One of the best parts about postal history collecting is that there are hidden gems out there in dealers’ bargain bins or chucked into job lots on Auction sites. The following turned out to be one when we did a little research. It’s from 1939 and as well as the rare and unusual franking had quite a journey!
Despatch & Destination Details
It was posted on Saturday, March 25th 1939 and was sent from Miami to the small Burmese village of Htawgaw. The village is quite remote and close to the Chinese border. It is likely that the postal service there at the time was quite primitive hence it was sent to the district postmaster rather than to the individual’s address. The dispatch postmark is Coconut Grove Station which again adds some interest given that even today Coconut Grove is quite a small location, by Florida standards anyway.
Franking & Postal Rate.
It has a nice mixed franking comprising…
1926 20c Airmail top value from the set
1937 China Clipper 50c Airmail
1938 5c Blue Presidents Definitive
This is a pretty unique combination and the airmail stamps included are rarely found on cover singly never mind combined.
Overall this gives a rate of 75c which is above the quoted minimum rate for Burma in March 1939. At the time it was quoted as being 70c per 1/2oz. Given this, the franking probably occurred as the poster was clearing out their stamp drawer that day!
In 1939 post to Burma was normally routed via San Francisco, the hub for the “Trans-Pacific Air Mail” service. Its scheduled departure was Wednesday afternoons (in this case 29th March) and the expected time to Rangoon was 10 days.
Although there were also routes via London & Amsterdam we are pretty sure this was the route taken as its first point of call appears to be Victoria Hong Kong. It was back-stamped here a week later on the afternoon of the 5th of April which corresponds with the postal services quoted delivery time to either China or Hong Kong.
Its next stop was at Rangoon on the 8th of April pretty much bang on the quoted delivery time!
From there it was forwarded on to Myitkyina, arriving there on the 11th April, 1939 – 17 days after leaving Coconut Grove. Not too bad for a near 12,000-mile journey!