1851 New Brunswick mourning cover brings $12.5K

A mourning cover mailed from Saint John, N.B. to England in 1851 brought $12,500 in the July 2018 auction hosted by New York’s Cherrystone.

Offered as Lot 512, the cover is franked with a three-pence red diagonal half used in combination with six-pence olive yellow stamp with large margins on three sides. The cover also features a May 21, 1855 postmark and is endorsed “per steamer via Halifax” with “Paid Liverpool 17 June” struck on arrival and a “British 5d Claim” handstamp.

According to the Mourning Stamps and Covers Club website, mourning covers “can be defined as black-edged posted letters used in most countries, especially during the 19th and early 20th centuries, as harbingers of death and messengers of grief. These death related letters are characterized by a mourning mark, almost always black, and have been carried in the public mail system of at least 250 different countries.”

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