The 4 pence value of the Cape was often used in multiple form on legal correspondence. In fact, the largest known franking of this stamp, 22 examples, was used on an internal package of legal papers. However, the usually meticulous performance of the post office at the Cape was, in a few cases, unable to keep up with demand for 1 penny values to make up rates based on increments of weight, service or destination.

In over 150 years, bisects on a few pieces and a cover front have been discovered, all of which add credence (as if any was needed) for the ONLY KNOWN complete cover with a bisect, first recorded in the collection of Charles Lathrop Pack in the early years of the 20th century.

The cover, with oval backstamps showing use from Fraserburg to Cape Town in 1858, was rated 4d for postage and 6d for registration. At the left, there is a single 4d value paying the postage. At the top right, there is a 4d bisect (used as 2d) se-tenant with its complete 4d neighbor, paying the registration fee.

The bisect is tied across the “cut” side, all cancels on the franking match, the rate is correct, and this is (as often in philately) the unique “exception” that proves the usage. No postage due markings or other signs indicate that the usage was not accepted; no doubt Fraserburg’s short term lack of 2d stamps (or 6d stamps !) would have been known to Cape Town postal officials.

A profoundly important Cape of Good Hope usage, both unique and attractive, with 1994 BPA certificate.

Bid on this lot has been offered in one of our past auction.