19 juni 2024

VOC-postmark ‘Kaapstad’ from Cape Town

As recently as 2016 a letter has been found with a VOC postmark from Cape Town, South Africa, which has really been sent from Cape Town. Till 2014 it was even doubted that there had been any VOC postmarks at all in Cape Town in the office of the VOC, Castle of Good Hope. This castle was a Dutch possession of the Dutch trading company VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, the United East India Company).

In 2014 Kees Adema proved that there were VOC postmarks sent to the Castle the Good Hope and received there in November 1788. The postmark which was used there (Wolff de Beer k) is of a much different shape than the others, so there was no doubt about it. Adema showed the three – untill then known – letters with the postmark of Cape Town. All are transit letters from 1805-06.

The letter shown here is proven to have been sent from the castle of Cape of Good Hope, it is not a transit letter. The letter is dated 25 July, 1789, which means it is the only letter known from the VOC-period of Cape of Good Hope (1652-1795).

Sending place is Bay False in Cape Town. The author of the letter was on board of the frigate Amphitrite (written inside) and the addressee is in Batavia, Dutch East Indies.


René Hillesum

René Hillesum

Collector of postal history of Finland and postmarks of Imperial Saint Petersburg.

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