Airmail Collector Reference Database - Sierra Leone

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(Sierra Leone) A rare early United States acceptance of mail from Sierra Leone via accelerated carriage  to Great Britain by the Latecoere 'Toulouse-Dakar' airmail service. Freetown to Dakar by steamer, Dakar to GB by air, then GB to USA by sea, bs Lancaster, PA Feb 7 1929, airmail cover correctly rated 1/1/1/2d, franked SL 1/-, 1d, 1/2d, ms "Par Avion de/Dakar a Toulouse', and a rarely seen black/grey blue "Par Avion/Dakar a Toulouse" etiquette (SRL-A-1a). The 550 mile sea service from Dakar to Freetown was unpredictable and the connection at Toulouse was often missed. For this reason, the accelerated service was seldom used, and this cover is therefore scarce, particularly to the USA. See Priddy's 'West African Airmails, The McCaig and Porter Collections' published by the, West Africa Study Circle in 2002 and reprinted 2017, and McCaig's article on West African Airmails, page 13, Postal History Journal, October, 1979. 
The cover has a 3mm lh edge trim, otherwise fine, see scan.

Sierra Leone, 1929, Jan 12
A rare early United States acceptance of mail from Sierra Leone via accelerated carriage to Great Britain by the Latecoere 'Toulouse-Dakar' airmail service. Freetown to Dakar by steamer, Dakar to GB by air, then GB to USA by sea, bs Lancaster, PA Feb 7 1929, airmail cover correctly rated 1/1/1/2d, franked SL 1/-, 1d, 1/2d, ms "Par Avion de/Dakar a Toulouse', and a rarely seen black/grey blue "Par Avion/Dakar a Toulouse" etiquette (SRL-A-1a). The 550 mile sea service from Dakar to Freetown was unpredictable and the connection at Toulouse was often missed. For this reason, the accelerated service was seldom used, and this cover is therefore scarce, particularly to the USA. See Priddy's 'West African Airmails, The McCaig and Porter Collections' published by the, West Africa Study Circle in 2002 and reprinted 2017, and McCaig's article on West African Airmails, page 13, Postal History Journal, October, 1979. The cover has a 3mm lh edge trim, otherwise fine, see scan.

Perceived Value

Sierra Leone, 1935, Nov 11
Acceptance of mail from Siera Leone to Great Britain for carriage via the German air service, Freetown to Scotland, no arrival ds, via Bathurst 30/11, carried on the German trans Atlantic catapult service, commercial bank cover correctly rated 1/3d (Silver Jubilee 3d on front and SJ 1/- verso) each canc Freetown 11 No 1935, scarce black/pale blue "Air Mail/Bathurst-Stuttgart" etiquette, purple/black framed "Airmail/Gambia-England" cachet. Likely carried on the Graf Zeppelin third 'pendulum' flight G501/DLD when mail was hauled up in Bathurst without actually landing. Closed (repaired) non invasive top edge tear, andsome faint top and bottom edge discolouration, but still a nice item (see scan).

Perceived Value

(Sierra Leone) Freetown to Hamburg, airmail etiquette cover franked 1/3d carried by the Air France twice weekly service to France via Dakar and Toulouse, framed "Attention/Utilisez le Service Aeren/AIR-FRANCE/ Depart de France Dimanche ........." verso.  Uncommon, as most air mail from the British Colonies in Africa was carried by Imperial Airways.

Sierra Leone, 1936, Apr 26
Freetown to Hamburg, airmail etiquette cover franked 1/3d carried by the Air France twice weekly service to France via Dakar and Toulouse, framed "Attention/Utilisez le Service Aeren/AIR-FRANCE/ Depart de France Dimanche ........." verso. Uncommon, as most air mail from the British Colonies in Africa was carried by Imperial Airways.

Perceived Value

(Sierra Leone) Elders Colonial Airways inauguration of experimental service between between Sierra Leone and Gambia connecting, at Bathurst, with the German service to Europe. A plain cover, addressed to London no arrival ds, correctly rated 1/4d, authentic pale green/blue/black Sierra Leone etiquette rated very scarce by Mair, official black two line "First Air mail From/Sierra Leone" cachet. Owing to engine failure Bathurst was not reached until after the departure of the Lufthansa machine. The mail for Europe had to await the next week's service. A scarce first flight. It is also an unlisted interrupted flight.

Sierra Leone, 1938, Jun 23
Elders Colonial Airways inauguration of experimental service between between Sierra Leone and Gambia connecting, at Bathurst, with the German service to Europe. A plain cover, addressed to London no arrival ds, correctly rated 1/4d, authentic pale green/blue/black Sierra Leone etiquette rated very scarce by Mair, official black two line "First Air mail From/Sierra Leone" cachet. Owing to engine failure Bathurst was not reached until after the departure of the Lufthansa machine. The mail for Europe had to await the next week's service. A scarce first flight. It is also an unlisted interrupted flight.

Perceived Value

(Sierra Leone) Elders Colonial Airways inauguration of experimental service between between Sierra Leone and Gambia connecting, at Bathurst, with the German service to Europe. A plain cover, addressed to NC Baldwin, Birmingham, no arrival ds, correctly rated 1/4d, authentic pale green/blue/black Sierra Leone etiquette rated very scarce by Mair, official black two line "First Air mail From/Sierra Leone" cachet. Owing to engine failure Bathurst was not reached until after the departure of the Lufthansa machine. The mail for Europe had to await the next week's service. A scarce first flight. It is also an unlisted interrupted flight.

Sierra Leone, 1938, Jun 23
Elders Colonial Airways inauguration of experimental service between between Sierra Leone and Gambia connecting, at Bathurst, with the German service to Europe. A plain cover, addressed to NC Baldwin, Birmingham, no arrival ds, correctly rated 1/4d, authentic pale green/blue/black Sierra Leone etiquette rated very scarce by Mair, official black two line "First Air mail From/Sierra Leone" cachet. Owing to engine failure Bathurst was not reached until after the departure of the Lufthansa machine. The mail for Europe had to await the next week's service. A scarce first flight. It is also an unlisted interrupted flight.

Perceived Value

(Sierra Leone) Sierra Leone-Gambia, Elders Colonial Airways inauguration of experimental service between Sierra Leone and Gambia connecting, at Bathurst, with the German service to Europe. An Elder Dempster Lines Ltd cover, addressed to Bathurst, bs 25/6, correctly rated 3 1/2d, canc Freetown cds, authentic pale green/blue/black Sierra Leone etiquette rated very scarce by Mair, official black two line "First Air mail From/Sierra Leone" cachet. Owing to engine failure Bathurst was not reached until after the departure of the Lufthansa machine. A scarce first flight which is also an unlisted interrupted flight.

Sierra Leone, 1938, Jun 25
Sierra Leone-Gambia, Elders Colonial Airways inauguration of experimental service between Sierra Leone and Gambia connecting, at Bathurst, with the German service to Europe. An Elder Dempster Lines Ltd cover, addressed to Bathurst, bs 25/6, correctly rated 3 1/2d, canc Freetown cds, authentic pale green/blue/black Sierra Leone etiquette rated very scarce by Mair, official black two line "First Air mail From/Sierra Leone" cachet. Owing to engine failure Bathurst was not reached until after the departure of the Lufthansa machine. A scarce first flight which is also an unlisted interrupted flight.

Perceived Value

(Sierra Leone) Belgium to Sierra Leone, F/F Brussels-Bathurst-Freetown b/s 10/9, carried by DLH from Frankfurt-Bathurst, transit 9/9, on the German South America service, then Bathurst-Freetown by Elders Colonial Airways. Registered (label) airmail cover franked 5F air + 1.75F, canc Leuven cds, fine strike magenta "Deutsche Luftpost/Europa-Sudamerika" cachet. Listed in Jennekins and Godinas,  p87, pub 1970. Nice item, great routing.

Sierra Leone, 1938, Sep 7
Belgium to Sierra Leone, F/F Brussels-Bathurst-Freetown b/s 10/9, carried by DLH from Frankfurt-Bathurst, transit 9/9, on the German South America service, then Bathurst-Freetown by Elders Colonial Airways. Registered (label) airmail cover franked 5F air + 1.75F, canc Leuven cds, fine strike magenta "Deutsche Luftpost/Europa-Sudamerika" cachet. Listed in Jennekins and Godinas, p87, pub 1970. Nice item, great routing.

Perceived Value

(Sierra Leone) Registered (hs) airmail to crew member of the SS River Afton, Sierra Leone to Bruns Buttelkoog, bs 23/1/39, buff cover franked 1/8d, violet framed 'Karl Granmersdorf/schiffsmakler (ships broker)/ Bruns Buttelkoog/24 Jan 1939, black/pale green airmail etiquette. The SS River Afton was a steam merchant built in 1935 by Lithgows, of Port Glasgow, Scotland and homeported in Glasgow. Used in  Arctic convoys, to deliver supplies from the Western Allies to the Soviet Union, and sunk by a U-boat on 5 July 1942,

Sierra Leone, 1939, Jan 19
Registered (hs) airmail to crew member of the SS River Afton, Sierra Leone to Bruns Buttelkoog, bs 23/1/39, buff cover franked 1/8d, violet framed 'Karl Granmersdorf/schiffsmakler (ships broker)/ Bruns Buttelkoog/24 Jan 1939, black/pale green airmail etiquette. The SS River Afton was a steam merchant built in 1935 by Lithgows, of Port Glasgow, Scotland and homeported in Glasgow. Used in Arctic convoys, to deliver supplies from the Western Allies to the Soviet Union, and sunk by a U-boat on 5 July 1942,

Perceived Value

(Sierra Leone) Air France airmail service Freetown to Toulouse, scarce early censored WWII airmail, Magburaka to Kilmarnock, Scotland, 20 Nov receiver on front, registered (hs) cover franked 1/6d, violet  straight line Sierra Leone 'Passed By Censor 2' hs, black/pale blue 'Par Avion/Dakar a Toulouse' airmail etiquette.

Sierra Leone, 1939, Nov 7
Air France airmail service Freetown to Toulouse, scarce early censored WWII airmail, Magburaka to Kilmarnock, Scotland, 20 Nov receiver on front, registered (hs) cover franked 1/6d, violet straight line Sierra Leone 'Passed By Censor 2' hs, black/pale blue 'Par Avion/Dakar a Toulouse' airmail etiquette.

Perceived Value

(Sierra Leone) Mint airletter, franked grey/white KGvI 6d. Day and month of issue uncertain.

Sierra Leone, 1940, Jan 1
Mint airletter, franked grey/white KGvI 6d. Day and month of issue uncertain.

Perceived Value

(Sierra Leone) Air France airmail service Freetown to Toulouse, scarce early censored WWII airmail, Freetown to Kilmarnock, Scotland, 23 Feb receiver on front, registered (hs) cover franked 1/6d, sealed by black/white Sierra Leone censor tape, also framed violet  Sierra Leone 'Passed By Censor 2' hs, blue/pale blue airmail etiquette.

Sierra Leone, 1940, Feb 10
Air France airmail service Freetown to Toulouse, scarce early censored WWII airmail, Freetown to Kilmarnock, Scotland, 23 Feb receiver on front, registered (hs) cover franked 1/6d, sealed by black/white Sierra Leone censor tape, also framed violet Sierra Leone 'Passed By Censor 2' hs, blue/pale blue airmail etiquette.

Perceived Value

(Sierra Leone) World War II censored registered (hs) air cover to England, no arrival ds, franked 1/6d canc Freetown oval ds, violet Sierra Leone octagonal crown over Passed/QQ censor mark, typed"Air Mail" on flap, blue/pale blue etiquette. Likely carried in BOAC flying boat 'Catalina' along the African West Coast route from Lagos,and  round Cape Verde and the Canaries, with occasional stops at Freetown and Bathurst.. See Boyle p 721.

Sierra Leone, 1942, Dec 22
World War II censored registered (hs) air cover to England, no arrival ds, franked 1/6d canc Freetown oval ds, violet Sierra Leone octagonal crown over Passed/QQ censor mark, typed"Air Mail" on flap, blue/pale blue etiquette. Likely carried in BOAC flying boat 'Catalina' along the African West Coast route from Lagos,and round Cape Verde and the Canaries, with occasional stops at Freetown and Bathurst.. See Boyle p 721.

Perceived Value

Sierra Leone, 1943, Jun 16
Scarce WWII censored air letter flown the Waterloo Air Force Station, Sierra Leone to England. It was flown by a military aircraft, over the Air Transport Command route, carrying wartime mail from the British West African Colonies. Franked at the 3d forces concessionary rate, sealed with black/white GB PC90 OBE #2225 censor tape and also a violet square "Wings over R.A.F. Censor 188" censor mark. This item is ex Herbert Porter and was sent to him by his nephew who was based with the West Africa Forces at the Waterloo Air Force Station. Censored wartime airmail ex Sierra Leone is scarce, and that carried by miltary aircraft even more so. A super item.

Perceived Value

Sierra Leone, 1943, Jul 6
Scarce WWII censored air letter flown the Waterloo Air Force Station, Sierra Leone to England. It was flown by a military aircraft, over the Air Transport Command route, carrying wartime mail from the British West African Colonies. Franked at the 3d forces concessionary rate, canc residue weak 'Field (PO)', violet square "Wings over R.A.F. Censor 188" censor mark x2. This item is ex Herbert Porter. It was written by his nephew who was based with the West Africa Forces at the Waterloo Air Force Station. Censored wartime airmail ex Sierra Leone is scarce, and that carried by miltary aircraft even more so. A super item.

Perceived Value

(Sierra Leone) BOAC, censored WWII airmail cover and original enclosure, Freetown to Dartmouth, Jun 30 arrival postmark on front, correctly rated 1/3d, ms 'By Air Mail', Sierra Leone violet octagonal mark with crown and censor number, remarkable fast 13 day transit for wartime. On 16/4/44 BOAC took over from RAF Transport Command for the operation of the UK-Lagos service. The enclosure, which must be read, mentions not only the 6d civilian air letter scheme, but also the new 1/3 airmail stamp for Sierra Leone. Scarce item.

Sierra Leone, 1944, Jun 22
BOAC, censored WWII airmail cover and original enclosure, Freetown to Dartmouth, Jun 30 arrival postmark on front, correctly rated 1/3d, ms 'By Air Mail', Sierra Leone violet octagonal mark with crown and censor number, remarkable fast 13 day transit for wartime. On 16/4/44 BOAC took over from RAF Transport Command for the operation of the UK-Lagos service. The enclosure, which must be read, mentions not only the 6d civilian air letter scheme, but also the new 1/3 airmail stamp for Sierra Leone. Scarce item.

Perceived Value