Seapost -> Robertson -> Too Late Ship Sailed marks

Too Late Ship Sailed marks of Queenstown and Cork

By Julian H Jones


The article Queenstown - Too Late / Ship Sailed in the TPO Journal of Winter 2021 drew an enthusiastic response from one of our members who provided images of covers from his collection which provided answers to questions in the original article and provided two examples of a mark previously known only by its description and referenced as M2 in Tabeart's Robertson Revisited. Those covers are illustrated here with the member's permission.

In the instances shown the letters are addressed either to a passenger or a member of crew of a ship known to be passing through Queenstown to pick up / set down passengers and mails before proceeding on its voyage. The post office at Queenstown appears to have been well equipped to deal with such letters in the event that they had missed the boat!

Examples of covers

Manuscript and manuscript style handstamp Ship Sailed dated 1884

Boxed straight line SHIP SAILED, Robertson M1. Recorded dates are 1893-1906 but other date extensions probably exist.

Boxed two line TOO LATE / SHIP SAILED dated 1904. The Robertson M2 date period may now be recorded as 1903-1931. A postcard illustrated in TPO Journal No 354 is dated 'OC 7 03'. This 1904 ppc may well be the card referred to on page 57, Note 2, of Robertson Revisited. But see references.

Boxed two line TOO LATE / SHIP SAILED Robertson M2 dated 1931.

Reverse of a cover dated 1946 illustrating an un-framed TOO LATE / SHIP SAILED.

Front of the 1946 cover.

Cover addressed to a US ship showing an un-framed straight line TOO LATE SHIP SAILED mark. The date is 20 May 1959 while on the reverse is a purple backstamp dated 21 May 59 of the United States Line. This is an improved image of that shown in the TPO Journal 354 of Winter 2021.

The Queenstown 'TOO LATE / SHIP SAILED' mark, M2, is listed in Robertson Revisited, Second Supplement 2016, with a date of 1904. The cover shown in the article in the TPO Journal of Winter 2021 extends this to 1903 and the second example shown above extends the date to 1931.



Tabeart, C; Jones, JH; Morris, K: Queenstown - Too Late / Ship Sailed, TPO Journal No 354, Vol; 75,No 4, Winter 2021, TPO & Seapost Society
Tabeart, C: Robertson Revisited, James Bendon, Ltd., Limassol, 1997. Queenstown marks listed on pages 56 and 57 covering Cove, Queenstown (from 1849) and Cobh (from 1922).
Tabeart, C: Robertson Revisited, Second Supplement 2016, TPO & Seapost Society, 2016, lists a 1904 instance of M2

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