GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by adam78 »

Another thread on these items is
http://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=16804

Adam
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British lettter front 1837

Post by brickie143 »

Image
This letter front is addressed to Sir Henry Wheatly 1837 to St James Palace.
He was keeper of the PrivyPurse to King William the Fouth and Queen Victoria from 1830 to 1846.

Have been off line for a while had computer cleaned up and bought new scanner .
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by rossi »

The letter seems to have been posted at Windsor (Berk).

The sender seems to be WESTENRA, Hon. Henry Robert:
http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1820-1832/me ... -1792-1860
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Brummie »

Boy, you are good rossi. I was looking for Henry R. Westenin and couldn't find anything, it was the dot over the second last letter that made me think it an "i".
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British lettter fronts 1837-1838

Post by brickie143 »

Image
Image
Image
Well it is a cold miserable day,
here are some more names to look up.
Hope you can make them out ok.
Regards
Brickie143 :) :roll:
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by rossi »

It's a pity it's only a front but this is a very interesting piece of postal history:

Image

Based on the known usage dates of some postmarks the letter was sent between 1838 and 1839.
The letter was a free frank but as you will see the franks were not exempted by the local post charges.

The "3" handstruck was put at the receiving house where the letter was sent, the top left of the letter should show the location.
The letter was charged for 1d, see the vertical line starting from TP 2d postmark, showing the local post charge.

When the letter arrived at London the To Pay 1d Only handstruck was put at the General Post Office of London showing that 1d was the amount to be collected.

But the letter was sent to Woolwich, in the country area of London.
So the two-penny post office of London put the TP Rate 2d meaning an additional 2d to be paid for letter transferred from the General Post (London) to the Two-penny Post (London).

The letter was then re-directed to Perth, Scotland.
So the WOOLWICH handstruck was put and the letter charged for a total of 5d, handwritten To pay 5.

Why 5d ?

- 1d, local post charge from the city where the letter was put
- 2d, local London charge for transferring letter from General Post to Two-penny Post
- 2d, local London charge for transferring letter from Two-penny Post to General Post (because the letter was re-directed)
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by rossi »

This letter was sent from Dublin to Woolwich.

Image

The free postmark on the right was put at Dublin.

The letter was charged for 2d because it was delivered in the country area of London (Woolwich).
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by brickie143 »

Thanks Andrea :)
It will be very interesting what you can find on the other fronts
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Re: British lettter fronts 1837-1838

Post by rossi »

brickie143 wrote:Image
On the first front I read Blake.

While the third front in my opinion it was signed by ACLAND, Sir Thomas Dyke,
https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1820-1832/member/acland-sir-thomas-1787-1871
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Brummie »

Been very quiet in here lately.

I found this in my shoebox of covers. I would love any information please.

The back has a cancel and a black wax seal (no crest).

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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by manfaefife »

Here's an interesting one from 1839, of interest i'm sure to BigSaint and his horse racing collections. Sent from Andover by William George Frederic Cavendish Bentinck, though he used the name George Bentinck, he was very much a man of the turf and there's some great reading on him at https://www.historyhome.co.uk/people/bentin-g.htm the front is addressed to a Newmarket trainer Robert Stephenson, trainer of horses of repute back in the day and won many classics. Would have been interesting to have read that correspondance i'm sure.
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by rossi »

Brummie wrote:Been very quiet in here lately.

I found this in my shoebox of covers. I would love any information please.

The back has a cancel and a black wax seal (no crest).

Image
Meglio tardi che mai ( later better than never ) :oops: :oops: ...

The receiving house of Ebury street was in the Town Area of London.

So the local charge, it was applied even to free-franks!, for a letter from Town Area to General Post ( i.e. outside London ) was:
- until April 1831, 2d
- after, Free

So that's why your letter of 1833 doesn't have this type hand-stamps ( and so it was *not* charged ):

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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Bill H UK »

Free Front = "C I London"?

Hi all,
I'm new to this area of collecting - I picked up the Free Front below as I'm interested in the postal history of my home area (Bridlington and surrounding parts of East Riding of Yorkshire). I've learned a lot by reading through the previous posts here, and I now know that the sender of these 'frees' is supposed to sign them bottom left. Now, this one is signed "C I London" (or maybe C J?) - anyone any idea what that means? I assume it's not someone's name? Something ecclesiastical, as the addressee is an archdeacon?
There is something written in light pencil above it, looks like 'Broomfield' (??) but really cant tell.
Any ideas or information would be appreciated!
(Incidentally, I do have good info on the addressee; he's well known locally, and it's why I bought the piece)
free1.jpg
Collecting mint British Empire / Colonial up to the 1960s, Bridlington & East Yorkshire postal history, and wacky postcards.
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj Bill!

Charles James Blomfield was Bishop of London in 1829, so that will be the name in pencil.

Senior bishops were members of the House Of Lords and so were entitled to send letters free.

Cheers,

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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Bill H UK »

honza wrote: 22 Nov 2020 04:59
Ahoj Bill!

Charles James Blomfield was Bishop of London in 1829, so that will be the name in pencil.

Senior bishops were members of the House Of Lords and so were entitled to send letters free.

Cheers,

Honza
I salute your knowledge, sire. Thanks ever so much, brilliant.
I've already checked his Wiki which tells me much more than I'll ever need to know. He had sixteen children by two wives - not bad for a bishop! The addressee's house is now a small hotel which still bears his name, close to where I live.
Perhaps I could trouble you with a more general question about these FFs which has been puzzling me since I got this? :-
Why are they all 'fronts' only?, all neatly cut to about the same size - why do so few seem to have survived 'entire'?
And why are they so cheap and plentiful - a quick look at Ebay brings up hundreds, all mostly for 3 or 4 GBP? I'd have thought they'd be quite rare and sought after?
Thanks again
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj again Bill!

These are numerous because a flourishing pastime in the early 19th century, before stamp-collecting was dreamed of, was to collect the autographs of the famous peers and politicians of the day. such collectors were not interested in the contents of the letters.

It was not customary to use envelopes at this time because postage was charged by weight and number of sheets of paper, so they are not the fronts of envelopes, but the address panel with date and signature from a standard size piece of notepaper that has been folded, tucked in at the sides and sealed with sealing wax. You will usually find part of the letter on the reverse.

Some 60 years ago I purchased a ledger in auction, containing dozens of such fronts for a couple of pounds and this included Nelson, Wellington and Disraeli.

Cheers,

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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Bill H UK »

Thanks again, Honza. Most interesting. I will keep an eye on Ebay in case any more of local interest turn up, now I understand better what I'm looking at.

Cheers
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by highlandtiger »

Time to revive an old thread. Thanks to Glen, from whom I purchased a number of these Free Fronts, (it appears though that these are still circling the globe in a Aussie Post rowing boat, but they will turn up eventually), I've become very interested in these items. I managed to buy a bulk lot of 120 on ebay for just over a quid each.

Very happy with what I got. 3 Princes, 2 Prime Ministers, a dozen or so Bishops, a couple of pre-stamp postmaster generals and the rest all Lords and Barons etc. After a lot of research, I've calculated that between 1818-1840 (The time frame I've decided to collect) there are around 3000 different MP's and about 1200 Lords and Bishops. So plenty to work on. The handwriting takes a lot to get a grip with, and the Lords seem to have much clearer handwriting than the MP's.

This won't be a cheap collection, so I'm limiting myself pricewise. Due to cost, I'm storing these on Hagner Stock sheets, accompanied with a small description card created by my good self. I'm happy with the way it looks. Although I will splash out on a decent binder for them eventually.

If anyone has any of these they are willing to sell, feel free to drop me a line. Anyway, here are the pick of the bunch.
001.jpg
002.jpg
If anyone can help ID'ing the signatures of any of these three that would be great
003.jpg
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Global Administrator »

Challenging project. 8-)

Latter one is probably - George Henry Rose -

https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1790-1820/m ... -1770-1855
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by highlandtiger »

Global Administrator wrote: 20 Jan 2022 20:53 Challenging project. 8-)

Latter one is probably - George Henry Rose -

https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1790-1820/m ... -1770-1855
Thanks. That was one "Rose" that fitted. The other possibility was George Pitt Rose but it seems he wasn't an MP in 1834, seeing as he lost his seat in 1832. I feel happier assigning this to GH Rose, now that someone else thinks the same.
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Global Administrator »

First one is 'HILL' for sure.

If you get lucky it will be Sir Rowland! :lol: :lol: :lol:

https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/research/members/1790-1820/H
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by highlandtiger »

Global Administrator wrote: 20 Jan 2022 21:11 First one is 'HILL' for sure.

If you get lucky it will be Sir Rowland! :lol: :lol: :lol:

https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/research/members/1790-1820/H
Turns out this one is actually Sir George Fitzgerald Hill 2nd baronet, MP for Londonderry
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by highlandtiger »

The middle one has been doing my head in for weeks, just couldn't match it with anyone. Had a brainwave this morning, and realised it was Rosslyn, Sir James St.Clair-Erskine,6th baronet.

Owner of the wonderful Rosslyn Chapel, made famous by Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, (who leant heavily on the work done by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln in their book "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail")
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by highlandtiger »

Visited Cardiff today for a little stamp and coin fair, not a huge selection of stamps, but I managed to pick up another 25 free fronts, all around the £1-£3 mark.

I've spent all night trying to decipher the signatures, but I'm stuck on 4 and I need some new eyes to possibly send me in the right direction. If you have any thoughts on these signatures I'd be grateful.

Thanks

HT
001.jpg
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Re: Can anyone identify these GB Free Front signatures

Post by honza »

honza wrote: 12 Jan 2014 05:55 Ahoj everyone!

Can anyone please help identify the signatures on these GB Free Fronts?

1 Image

Image

2 Image

Image

3 Image

Image

4 Image

Image

5 Image

Image

Thank you,

Honza
Ahoj everyone,

I have pulled out my GB free fronts again.

Has anyone had any inspiration about identifying the signatures on the covers above?

I think the first may be Arthur French M.P. for Roscommon 1821-32 Anyone agree?

Cheers,

Honza
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj again!

Two more free fronts that I think I have identified.

6
3519  GB  free to Dublin  18311214.jpg
Free Front dated 14 DE 1831sent from Lurgan to Dublin
3519b  autograph  Brownlow 18311214.jpg
The sender was Charles Brownlow M.P. for Lurgan in Ireland
3519a  FREE  18311214.jpg
A red shovel-shaped FREE mark, presumably Irish:

7
3520  GB  free to Dublin 18081229.jpg
Free Front, dated 29 DE 1808 from Loughrea to Dublin
3520c  autograph J Neill 18081229.jpg
The sender was J.B.R. O'Neill, M.P. for Co. Antrim in Ireland
3520a  FREE  18081229.jpg
a red decorative FREE mark, presumably Irish
3520b  LOUGHREA 87  18081229.jpg
LOUGHREA 87 mileage mark in black.

All comments welcome,

Cheers,
Honza
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj everyone!

At the core of appreciating and understanding FREE fronts is the FREE mark itself.

Would anyone object to the discussion, illustration and identification of such marks on this thread as well as examining the people sending them?

For example has anyone any information on this FREE mark?
FREE  18331209.jpg
It is dated 1833, but looks much older. Could it be Irish?

The front has the signature of Henry Goulburn M.P for Cambridge University, who seems to have been second only to Wellesley in the administration of Ireland and was sent to Worcester.
GB  FREE Worcester 18331209.jpg
Cheers,

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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

I see now that the mark has DUBLIN at the bottom, so obviously Irish.

Cheers,

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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Lakatoi 4 »

Honza,

Your Free mark above is Lovegrove type JL106/Willcocks & Jay type 931. Used from 9-4-1832 to 9-2-1835 and is rated G (good copies are hard to find).
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Erinmania »

honza wrote: 23 Jun 2022 03:45 I see now that the mark has DUBLIN at the bottom, so obviously Irish.

Cheers,

Honza
Honza

This mark is also recorded in the Collect British Postmarks 9th Edition as 1A/36 with a guide price of £60.00 for an entire in clean condition. A Front is estimated to be a third of that value.

Your front referenced 7 is certainly Irish as is the "mermaid removed " Loughrea front.
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj Lakatoi4 and Erinmania!

Thank you both for your helpful replies and nice to see you have migrated successfully to this thread.

Does anyone else have any questions or would you like to show some of your interesting material. I don't want it to seem that I am monopolising the thread.

Cheers,

Honza
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj again!

This is a free front signed by James Halse M.P. for St. Ives.
GB  FREE Brighton  Camberwell Green TP 18380402.jpg
It has a nice T.P. Camberwell Green mark as well as the FREE stamp.
CAMBERWELL GREEN T.P.jpg
Since the destination BRIGHTON is outside the London area, would the Twopenny Post charge be for getting the letter to the LONDON office of the national post rather than a local delivery charge?

Cheers,

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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Erinmania »

Honza

Although my collecting interest is based solely on Irish stamps and postal history ,it is accurate to say that the
two penny post charge is a London local post charge for transferring the mail into the General Post system for delivery to Brighton.
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj Erinmania,

Thank you again for your quick and concise answer.
3535  GB  FREE Surrey TP RATE 2d 18380711.jpg
This is another FREE front with the signature of H.C. Compton, M.P. for South Hampshire 1835-7
3535b  autograph  A C Compton 18380711.jpg
It also has a T.P. 2d rate cachet.
3535c  T P Rate 2d  18380711.jpg
Would this mark be applied before or after handing the item over to the 2d Post for delivery. Was the name of the 2d Post only inscribed in the despatch marks?

Cheers,

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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Erinmania »

Honza

I would suggest this is a charge raised by the General Post to take the letter into the London Postal District.
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj Erinmania!

Thank you again for your quick response.

By London Postal District do you mean the 2d Post area? If so, wouldn't that mean the item would be charged a further 2d for delivery, making 4d in all?

Cheers,

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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Erinmania »

Yes I mean the Local London Postal district as opposed to the London Country Districts.

I stand to be corrected but I think that any additional charge would only be levied if the item was either re-directed or forwarded to an area outside of the local posts.
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj again!

This front is a bit of a conundrum.
GB  FREE to Hants 18360422.jpg
The signature has been identified on the back as J.W. Gordon Bt., M.P. for Newport.

There was an M.P. of that name for Launceston for 1830-1, but this front is dated 1836.

Would this gentleman be entitled to free postage as a baronet or Quarter-Master General to the Forces rather than as a serving M.P?

Cheers,

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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj again,

Sorry to post another question before anyone has had time to answer the last one, but is this an Irish FREE stamp with an A at the bottom.
FREE mark with A at bottom of circle
FREE mark with A at bottom of circle
Earlier in the thread we had English franks with a cross at the bottom, meaning it was the relief hammer used at busy times.

What does the A signify in this case?

Cheers,

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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Erinmania »

honza wrote: 26 Jun 2022 01:21
Ahoj again,

Sorry to post another question before anyone has had time to answer the last one, but is this an Irish FREE stamp with an A at the bottom.

Image

Earlier in the thread we had English franks with a cross at the bottom, meaning it was the relief hammer used at busy times.

What does the A signify in this case?

Cheers,

Honza
This type of Free was in use from 1835 until 1840.

It can be found with M , A or E at the foot of the stamp. indicating Morning, Afternoon or Evening.
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Erinmania »

honza wrote: 25 Jun 2022 22:19
Ahoj again!

This front is a bit of a conundrum.

Image

The signature has been identified on the back as J.W. Gordon Bt., M.P. for Newport.

There was an M.P. of that name for Launceston for 1830-1, but this front is dated 1836.

Would this gentleman be entitled to free postage as a baronet or Quarter-Master General to the Forces rather than as a serving M.P?

Cheers,

Honza
Following the amalgamation of the English and Irish Post Offices an act of 1832 limited the free franking privilege to the MP ,the Lord Lieutenant and his Secretaries the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary and Surveyors of the Post Office.
A quick look at google and indeed a J.W.Gordon lost his seat in 1832. There was also a William Gordon who was MP for Aberdeen during 1836. Perhaps this letter should not have been allowed the free franking privilege due to mistaken identity ?.
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj Erinmania!

Thank you for explaining the A in the Irish FREE mark and your comments on W Gordon.

I am inclined to think now that the appellation on the reverse was wrong and the W. Gordon was the Aberdeenshire M.P. you have found. That would make the date and entitlement fit.

Cheers,

Honza
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj again!

Yet more questions.

This a Free wrapper from Frenchpark in Ireland to Bristol in England
3527  GB  Free to Bristol 18301027.jpg
3527a  GB  Free to Bristol 18301027 rev.jpg
It was sent by Arthur French II, M.P. for Roscommon
3527e  autograph  French 18301027.jpg
and has a faint Frenchpark mileage mark
3527b  FRENCHPARK  18301027.jpg
The wide spade FREE mark in red I presume is Irish and would have been stamped in Dublin en route.
3527d  FREE  18301027.jpg
On the reverse is a nice red double-ring octagonal mark in red
3527c  BRISTOL maybe 18301027.jpg
My first question is: Where was this mark on the reverse applied - Dublin, Bristol, London?

Secondly I understand that FREE marks were only stamped in London, Dublin & Edinburgh. Does that men that a FREE letter from Liverpool to Manchester would have to travel via London?

In the case of this letter would it travel straight to Bristol from Dublin or would it have to go to London first?

Cheers,

Honza
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Erinmania »

The "Spade" type of Frank was in use between 1813 and 1832. As you suggest this was applied in Dublin.

The Octagonal mark on the reverse is of a type used as a backstamp to denote the date of receipt of the letter in Dublin. The "AM" morning part of the backstamp indicates it is of a type used between 1829 and 1831.

As the letter already had a "Free" mark and therefore no need to be inspected further it would in my opinion have gone direct to Bristol.

As "Free" marks were only applied in the three capitals with the requirement to be inspected by a Post Office official
I would suggest that was indeed the case.
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by honza »

Ahoj Erinmania!

Thank you again for your help.

Do you have any information on this postmark please?
3529a  FREE  18290518.jpg
Cheers,

Honza
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Re: GB old QV era MP Covers or "Free Fronts" - Discussion

Post by Erinmania »

This appears to be another Irish Free of what I term "Mermaid Simplified" as it has the figure of the "Mermaid" and any protrusions removed.

There are several variations to this frank involving the size of pearls and the line of the crown.
Date of use 1813 to 1832.
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