New York-based stamps auction house Robert A Siegel's 46th Annual Rarities of the World sale takes place this Saturday (June 19), featuring a one-of-a-kind piece of historic French philately.
Back in the mid-1780s, mail carried by the French Royal Ship Agency's Le Courier de l'Europe between New York and L'Orient bore two types of markings: "capt:CORnick" or "Le Courier de l'EUROPE/New York*16 Juin 1785."
Featured in Siegel's auction is the only recorded example of the "Capt Cornick" version - a singular and very important artefact of 18th century transatlantic mail.
The cover is addressed to Epernay, France, and was apparently carried on Le Courier de l'Europe from New York on December 31, 1784, arriving at L'Orient on January 17, 1785. It was then forwarded to Paris, with an internal notation dated at Paris on February 7, 1785.
On the envelope's reverse is a clear strike of a two-line hand stamp. It reads "Capt Cornick" besides which "Deb. d'Epernay" has been written by hand. The folded letter itself is datelined "Philadelphie le 13 Dece. 1784".
Billed by Siegel as being in "very fine" condition, the cover will auction alongside other assorted rarities from the French Packet Service between 1783-1788. It carries an estimate of $7,500-10,000.