Lot #: 144349

Asking Price: $599.00

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Spanish Civil War interrupted Palestine mail: 19 Jan 1937 postmarked registered surface mail cover, sent from TRIESTE Italy (return addressed to TEL AVIV Palestine) to BARCELONA Spain (corrected by the sender to "Spagna" in Italian), franked 2.75 Lira (on back) & tied by 3x strikes of the TRIESTE-3 postmark on back (20:00 time stamp) + registry label & "REGISTERED" handstamp on front; backstamped same day 22:00 time dispatch (faint, at right), 20 Jan MILAN-GENOVA TPO ('Ambulante' - travelling post office) & same day NOVA-VENTIMIGLIA TPO transits, and next day NOVA-VENTIMIGLIA TPO arrival.

The cover was transported in a sealed bag so no further transit or arrival marks are seen: in this period of the Spanish Civil War the Italian government aided the Nationalist forces, here this letter was addressed to a city under Republican control (until Jan. 1939), but it was routed such that it reached SAN SEBASTIAN on the north coast, which since Sept. 1936 was under Nationalist control - the cover was opened and sealed by the censor here and due to the War it could not be transmitted further, likely indicated by the manuscript pencil marking on the censor label "Zone Rouge" (i.e. "Communist controlled") + "Retour" (return) written in pencil across the front. The address was crossed off with pen as was the registry label, and likely at this stage the number "336 / 3" was written on the bottom right, corrected to "4" - likely a tally of mail items being processed.

There are no subsequent transit marks until Italy: there is a serifed "T" taxe mark on the front of Austrian style, taxing the cover 24 gold centimes (possibly due to one of the franks being obscured by the censor label). It may be that the letter transited Austria on the return leg, as the first legible return-transit mark ("arrivi partenze") is from TRIESTE Italy, near the Austrian border, on 4 Aug 1937; there is another, likely earlier, transit mark from a travelling post office (#244) from the same day from a locale name ending -INO (MONRUPINO?), likely from the same province. The cover was backstamped 5 Aug TRIESTE Capo Di Piazza transit, then 9 Aug local arrival-departure tying the censor label, same day TRIESTE-VENICE TPO #206 & 10 Aug NAPLES-BARI TPO. Somewhere during the return-transit in Italy the cover was stamped "AL MITTENTE" (return to sender) and the return address was re-written in pen on the front; the cover was received in Palestine in August where it was backstamped by the registry division in one of the main cities - the strike is partial ad the full date unclear, but if returned by sea it may have been received either at HAIFA or TEL AVIV - the postage dues was not levied. A nicely documented cover with c.17 postmarks spanning 8 month transit time & historic postal assocation with the Spanish Civil War.