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Helgoland The Pre-Adhesive Stamp Period

Danish Rule

Letters from England to Helgoland are known from as early as 1810. Because Helgoland was officially under Danish rule until 1814 mail was cancelled with a red “Foreign” cancel inscribed with the number “195” and year.

Above: An 1810 Letter with the “Foreign 195” Cancellation

This article is the second in a series of ten relating to the stamps and postal history of Helgoland. #2/10

Letters from Helgoland to England are known from as early as 1814. Prior to the transfer from Dutch to British rule a “Foreign” cancellation should have been applied to all outgoing mail, but this was not consistent.

British Rule

After the transfer to British rule no postmarks existed until 1849 therefore the origin of the letter could only be recognised by a place and date inscription by the sender.

Upto 1849 where mail could be identified as originating from Helgoland the Hamburg ship letter handstamp would have been applied.

Hamburg Influence

Letters to destinations other than England and Germany are known from 1846. The Hamburg City Post would have cancelled this mail and have onward transit marks applied depending on its destination. The Hamburg City Posts had close working relationships with other German state posts and would have used these services for transfer of mail. The state post of Thurn and Taxis had a strong influence on mail routes from Hamburg especially to Austria and surrounding areas.

Pre 1849 outgoing letters from Helgoland had a Hamburg ship letter cancellation applied as an origin mark as the island did not have its own cancellation at this time. Only letters notified by the sender or identifiable as posted from Helgoland would receive this origin mark.

1849 to 1852

From July 1849 to July 1852 the ship letter cancellations were replaced by a manuscript origin mark “Heligoland” applied by the Hamburg postmaster.

In July 1852 the city post office of Hamburg used a straight-line “Helgoland.” cancellation until April 1867.

From July 1862 to April 1867 the associated postal cancellations and origin marks of Hamburg were also applied to mail.

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