Lot #: 144322

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Israeli no-service marking on airmail from AFGHANISTAN - coup d'etat era: 18 June 1953 postmarked air letter cover sent from merchant in KABUL to a textile federation in LONDON, imprint franked 250 Afghanis & tied by single strike of the local postmark; the cover was received at the LONDON Eastern Central district post office on the 26th (machine slogan backstamp) but the address could not subsequently be found, and the cover was marked "INSUFFICIENTLY ADDRESSED ECH" by the district post office before being further marked at the general post office by "ADDRESS INSUFFICIENT" and "NOT DELIVERED... RETURN TO SENDER" instructional markings on the front; the address was crossed out by red crayon prior to being returned.

The return routing went via Israel as evidenced by the PAS DE SERVICE VIA ISRAEL no-service mark used at the HAIFA head post office (Kibble Type H-I.2, here likely used after his last known date of use of June 1953): a strange instance of refusal of service because Israel and Afghanistan actually had air mail postal relations since 20 April 1952 through to at least Jan. 1959, with mail being routed via Tehran (air transmission between Israel and Iran and surface transmission between Iran and Afghanistan) - a documented but little noticed fact, as diplomatic histories state that Afghanistan has never recognized Israel and that both countries have never had relations.

The indicated refusal of service may actually have been an inaccurately expressed instructional marking in reaction to the domestic turmoil in Iran from late July into August, when the prime minister dissolved the parliament and a coup d'etat against him was launched (15-19 Aug.); from at least 4 Sept. surface & sea transport of parcels from Israel to Iran and Afghanistan were suspended (Postal Circular #181/53). In any case the front was crossed off by a blue crayon and the name "Afghanistan" was written in Hebrew in red crayon on back next to the return address. To effect return of mail to a country without postal relations with Israel the cover was likely returned to the Office of Exchange post office (i.e. LONDON) from which the consignment of mail including this letter was included (by way of a "Bulletin of Verification" drawing attention to the case of this letter), and then returned to the sender eg. from Britain - here the back of the cover was again stamped by a slightly different type of two-line "RETURN TO SENDER" instructional marking. Unique - the only known example of Israel-Afghanistan postal boycott / no-service mail & curiously not censored in Israel.