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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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3p letter to Carlisle solicitor could fetch £1,000

A 3p letter is now expected to raise around £1,000 at auction.

The letter, to Carlisle solicitor George Mounsey, was posted on May 6, 1840 - just five months after the introduction of Britain’s first adhesive stamp, the Penny Black.

The Carlisle letter featuring six Penny Blacks – equivalent to 3p today - is simply addressed to ‘G.G Mounsey, Bishops Registrar, Carlisle’ without any street name or number, indicating Mr Mounsey was prominent enough for the postman to recognise him.

It was posted in Hawick and travelled the 36 miles to Carlisle by horse-drawn coach. At the time of the 1841 Census, just a few months after receiving his Penny Black letter – Mr Mounsey was living at Castle Street, with wife, Isabella, their seven children and six live-in servants.

The family later moved to Rockcliffe and the were hit by the cholera epidemic in the late 1840s.

Mrs Mounsey died in her late 40s and three of the children were not listed in the 1851 Census, indicating they too had died.

The Penny Black letter will be auctioned at Spink in Bloomsbury, London, on May 14.

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