International Mail via Trieste – The Rolf Rohlfs Collection

Article number:455
89,00 €

Rolf Rohlfs (* 1940, † 2020) was an internationally renowned collector who particularly valued the unusual. Decades ago, he became known with monographs on the famous Syke bisects as well as the Hanover and Hungary bisects. In the last decades, besides his collections on the "Kingdom of Hanover" and on "Alsace-Lorraine 1870-1872", he increasingly devoted himself to other special postal history topics, e.g. the international postal connections from Europe to the Far East with the routing via the Austrian port of Trieste and the "Overland Mail" through Egypt to India, China, Australia and back, published in this very comprehensive 350 page book (German/English) in the well-known EDITION SPÈCIALE series.

This volume differs clearly from others already on the first 40 pages. This is because Rolf Rohlf's own contribution on the subject of "Letter Post traffic via Trieste and Alexandria to destinations East of Suez" introduces the reader very instructively to the complex matter of postal history at that time, which is closely associated with the names of the Briton Thomas Fletcher Waghorn and the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Rohlfs' lecture, which he first gave at the Royal Philatelic Society London (RPSL) in 2014, outlines the route to the Far East via Marseilles and from Alexandria to Suez, then turns to Austrian Lloyd in Trieste, the postal treaty between Austria and Great Britain, and the takeover of "Lloyd" by the Austrian state. After that, the development of postage is treated in detail with examples of the old German states and Austria, registered letters as well as the partial franking are appreciated, and the end of taxation and franking by British stamps is examined in more detail.

Heinrich Mimberg contributed another article to the book " Travelling between Alexandria and Suez via the Overland Mail Route ", in which the adventurous journey from Suez to Cairo as well as from Alexandria to Cairo is traced bilingually (German/English) on the basis of two contemporary journal articles. The collection documentation (in English) then presents over 180 pages of covers from "West to East" and another 120 pages of covers from East to Westbound. The collection concludes with a page dedicated to Lieutenant Thomas Waghorn.

As a reviewer, one wonders what is most convincing or even impressing while reading this book. Is it the abundance of letter covers relevant to this topic? Certainly, it is. Is it the introduction, dense in content and competently written? Probably also. But since all good things come in threes, one thing should be particularly emphasized: the quality and the charisma of the letters, each of which is expertly described on one page with the pertinent facts. It is this quality of the letters, most of which are more than 150 years old, that leaves an impression, especially on those who know comparable postal history exhibits from exhibitions, where often rather second-class preserved cover material is shown. Here, every letter is an optical gem and many of them a real rarity. To mention only one example of numerous others: The only known letter from Copenhagen (Denmark) to Dutch India from 1851 is shown. If destination and origin alone do not surprise the viewer, then perhaps the more than ten transit and other postmarks in addition to eight or more handwritten tax notes. This is pure exciting postal history! And this can be found on every page in this collection.

Rohlfs has succeeded in gathering an impressive collection of postmarks matching the truly adventurous history of transit mail from East to West as well as vice versa, and this in an abundance of variants that has probably rarely been seen before. The hardcover book with dust jacket is exquisitely designed and executed in best quality.

- Wolfgang Maassen (AIJP)

Size 25.5 x 34 cm, 350 pages, numerous color illustrations, hardcover with dust jacket, bilingual English/German, collection pages in English only.