The 1905 Wreck of the SS Cairo

Recovered Mail Repaired with Interpostal Seals

The Steam Ship SS "Cairo" ran ashore entering the port of Alexandria on March 6, 1905. The ship was carrying mail bags which had been stacked on deck and washed away but 51 mail bags were later recovered and salvaged. Many of these are now collector items resealed with Interpostal Seals. Each salvaged letter was hand stamped in violet ink with the note: "SAUVE DU NAUFRAGE DU "CAIRO"/SAVED FROM THE WRECK OF THE "CAIRO". Most of the stamps floated off and the wet envelopes found open were re-sealed using Alexandria Interpostal Seals, none were postmarked as, apparently, their use here was only for the purpose of repair and reseal of the damaged wreck-mail.

The SS Cairo was built as the ARCHIMEDE, by Stephen & Sons, Glasgow, for the Italian “Florio” Line later called “Navigazione Generale Italiana” , it was launched on 22 November 1881 and renamed SS Cairo in 1903 for the Italy-to-Alexandria Service. See picture adjacent.

The Steam Ship SS Cairo wrecked in alexandria Harbor in 1905 carried mail which was damaged and resealed by Interpostal Seals

Below: Cover from France endorsed ´Via Brindisi´ to Alexandria, stamp floated off and violet bilingual cachet SAVED FROM THE WRECK  OF THE SS CAIRO applied.  Interpostal Seal  Kehr Type VIb, No. 379.Dark red on white applied on reverse, apparently to reseal the envelope.

Above: Mexico City, Mexico, to Cairo, Egypt salvaged from the 1905 wreck of the SS. steamer Cairo. with the Bilingual French/English stamp"SAVED FROM THE WRECK OF S.S CAIRO" handstamp struck on face and a red Kehr Type VIb interpostal seal used to secure backflap. Kehr Type VIb, No. 379.Dark red on white.

Left, Shipwreck cover sealed by Kehr Type VIb, No. 379A. Blue on white. Most of ink washed off address details but stamped Alexandria May 07 1905, almost one month following the wreck..

Below: Registered 1890 cover from Genoa, Italy received damaged in Alexandria, Egypt and repaired with two Kehr Type IX, No. 731 interpostal seals plus officially impressed red wax. The letter was then forwarded to Cairo.

Below : 16 July 1890 envelope (opened-out) from Alexandria to Massawa, Eritrea, underfranked with 5m. rose, the correct rate being 1pi., the deficiency noted on the face and bearing Italian Postage Due 5c. and 10c. pair (on reverse) initialled in ink and each cancelled with "massaua/(mar rosso)" c.d.s. (23.7), the envelope not delivered and returned to via Brindisi to Alexandria where it was opened in error, showing manuscript note to this effect and bearing blue embossed Interpostal seal affixed at top, various transit d.s. on reverse including scarce boxed "suez/servizio italiano/del mar rosso


Below left : 19 March 1874 underfranked mourning envelope from England "via Brindisi" to Cairo, bearing 4d. vermilion Plate 13 wing-margin pair cancelled with Brandon "114" duplex, showing oval-framed "pd" in red and with "4-5" Postage Due h.s. in cursive script at foot, the envelope sealed at left and right with Cairo Interpostal seals in black, the reverse with arrival c.d.s.

Above right:

Cover with the typewritten heading “Regie Poste Egiziane” franked with A type IV Suez interpostal apparently seal used as an official stamp. Marked ‘Sevizio’ another word for ‘official’ indicating that no postal duty is required to process the letter through the post office.