Saturday, June 19, 2010

Montevideo Suns

URUGUAY 1858 240c. & 180c. and 1859 120c.

I was watching soccer and Uruguay starred. I was trying to remember what stamps of Uruguay I have. Later I dug out the album to look at them again. I am showing you three that I think are nice.

They are from 1858 and 1859. Originally these were Mail Coach stamps, for use on the mail coach routes which were operated by Atanasio Lapido who was also appointed Post Administrator. The 1856 issue has 'Diligencia' at the top of the stamp and the value at the bottom.

They were also known as Montevideo Suns.

It is easy to see why as the design shows a chubby head surrounded by rays.

On the 1858 and 1859 issues I show on top the word 'Diligencia' has been replaced with 'Montevideo' but again with the value at the bottom and Correo on each side.

What is a Diligencia? Think back 150 years and you realize a journey in Uruguay was not so easy. For the mail a curious vehicle was used called the Diligencias. The country did not have a railway system so they relied on these “stage coaches” for their main means of road transport and mail delivery. The Diligencias had 10 seats inside and 3 behind the conductor on top. As well as the passengers the conductor was responsible for all mail and baggage. This hefty beast of a vehicle was powered by 6 horses placed in a triangle 3-2-1.

At the time the currency was as follows:

1856: 120 Centavos = 1 Real

1859: 1000 Milesimos = 100 Centesimos = 1 Peso.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Par Voie Anglaise

This is a letter I bought from someone in Hungary. How it ended up there I do not know, as it travelled in 1866 to Valparadiso in Chile. It took the "English Route", la Voie Anglaise, I think this means that it took a steamship up to Panama and from there onwards. I could not have taken the Panama canal, since that was not started or let alone completed in 1866!

The letter is addressed to Thomas, Lachambre & Cie, a Parisian trading house.

They are known to have lost the contract of the century to Auguste Dreyfus on July 1869. This spectacular deal is to acquire the monopoly on sales in Europe of two million tons of Peruvian guano, with a resale value of 625 million francs, in exchange for a payment of 365 million francs!
Auguste Dreyfus signed this contract with Finance Minister Nicolás de Piérola Villena. A consortium led by Gibbs & sons, Thomas, Lachambre & Cie and Baron Émile Erlanger missed out on the deal, that made Dreyfus one of (if not the) wealthiest persons of his time.

This letter took about 20 days or roughly 3 weeks to travel from Le Havre in France to Panama.

From there it went to Chili, this letter does not give away when it landed there. The receiver in Chili did not have to pay anything as the letter is stamped PP or Port Payé.

I found two other letters on the internet that went the English Way, the Voie Angliase or "Via (de) Panama".