Danish West Indies
As the headline implies - this cover is very special. It is just about as philatelic as it gets. The sender is Mr. Qvist who was a known philatelist and also the receiver of another very rare cover cancelled Christiansted June 4 (please refer to the section "First and Final days").
SEVERAL FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES SET THIS COVER APART:
- It was sent June 5 - the day after the final day of authorized use of the bisected 4 cents.
- It was sent from Christiansted to Frederiksted and returned on the same day (The mule cart carrying post between the two Post Offices made the trip twice a day).
- It seems highly coordinated as the receiver in Frederiksted Mr. Olsen - overwrites his name and redirects the cover back to the sender Mr. Qvist in Christiansted.
- There are 4 bisected stamps on the cover
- Only 2 of the bisected stamps were cancelled leaving the other 2 untouched.
- The 4 bisected stamps originate from 2 stamps. It has been verified that 2 single 4 cents stamps were bisected to 4 stamps. The two 4 cents stamps are Printing 3 Pos. 11 and 12. Pos. 12 has the oval flaw "White spot over the E in VEST". The use of a stamp with an oval flaw highly underlines the philatelic motivation and strongly suggests that the sender put the bisected stamps on the cover himself.
- The cover is backstamped Frederiksted June 5 and Christiansted June 5.
Why were there 4 bisected stamps on the cover - did they plan to make another round of back and forth between Christiansted and Frederiksted?
On June 4 - it was decided that the use of bisected 4 cents stamps should be put to an end. Interestingly - this was first published in the St. Croix Avis on June 6 (Saturday) as the St. Croix Avis did not publish on June 4 and 5.
This cover proves that both St. Croix Post Offices accepted the use of bisected stamps on June 5 - though it is very likely that they would have known about the final day of use June 4 - prior to that day. Alternatively the news got to them during the day on June 5 and they therefore regarded the cover as legitimate mail and cancelled it accordingly? The latter explanation I personally find hard to believe - as they must have been aware that the bisects came to an end on June 4. This due to the fact - that they had cancelled (at least in Christiansted) a 2 cents Coat of Arms June 4. Please refer to the page "2 CENTS COAT OF ARMS".
I would happily hear any suggestions from you fellow collectors to help solve the puzzle of this most exciting and rare cover.
In V. Engstroms book "Danish West Indies Mails 1754-1917" there is a photo of the other known cover sent on June 5 by the same two gentlemen using the same procedure - but this cover only contains 2 bisected stamps.