Lot #: 144345

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1948 early Israel 'emergency' mail by sea - SS Kedma: couriered cover sent from abroad and addressed to person in TEL AVIV "Palestine", carried on board the Israeli ship SS Kedmah & tied by the ship's circular bilingual English/Hebrew handstamp "TSS KEDMAH | Kedem Palestine Line Ltd"; upon arrival in Israel franked with a 10 mils Doar Ivri stamp (for domestic letter postage) & posted at HAIFA (head post office) on 15 June 1948; opened roughly at top.

The specialist literature has little information on the circumstance of this type of mail: the press archives show that on 5 May, during the interim period in pre-State Israel with foreign postal links suspended, the shipping company placed an advertisement that the ship would be carrying mail at a cost of 150 mils per letter (7 1/2 times the 20m postage rate for surface mail abroad) and that such mail could be dropped off at a certain address in Tel Aviv prior to the ship's departure that week.

Likely here a similar service with similar drop-off arrangements was advertised in various European countries as such mail as this is known originating from Britain, Holland and France; the ship's handstamp likely served to indicate the prepayment for the courier service had been received. Some of the observed mail from this shipment was franked at the countries of origin but not posted through the postal service, suggesting that outbound service to Palestine-Israel was not available. Similarly all the covers observed by this cataloguer are addressed to "Palestine" suggesting that these were all written and dropped off prior to Israel's independence (14 May 1948); the ship's turnaround time was roughly 1 week in each direction, travelling on the route HAIFA - TEL AVIV - LIMASSOL (Cyprus) - GENOA (Italy) - MARSEILLES (France). This was the last such shipment of "emergency mail" prior to Kedma being contracted to officially carry mail to and from Israel; rarely seen mail.