Gibraltar disinfection

  • Mail disinfected in Gibraltar it is quite an interesting topic. Denis and Garcia in the monograph printed in 1994 for Disinfected Mail Study Circle presented a lot of material some disinfected for sure in Gibraltar, other perhaps. The material it is not abundant. Here I show a letter written on October 9, 1850 aboard HMS Bellerophon and records eight death from Cholera after leaving Malta, one every day and no more cases after eight days. Pair of 26 mm chisel cuts and heat discoloration of the letter is similar treatment to two letters described by Denis and Garcia dated 1849. The addressee was in Nottingham.

    Postal marks: Gibraltar SHIP LETTER mark recorded use November 22, 1843 to April 12, 1851, in blue ink from November 29, 1849.

    Datestamp recorded used November 6, 1849 to April 12, 1858, only known in blue.

    Liverpool SHIP LETTER mark used in black 1841-55.

    On front marked "8" pence, the rate for incoming letter to UK for up to half an ounce, implemented in 1840.

    The two letters Denis and Garcia showed are from different origins with same chisels pattern and dimension as mine and were done in Gibraltar.

  • Dear Hedy,

    Disinfected letters with such interesting text content are hard to find. They show us how difficult and dangerous it was to travel in former centuries . Thank you for showing this item!

    Yours sincerely,


  • Letter from July 23th, 1828, with "prix courant" from Bahia (Brazil) to Barcelona. The letter was forwarded by "Supino y Segre de Gibraltar" and posted in San Roque. The receiver in Barcelona had to pay a postage of 12 cuartos de vellon for a single letter from Andalusia to Catalonia (tariff of 1815 ).

    The letter was probably disinfected in Gibraltar and has two fumigation slits (circa 27 mm).

  • The HMS Bellerophon arrived in Gibraltar on Oct. 9th, 1850 and was cleared for Westward on Oct. 11th. I assume that the letter was sent by the HMS Rattler to Liverpool. The HMS Rattler arrived in Liverpool on Oct. 21st, 1850 and was comming from Gibraltar. The postmark of Liverpool is from the same day which could mean that the the ship had free pratique. This would confirm your guess that the letter was disinfected in Gibraltar.