Sunday, August 2, 2009

Paquebot - Definition

Covers and cards mailed at sea are generally referred to as "paquebot" covers. "Paquebot" is French for "packet boat," and postal administrations use paquebot handstamps to mark mail received from a seagoing vessel that has no on-board post office.

Originally packet boats were small vessels employed by a government to carry dispatches, mail, passengers and cargo on relatively short voyages on fixed sailing days. Over time, however, paquebot mail came to mean any mail received at sea.

Other paquebot markings that have been used include
"Loose Ship Letters" or "Ship Mail" (Australia),
"Posted at Sea" (various countries),
"New York Ship" (New York City),
"Schiffsbrief" (Germany and Austria),
"Pacchibot" (Italy),
"Paketboot" (Netherlands and colonies),
"Paquete" (Portugal and colonies) and
"Paquetboat" (United States).

The paquebot marking is often a straightline or boxed handstamp applied somewhere on the cover. Sometimes it is incorporated into a postmark or canceling device. Even handwritten paquebot markings are acceptable, as long as they are written in ink.

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