Paper stories and a sailor

It’s incredible what a piece of paper could tell us! What story it could contain, what emotions could be revived and what events could be described! A piece of paper, of history, a piece of our own or of a bygone era…

This envelope is an extraordinary piece of postal history and it was sent by a lady, named Mary Solomou. It left Piraeus with a postmark dated 30th September 1957 and with the postage stamp value of 7 drachmas and 30 lepta, strangely enough, as the current rates for a single letter were 3 drachmas for the first 20 grams and 1.80 for every extra 20 grams. Its destination was the offices of ESSO PETROLEUM in London in order to be forwarded to the “Master Peter” ship and, thus, reach the hands of its receiver: Dimitrios Arifis, probably another seaman.

The front side of this unique cover

It arrived in London on 3rd October 1957, as the date stamp bears witness – “RECEIVED MARINE DEPARTMENT” – at the back of the cover, where it was discovered that the actual ship had been anchored in Port Said, Egypt. The name and address of the shipping company: “Cory Bros and Co LTD Port Said” along with an air vignette and a small “Air Mail” stamp were attached in order for the letter to be forwarded there. In addition, there were two postage stamps 1 and ½ d respectively with Queen Elizabeth with ESSO perforation and one of them was cancelled with a “LONDON 3 Oct 57” date stamp.

The back side of the cover with many cancellations

The cover finished its journey on 8th October 1957, going by the cancellations it received at the back of it – “Cory Brothers and Co Ltd 8 Oct 1957” and “Port Said 8 Oct 1957” along with the slogan postmark of the Egyptian Post: “EGYPT LAND OF CHARM AND BEAUTY”.

Finally, we notice that there is an Egyptian censorship hand stamp at the front of the envelope on the address adhesive label.

What this sailor felt like when he was reading the lines written by hand from his dearest person?

You could imagine…

By KO – for eCharta