P2

February 1880.  Cover to Charles Darwin who would have shown keen interest in the possible capture of a Snark and, of course, its origin.

The postal rates for Snark Island are, to say the least, a trifle confusing.  The earlier items bear stamps to the value of 8d but, from the introduction of the “keyplates”, no set pattern of rates is apparent.  It is likely that at this time the Beaver was put in charge of the mail and, being somewhat lacking in the mathematics department, he was inclined to overcharge to be on the safe side.

scan0089

March 1880.  Cover to Gardiner & Co, London.  On learning that the Butcher only killed beavers the latter took the advice of the Baker to procure a second-hand dagger-proof coat; this cover probably contained the order for just such a garment.

scan0091

April 1880.  Registered cover to Lloyds of London

scan0093

July 1881.  A cover to the notorious forgers, Benjamin, Sarpy and Jeffryes, otherwise known as “The London Gang”.  This cover must be considered dubious for that very reason.

One of the many problems facing the SEF was stationery, or rather the lack of it.  Very few actual envelopes were available and various advertisement and notepapers are found folded and put to use as makeshift covers.

scan0095

July 1883.  A cover to the Royal Geographic Society with the complete set of Snark Island from the Sea and Baker’s Crag stamps.

SN1

November 1883.  The first recorded Snark Island postal stationery item.  From Captain Bellman to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry requesting a new clapper for his handbell.

SN2 SN2a

1884 cover to Messrs Starbuck; Ships Chandlers which may have contained a list of requirements to replenish supplies; especially varnish.

SN3

February 1884 cover to a firm of gunsmiths, no doubt requesting brochures on weapons with which to combat the Snark.  Note the ominous warning at the foot of the advertisement.  The stamps are the set of Hunting Tax revenues overprinted Postage to make them valid for postal use.  Two versions of this cover appear to exist, both posted on the same day but one without the overprint on the stamps.

SN4

September and December 1884.  After a four and a half year wait, the Beaver’s secondhand daggerproof coat finally arrives (held up at customs?) franked with a superb set of QV high values (SG 58 – 60 plus the only known copy of SG61 in turquoise blue rather than brown-lilac).  And ten weeks later….the bill.  Note the inclusion of the garment in question in Gardiner’s advertising envelope.

SN5 SN6

1885.  A cover to the Phoenix Assurance Company a little the worse for wear on arrival!

SN7 SN7a

1887.  Two registered letters to Stanley Gibbons with the complete 1887 definitive issue.

SN8 SN9

May 1888.  Portraits set on cover to the National Portrait Gallery.  Note the postmark BUJOMO the first of five unmistakable marks (postmarks?) of the Snark.  It is, of course, an anagram of the dreaded BOOJUM – later postmarks being JOBUMO, MUJOBO, OJUMBO and UMBOJO.

SN10

1889.  Two advertising covers sent by the Barrister to a  learned friends at the Old Bailey and Shadowy Court, probably seeking advice on a point regarding styes deserted by pigs.

SN11 SN12

1889.  A letter to the Bellman from Barnum’s travelling menagerie.  It is believed that Barnum’s were looking for a live Snark to be the centrepiece of their show.

SN13

1889.  Letter to the Western Australian penal colony at Rockpile.

SN14 SN14a

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