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Peru. Outgoing Mail. 1766, Jan. 11. Cover to Cádiz (Spain), endorsed "Por Panama" at lower left, bearing a very fine strike of the extraordinary "Perù" straight-line handstamp, being applied at Lima, and charged in manuscript at single rate with "4" (reales). The regular route followed would have been Lima-Panama-Cartagena-Havana-Cádiz, but it is believed that this letter made the journey Lima-Santa Fe-Valencia (Venezuela)-Caracas-Cádiz in a commercial ship of a Caracas company. The letter is docketed on reverse in transit at Valencia (Venezuela) with "Valencia Rto de la Rocca" on January 11, 1866.. Between April 1765 and January 1767, the "PERÙ" type showed in this item was into service, thus becoming the first postmark introduced in South America, as well as the first marking known used in transatlantic mail; other examples of transatlantic correspondence from Peru, dated in 1768 and preserved in the "Archivo de Indias", do not show this handstamp, but the marking "Perú" in manuscript. Of extraordinary significance as the earliest transatlantic mail exhibiting a postmark applied in the Americas, with its rarity being further enhanced by representing one of only three items recorded exhibiting this highly significant handstamp, (of which two are included in this collection; see also the following lot). One of the greatest gems of the pre-adhesive worldwide postal history.
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