19 mei 2024

The s.s. Berlin Distaster: A follow-up

In Netherlands Philately 43-3 I wrote about a cover recovered from the mail boat s.s. Berlin, which crashed on the North Pier at Hoek of Holland during a heavy storm on February 21, 1907. Willem Pasterkamp, one of our members and active as a trader of postal historic material, provided interesting additional information. Willem notes that the marker “BESCHADIGD DOOR RAMP HARWICH BOOT ” consisted of loose characters.

At some point in time, the first characters must have fallen from the marker, and was put back upside down. Figure 1 shows two impressions of this marker on one cover example. Another type of marker exists, with a wide space between the first and second line (see Figure 2). This cover was part of the disaster mail collection of Willem Baron Six van Oterleek, and is listed in Auction Catalog 595 of van Dieten (May 27, 2004).

Figure 1: Cover damaged by the sinking of the s.s. Berlin, with upside-down ‘B’ in ‘BESCHADIGD’.

The collection of W. Baron Six van Oterleek also contained a cover with the written annotation “Aangespoeld 21 Febr. 1907 uit S/S Berlin” (Washed ashore 21 February 1907 from S/S. Berlin), and a scan from the auction catalogue is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 2: Marker with large space between the first and second line.
Figure 3: Cover washed ashore following s.s. Berlin disaster.
Netherlands Philately magazine and the ASNP
This article was originally published in Netherlands Philately, 43/4, 2018, pages 81-82; published here with kind permission of the editor of NP magazine.
Ben Jansen

Ben Jansen

My current collection focus is on (correctly addressed but) undeliverable Netherland's mail. I am also the Editor of Netherlands Philately, the Magazine of the American Society of Netherlands Philately.

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