIUS mark. The letter was rated the one shilling packet fee on arrival in London (1/- in manuscript) and bears a dated red London receiving mark.

Notes and Census

As the above suggests, this Plymouth Mark is similar to Robertson's Plymouth type P2, but not quite! Robertson, as updated by Colin Tabeart's book, lists this mark in different colours: Red is known in 1853, black in 1854-56, yellow (as above) in 1854, green in 1856-58 and finally blue in 1858. Five colours in five years. It is possible that some or all of those have the hyphen between PACKET and LETTER in the hand stamp. Tabeart notes via an email that usually when these stamps were made up for the major ports several were made at the same time so as to allow for several clerks to handle the mail, and there might be minor variants.

The Society would like to conduct a census of covers with the Plymouth Packet Letter mark P2 or similar to help clarify the record. If anyone has copies of any of the marks in any colours listed then the Society would like to hear from you so that we can do some more research into this subject so do please get in touch with us.



1 Tabeart, C: Robertson Revisited, James Bendon, Ltd., Limassol,1997
2 Ruffle, JWB: Mauritius Maritime Mail 1815-68, Part 1 published by the Indian Ocean Study Circle Sep 1987.
Indian Ocean Study Circle websites: new site, old site and general information.

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