Rhode Island Stampless Covers & Letters
1871 to 1872 European Trip Itinerary
on Reverse of 1849-51 Cover with New York CDS

This letter presents a bit of a mystery as the postal marking would seem to show an earlier mailing than the internal letter/itinerary contents indicate. It is an SFL (Stampless Folded Letter) with the outline and dates of a complete European trip that the writer appears to have undertaken in 1871 and 1872. 
SEE Below For: Complete text of European Trip

The CDS (Circular Date Stamp) is a common domestic New York City cancel that was in use from 1847 to 1851 (Red, wide spaced letters -5 Cts in SL). The mystery in the postage is due to the letter's contents being dated from 1871 to 1872. The Postal Act of March 3, 1863 set the rate for first class domestic mail of any distance at 3 cents.

Prepayment was made compulsory on all domestic mail after 1863. There were no other markings of any kind indicating that this letter might have been overseas mail. If it was sent as indicated after the European trip, which ended in September of 1872, then the rate should have been 3 cents, not 5 cents.

If this letter was actually sent by the writer of the European inventory; the Red CDS (red designates paid) indicates a mailing date of March 31, quite a long time after the trip ended. The letter/inventory states that the writer left Liverpool on the 3rd of September. I found one ship sailing from Liverpool on September 3, 1872, which was most likely the ship that the writer returned home on. HMS Batavia of the Cunard Line sailed from Liverpool on that day; arriving in New York on September 15, 1872. At any rate, this still does not account for the 5 cent charge and the 1849-51 typical New York CDS cancel.

I believe the most likely scenario is that the writer of the European schedule used the blank reverse of a folded cover that had been sent much earlier during the 1849-51 period to write on, but that this inventory was not actually sent through the mails.

The Twenty nine/ was most likely the original mailer's personal numbering system and might have indicated the 29th mailing/delivery for 1872 or the 29th copy of the itinerary mailed out and is not a rate marking.

I have printed out the itinerary below exactly as listed in the letter, although I had to do quite a bit of map searching on some of the names as they were not very clear and some names have changed slightly from their 19th century names.  I hope that you (my readers) have as much fun as I did locating all of these towns and cities throughout Europe. They include towns in France, Italy Switzerland, Germany, Holland, Belgium, England, and Scotland.

Tour in Europe 1871 - 1872

August 1871

16th Liverpool London

20th 23rd Paris, France


18th Reims 20th Soissons

21st Reims Paris

24th Sunday 30th Lyons


1st Sunday 3rd Marseilles

5th Genoa 14th Turin 24th Milan


3rd Como 5th Sunday 7th Verona

9th Venice 22nd Lucca 24th Florence


3rd Sunday 23rd Rome

25th Christmas Day 28th Naples

January 1872

7th Sunday 27th Rome


25th Sunday 29th Civitavecchia


2nd Marseilles 3rd Sunday 4th Lyons

7th Geneva 11th Villeneuve 14th Very

15th Lausanne 16th Fribourg 18th Bern

21st Basel 22nd Strasburg 25th Frankfort

28th Mainz 30th Bingin (Am Rhein)

April 1872

2nd Coblenz 5th Bonn 6th Cologne

7th Sunday 12th Dusseldorf 20th Amsterdam

27th Haarlem 29th Leyden 30th The Hague


1st Delft 2nd Rotterdam

7th Antwerp 9th Brussels

10th Waterloo 12th Sunday

13th Valenciennes 17th London


29th Liverpool 30th Sunday


2nd Glasgow 10th Inveraray 11th Oban

12th Staffa 14th Sunday 17th Sterling

18th Kinross 19th Linlithgow

20th Edinburgh 27th Melrose

30th York 31st Sheffield


1st Derby 2nd Bosworth

3rd Birmingham 4th Sunday

5th Stratford on Avon 7th Oxford

12th Portsmouth 15th Paris


2nd London Liverpool

3rd Leave Liverpool for New York City, NY USA


RI Historical Society
Stampless I
Stampless II

Stampless III
Stampless IV
Stampless V
Stampless VI
Brown & Ives Letters
The Hazard Family Letters
Joseph Tillinghast
Free Franked Letters
DeWolf Family Letters

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