Free Post

Every now and then we uncover a  hidden gem in the collection.  A bit of philatelic sleuthing has recently lead us to incover a fascinating story behind a rather ordinary envelope.

The official On Her Majesty’s Service envelope is addressed to Major Durie of the Wanganui Militia.  It bears the stamp “FREE WANGANUI” and is the only one of its kind found to date.

1802.3832

The British Post Office initially provided the town with the date stamp bearing the name PETRE, and even after it was officially changed to WANGANUI in 1854, due to budgetary constraints it took another eight years for the new stamps to be issued and used. This envelope is dated 1862, the year the new stamps came into effect, and is a unique example of a free-post stamp being issued to a second class post office.

There we have it – one of a kind, in Whanganui!

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