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Article by Ravi R. Vora
Copyright 2007 Ravi R. Vora All Rights Reserved


Pre-1880 Covers to and from the US Coast Guard are uncommon but those to or from foreign countries are quite rare. The reason for rarity is obvious in that the US Coast Guard's primary mission was to survey and to protect the US Coast and coastal waters and had rather limited involvement in international waters.

This is one of the earliest cover from a foreign country to the US Coast Guard and the only cover originating from Denmark to the best of knowledge of this author. This article provides a brief information I have been able to research and raise a number of questions and quarries for response from more knowledgeable collectors or students of US Coast Guard and/or Denmark-US Trans-Atlantic Mail.


This stampless cover originated from Copenhagen, Denmark as signified by circular postal cancel of Copenhagen 15-7 (in Danish). It is addressed to a Charles Christians on Board the US Revenue Cutter Rescue Station at Fernandina, Florida. Further the front of cover bears a blue crayon manuscript 'Due" and black numeral "12" markings.

Back of cover bears a black rectangular marking, "Via Tydsklaht" (indicating a routing through Germany) and "NEW YORK AUG 2" cancels.


Apparently the cover was sent unpaid and apparently the recipient was charged 12c postage. According to a well known US Postal Historian this rate represented an inflationary trans-Atlantic rate prevailing in 1870s but before the US and Denmark entered the UPU treaty. 12c rate is believed to include 3c domestic rate. Cover apparently traveled from Copenhagen to New York in 18 days! According to another Danish Postal Historian, the marking "Via Tydesklaht" is routing mark to signify the cover traveled through Germany (Possibly via Hamburg or Bremen which were major ports for trans-Atlantic sailings to USA).

It seems that the recipient Charles Christians was a Danish sailor who apparently joined the US Coast Guard Ship US Revenue at some point in time. While he may simply be a Danish immigrant who joined the US Coast Guard, there is another possibility. Reportedly this US Coast Guard ship traveled to Greenland and Scandinavian ports sometime in early 1860s and during this voyage, Mr. Christians joined the crew of the ship.


1. What is the year of use for this cover?
2. Was the manuscript "Due" and "12" rate markings applied at New York post office?
3. How was 12c divided between Danish, German and US postal services?
4. Who was Charles Chrisitians? Was he Danish?
5. Are there other covers known to the United States Coast Guard from the foreign countries?
6. Did US Coast Guard recruit foreign sailors during this period?
7. How common are covers from foreign countries to the US Coast Guard from 1870s or earlier time period?

Contact Information:

The author of this article welcomes correspondence about this cover.

To continue, please go to Denmark covers, Coast Guard covers,
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